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How To: Prepare Concrete for Sealers and Coatings

How To: Prepare Concrete for Sealers and Coatings

Sealers and coatings can provide winter protection and/or appearance enhancement to concrete and masonry for years if applied properly. The first component of proper application is preparation of the surface or substrate. Improper preparation of the surface can create problems later, especially with adhesion, but also with appearance. Many coatings require specific 'surface profile' recommendations. A surface profile refers to how rough a surface is based on how it was prepared mechanically. Surface profiles range from heavy scarification/milling to acid etching. V-SEAL provides recommendations for each type of sealer/coating: reactive penetrating sealers, decorative acrylic coatings, and premium topical coatings.

Concrete Surface Profiles (Increasing in Roughness)

  • CSP 1 - Acid Etching
  • CSP 2 - Grinding
  • CSP 3 - Light Shotblast
  • CSP 4 - Light Scarification
  • CSP 5 - Medium Shotblast
  • CSP 6 - Medium Scarification
  • CSP 7 - Heavy Abrasive Blast
  • CSP 8 - Scabbling
  • CSP 9 - Heavy Scarification, Milling

Preparation for Reactive Penetrating Sealers

The only actual requirement for a reactive penetrating sealers is that the substrate can absorb the sealer. Substrate porosity can be tested by pouring water on the surface or waiting for rain. If water soaks in easily and spreads out, darkening the concrete some, that generally means the concrete is porous/unsealed and will absorb a reactive penetrating sealer. While the only requirement is porosity, we typically recommend cleaning the concrete before sealing to avoid trapping any stains or making them harder to clean later. If pressure washing is possible, it is the best way to clean your concrete without the risk of discoloring the surface with a chemical cleaner. For stubborn staining agents, chemical cleaners may be necessary (see below for recommendations). After cleaning, the surface should be allowed to dry completely before sealing to ensure maximum absorption. Sealing a partially wet surface will typically result in less product absorption, and less water repellent characteristics. If the surface is clean, dry, and porous, you are ready to begin your reactive penetrating sealer application.

V-SEAL Reactive Penetrating Sealers: V-SEAL 101, V-SEAL 102, Phase II, Industra-Seal 117A, Industra-Seal 117PLS, V-STOP

Preparation for Decorative Acrylic Coatings

Decorative acrylic coatings don't require porosity like reactive penetrating sealers, but they do require that the surface profile is rough enough for adhesion. When applying directly to the substrate, the surface should be at least as rough as a 200-300 grit grind/sand. Acrylic coatings are made up of acrylic resin and a solvent or water carrier also called a base. When applying over another coating, care should be taken to use the same type as before (solvent/water) to ensure proper adhesion and appearance. Solvent based acrylic coatings provide deep color enhancement will soften and bond to the resin remaining from the last application. Water based acrylic coatings provide less color enhancement and gloss, and will not soften old resins. Because water based acrylic coatings will not soften and bond to cured acrylic coatings, the surface should be 'de-glossed' or lightly sanded to provide mechanical adhesion. If the surface is clean, dry, and rough enough for adhesion, you are ready to begin applying your decorative acrylic coating.

V-SEAL Decorative Acrylic Coatings: Industra-Gloss SB, Industra-Gloss 350 (low VOC), Industra-Gloss WB (water based, naturally low VOC)

Preparation for Premium Topical Coatings

Premium topical coatings like epoxy and urethane require similar preparation to acrylic coatings, but are less breathable than acrylic coatings, so moisture transmission must be accounted for on applications that are on grade or below grade. Taping a small piece of plastic down in a few areas is a good way to find out if there is underlying moisture. If the area under the plastic darkens after a day or two, there is likely moisture pushing up through the surface, and a calcium chloride moisture test should be performed to measure the amount of moisture transmission. Test results above 5lbs/1000sf/24 hours generally have to be controlled before applying coatings. If this is the case, a reactive penetrating sealer like our V-SEAL 101 should be used to reduce the amount of moisture passing through the surface. Surfaces should also be as rough as a 200-300 grit grind before application of premium coatings. When applying premium coatings in succession, they should be applied during the re-coat window to ensure chemical bond between the coatings. If the re-coat window passes, the surface will need lightly ground/sanded with 200-300 grit again before applying the next coating.

