For building contractors, building a structure that stands the test of time is critical. It is best achieved with concrete sealers, which are separated into two groups -- penetrating and topical concrete sealers. Penetrating sealers are designed to penetrate and chemically react with the concrete to form a new chemical solid. The solid is breathable, and since it sinks into the concrete, it does not change the natural look of the surface. Besides, since penetrating sealers bond permanently with the concrete, they last longer than topical sealers. This article looks at the various types of penetrating sealers and their properties. Read on.
Lithium Silicates -- These represent a significant breakthrough in the industry today. Compared to other silicate sealers, lithium sealers have the smallest molecule size, which allows the sealant to penetrate deeper into the concrete. Another property that makes lithium silicate the best in the industry is its slow reaction time. As such, it allows the compound to penetrate the concrete better for a more dense result. The property eliminates the need to wet the surface for effective penetration. Further, the slow reaction allows lithium silicates sealers to penetrate evenly. It ensures the chemical reaction completes without whitening the concrete's surface.
Potassium Silicates -- Another silicate concrete sealer that is close in property to lithium silicate sealers is potassium silicate. Just like lithium silicates, potassium silicates also have small molecules that allow them to penetrate deep into concrete with ease. However, the molecules are not as small as lithium silicates; therefore, the surface needs to be dampened before the sealer is applied. This allows the molecules to sink into the concrete without leaving behind white patches on the surface that affect the aesthetics of the concrete. Furthermore, for potassium silicates to sink much better into the concrete, contractors have to scrub the surface for better penetration of the sealer. Unfortunately, potassium silicates need several applications for a better result, unlike lithium silicates.
Sodium Silicates -- These are arguably the oldest type of silicate sealers and the most widely used in the construction industry. While they are not as user-friendly as potassium and lithium silicates, sodium silicates are the least expensive of all silicate sealers. However, more contractors are moving away from sodium silicates for various reasons. First, the sealers react more quickly, which does not allow them to react adequately with the concrete. It makes it difficult to remove the by-products of the chemical reaction on time, thereby resulting in a stubborn white residue on the surface. That said, the issues can be addressed by dampening the surface to allow the sealer to break the concrete's surface tension for easy penetration.
For more information, reach out to a company like Robert Guy & Sons Pty Ltd.