V-SEAL Premium Topical Coatings: Industra-Coat Epoxy & Urethane Kits (Gloss/Matte), Industra-Coat 3015 Epoxy Primer (Gloss), Industra-Coat 3321 Urethane Topcoat (Gloss), Industra-Coat 3322 Low VOC Urethane Topcoat (Gloss), Industra-Coat 3520 Water Based Urethane (Satin)

Cleaners

V-SEAL offers cleaners for all types of staining agents. Our concentrated V-SCRUB HD is a strong alkaline detergent designed to clean dirt, grease, and oil stains. Our V-SCRUB ETCH is a concentrated acid designed to clean reacted stains like rust, efflorescence, and leaf stains, or etch concrete when used in stronger concentration. Our ReKRETE is a waterless resurfacing cleaner for oil and other hydrocarbons. Our V-SCRUB Natural is a biodegradeable pH neutral cleaner designed for cleaning sealed surfaces without damage to coatings.

To speak with an experienced technical advisor about the specifics of your project, contact us at (614)754-4777 or info@vseal.com.

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V-SEAL Concrete Sealers supports Columbus Students

V-SEAL Concrete Sealers supports Columbus Students

Cristo Rey High School is a Catholic, college-preparatory high school with a Professional Work Study Program empowering young men and women of all faiths, from economically challenged families, to graduate from college and achieve a lifetime of success. Cristo Rey Columbus targets under-served youth in central Ohio.

The Board Welcomes Your Support

The Cristo Rey Columbus High School Board continues to seek financial support in the form of grants, donations and pledges. You can also support the school by becoming a partner in the Professional Work Study Program.

Opened in 2013

Cristo Rey Columbus is the 26th Cristo Rey high school in the United States and will join a network of Catholic high schools throughout the country that make a college-preparatory education accessible to students of all faith denominations in some of the most challenging economic circumstances.

Working to Learn and Learning to Work

What makes Cristo Rey unique is the Professional Work Study Program that helps fund the students’ education. With this innovative educational model, each student works five days per month. School fees are paid by employers for student work, and this comprises the majority of the school budget.

Giving Students Educational Options

The model allows Cristo Rey schools to educate students who have grown up facing poverty and few educational options. “Our students will be learning to work and working to learn,” said Jim Foley, Cristo Rey Columbus High School President. “By earning their own education, they will learn first-hand its value. By working in a professional setting, they will learn first-hand the importance of a college education.”

With Support of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus

Bishop Frederick Campbell and the Catholic Diocese of Columbus are sponsors of Cristo Rey Columbus High School. At a time when Catholic schools are closing across America, Cristo Rey schools continue in the tradition of the Catholic Church by educating those most in need. Last year, 98% of last year’s Cristo Rey seniors graduated. All of these graduates were accepted into college.

Doing Our Part

V-SEAL Concrete Sealers believes in supporting our local community, especially when it comes to opportunities for our youth. Donations to Cristo Rey help support National Honor Society memberships, uniforms, overnight retreats, college visits, care packages for alumni, and more.

V-SEAL Concrete Sealers has offered commercial quality concrete sealers and coatings since 1987. Our expert technical advisors can help you choose the best products to protect and enhance concrete or masonry. To speak with one of our experienced technical advisors about your upcoming project, contact us here:

V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers, 9042 Cotter St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035

614-754-4777

 info@vseal.com, www.vseal.com 

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Choosing a Concrete Countertop Sealer

Choosing a Concrete Countertop Sealer

 

Concrete countertops are an affordable D.I.Y. project that can achieve a truly customized appearance at a fraction of the cost of granite or quartz. Unfortunately, porous concrete can stain easily in a kitchen setting where there are a variety of staining agents. Sealing the surface with a reactive sealer and/or coating system can provide a surface that is easier to keep clean and looking great for years.

Reactive Sealer vs. Topical Coating System?

When customers are deciding between products and need our advice, we first try to find out what they are trying to achieve with their product, and what expectations they have of the finished product. For areas where water repellency is necessary but stain resistance is less necessary, a reactive sealer like our V-SEAL 101 may be all you need (but it's also a great first step to reduce moisture transmission before applying coatings). For areas where higher stain resistance is desired, a coating system should be used to provide a barrier between the staining agent and surface of your concrete countertop. Coatings for countertops come in a wide array of colors and finishes, and many are similar in resistances to floor coatings for concrete.

Color Enhancement, Color, Gloss?

Some clear coatings applied to concrete can cause color enhancement or darkening, making the concrete look wet and often enhancing the colors in the concrete, while others leave the concrete more natural looking. Many coating systems can also be tinted translucently or to an opaque color while different finishes can provide a gloss or satin appearance.
If the wet look is desired, we typically recommend using the StoneLok E3/2K2 Epoxy and Urethane Kits. If less color enhancement is desired, TK6 NanoCoat can be used in place of the StoneLok E3 Epoxy, then top-coated with StoneLok 2K2 Urethane to increase abrasion and heat resistance. When used without top-coating with StoneLok 2K2, TK6 NanoCoat provides good resistances to stains at a fraction of the cost of the StoneLok E3/2K2 System, but offers lower abrasion and heat resistances.

Both TK6 NanoCoat and StoneLok 2K2 are available in Gloss or Extra Low Gloss depending on the desired amount of light reflection.

Abrasion Resistance

Coatings always increase the stain resistance of concrete, but must be cared for over time to maintain resistances and appearance. Coatings that cure to a harder strength are less likely to scratch over time, which ultimately results in a longer wear life. A common test for abrasion resistance is the CS-17 Tabor abrasion test in which a uniform weight and sanding method are used on coatings and the amount removed is measured (less removed is better/harder). Acrylic and other single component coatings are typically about half as hard as epoxies, and a fourth as hard as urethane coatings.
Of the coatings that we offer, TK6 NanoCoat is about twice as hard as acrylic coatings, but about half as hard as the StoneLok E3/2K2 System. Using a two-part urethane for the final topcoat provides the best abrasion resistance.

Maintenance

While the coatings offered here will last a long time if cared for properly, all coatings will need maintained over time with use. The manufacturers of TK6 NanoCoat and StoneLok E3/2K2 recommend the following:

  • Wipe up spills as they occur.
  • Clean regularly with a pH neutral cleaner. (never use abrasive or aggressive tools or cleaners)
  • Never used a sealed countertop as a cutting board
  • Use coasters or felt pads below anything with sharp edges (wine bottles, metal stands, etc.)
  • Do not place pots or pans directly from stove or oven onto a sealed surface
  • If damage occurs, cover or repair affected area to prevent further damage in affected area.
  • Sacrificial coatings like waxes may be used to protect the coatings from damage, but will need re-applied more often as they wear off

To speak with one of our experienced technical advisors about your next countertop project, contact us here:

V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers, 9042 Cotter St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035

614-754-4777

 info@vseal.com, www.vseal.com 

 

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Decorative Exterior Coatings - Solvent vs. Water Based Acrylics

Homeowners are always looking for ways to protect their exterior concrete and masonry projects. Decorative exterior coatings are a great way to protect concrete and masonry while enhancing the natural appearance of the surface.
Decorative concrete and masonry coatings that will be used on exterior surfaces must be breathable enough to allow trapped moisture to escape through evaporation, which is why acrylic resins are very popular in outdoor coatings. Less breathable options like epoxy and urethane are generally harder to use outdoor and are rarely recommended for exterior applications, but are great for interior projects with high traffic or where high stain resistances are necessary.

Acrylic coatings generally contain 15-30% acrylic resin (or solids) that is  carried in a water or solvent base. Solvent based acrylic coatings are most popular because they provide moderate to deep color enhancement (darkening) and multiple coats can lead to a glossier finish. Water based acrylics provide less color enhancement and gloss for a more natural finish. Solvent based acrylics are generally preferred because of their ease of re-application and wet look appearance. The best solvent based acrylic coatings are high solids (25% or more), and are carried in slow drying solvents (as opposed to , to allow more time for the product to soak in and adhere to the surface while reducing bubbles.

Volatile Organic Compound (V.O.C.) regulations vary from state to state, but V-SEAL offers options for all states:

Industra-Gloss SB (solvent based) - 25% Solids, for states with no extra V.O.C. regulations beyond the Federal level

Industra-Gloss 350 (low VOC solvent based) - 25% Solids, uses slow drying solvents that are exempt from V.O.C. calculations, same performance as Industra-Gloss SB, but must ship hazardous.

Low VOC States: OH, PA, IN, IL, NY, CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, RI, CA

Industra-Gloss WB (water based, naturally low VOC)

V-SEAL® offers over 1000 products for curing, sealing, and cleaning concrete and masonry projects. A subset of our best selling products are available on our website, but for a truly customized system it is best to talk to one of our experienced technical advisors:

V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers, 9042 Cotter St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035

614-754-4777

 info@vseal.com, www.vseal.com 

 

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Commercial DIY Spotlight: Advanced Turf Solutions Showroom Floor

Commercial DIY Spotlight: Advanced Turf Solutions Showroom Floor

When Advanced Turf Solutions decided to expand their showroom floor, they were looking for a durable yet affordable floor coating system that would provide a finished  appearance. They contacted V-SEAL® for our expertise with commercial D.I.Y. floor sealer applications. We knew the floor system applied would have to stand up to forklift traffic and resist damage from harsh chemicals in fertilizers and lawn care products, so we recommended our Industra-Coat Epoxy and Urethane Kits. Advanced Turf Solutions chose an opaque epoxy primer (Industra-Coat 3015) to cover up the old unfinished concrete. While the epoxy was still wet, they broadcasted paint chips provided by V-SEAL® to hide dirt and dust between cleaning. After waiting 8-24 hours for the epoxy to cure to the touch, our clear Industra-Coat 3322 Low VOC two-part urethane gloss topcoat was applied as the final step.

Urethane topcoats provide approximately 2X the abrasion resistance of epoxy coatings and also increase UV and heat resistance for a longer wear life before re-application is necessary. All coatings can make concrete more slippery when wet, so on applications that could become wet, we recommend using 1-2 pints of anti-slip additive per Gallon of urethane topcoat. Anti-Skid can be broadcast or mixed into the coating before rolling. Urethane topcoats like our Industra-Coat 3322 are typically dry to the touch in 4-8 hours, ready for light foot traffic in 12-24 hours, and fully cured in 3-5 days under normal conditions (70 degrees F, low relative humidity).

V-SEAL® offers over 1000 products for curing, sealing, and cleaning concrete and masonry projects. A subset of our best selling products are available on our website, but for a truly customized system it is best to talk to one of our experienced technical advisors:

V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers, 9042 Cotter St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035

614-754-4777

 info@vseal.com, www.vseal.com .

 

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Smart Schools Protect Their Infrastructure Investments with V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers

Smart Schools Protect Their Infrastructure Investments with V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers

American educational institutions spend millions of dollars annually on valuable infrastructure such as sidewalks, parking lots, statues, fountains, and buildings.  Often years of research and planning are involved to construct these multi-million-dollar investments.  The most astute institutions also research the best ways to protect their infrastructure, which is why they contact V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers for knowledgeable technical support and superior concrete sealer products.

Cornell University Parking

When the engineers at Cornell University wanted to replace parking surfaces late in the season, their traditional method - water curing, waiting 28 days, and sealing with long-term penetrating sealer - was not going to work due to timing.  They chose V-SEAL® 102 Winter-Guard®, the world’s only true SEAL + CURE®.  V-SEAL® 102 Winter-Guard® is a powerful long-term sealer tested to resist more than 1000 freeze/thaw cycles (10 years in midwestern climates) that passes ASTM C309, allowing it to be applied as soon as new concrete can withstand the weight of a worker without marring.  The photos below illustrate nearly perfect surfaces one year later.

 

Elon University Grand Fountain Restoration

A major project at Elon University was the restoration of the high profile Grand Fountain, so they contacted V-SEAL®.  After consultation to understand their needs, V-SEAL® provided the Industra-Coat Epoxy and Urethane System, which consists of epoxy primer for superior adhesion and water repellence, and urethane topcoat for abrasion and UV resistance.  Industra-Coat Epoxy and Urethane Systems are widely utilized as an attractive long-lasting coating system for fountains, ponds, swimming pools, and commercial and industrial floors.

University of Houston Concrete Floors

The University of Houston wanted to upgrade the appearance of the densified concrete floors in their new $47 Million dormitory.  Originally, the floors appeared blotchy and dull.  The architect for the project contacted V-SEAL® to obtain a custom color, fast drying, commercial grade floor sealer system that could be applied by non-specialized applicators to conceal the discolored areas and provide the intended appearance of polished concrete with excellent abrasion resistance and chemical resistance.  V-SEAL® provided a high-performance copolymer in a custom blended colored primer coat and a clear topcoat.

Bowling Green High School Memorial Statue

When the City of Bowling Green, Ohio wanted to protect a new memorial statue placed at the entrance of the local high school, they contacted V-SEAL for a graffiti repellent, non-slip sealer system.  All surfaces were initially treated with V-SEAL® 101 Multi-Surface, a long-lasting penetrating sealer for concrete, brick, stone, stucco, and other masonry.  To fortify graffiti repellence, all surfaces were coated with NanoCoat and horizontal surfaces were coated with NanoCoat with anti-skid grit.

Other educational institutions that have relied upon V-SEAL® for important projects include Harvard, Penn, Duke, Maryland, Cal Poly, Stanford, UC Berkley, Oklahoma, Clemson, Auburn, Illinois, Otterbein, Jefferson, Western Kentucky, Texas Women’s, High Point, Ohio University, and the Ohio State University.

For informative technical support and superior products for institutional concrete investments contact:

V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers, 9042 Cotter St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035 614-754-4777, info@vseal.com, www.vseal.com .

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