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Many different building materials are visible in commercial buildings and structures, and all of them need some sort of waterproofing membrane or sealant to protect them from the elements. Of all the building materials available today, concrete is still among the most common, particularly when considering exterior facades and visible components of most commercial structures these days. Concrete, of course, is a porous material that is easy to use on taller skyscrapers and buildings. The lighter weight of concrete, compared to other materials, is due to that porous composition that lets it breathe freely and absorbs water and air. Commercial concrete sealers can make a world of difference in preserving the aesthetics and durability of the façade and exterior components and many interior aspects. Understanding the various types of concrete sealers available and their role in concrete repair and maintenance is a critical part of commercial building management and maintenance.
A lot goes into applying waterproofing sealants to commercial buildings and dealing with resealing concrete, however, including hazard awareness, safety concerns, injury prevention, and integral concerns. According to the official OSHA website, “the hazards experienced in the sealant, waterproofing, and restoration industry are common to the construction industry in general. These include health hazards, such as asphalt fumes, lead, silica, and solvents; and safety hazards, such as falls from elevation, awkward and heavy lifting, flammables, and power tools. An important step in addressing these hazards is to conduct task-specific hazard analyses to identify what hazards to expect and to then plan for their control.” Sealing is essential for protecting porous surfaces from damage and maximizing the lifespans of building facades. Commercial building waterproofing envelopes can protect against:
However, choosing the wrong sealant can cause problems with the appearance and integrity of the building. It can also lead to wasted time, money, and resources if the sealant needs to be removed or reapplied more often than what would otherwise be required. Correcting commercial concrete sealer mistakes is a costly and labor-intensive process, so choosing the proper waterproofing sealant and correctly installing the envelope is of the utmost importance for a successful and long-lasting seal. Failure to do so can lead to a myriad of commercial building water damages.
This essential aspect of commercial building maintenance and upkeep requires specialized training and a unique skill set. It is always best to leave waterproofing and leak investigation work to the pros. They can ensure a proper application, thanks to extensive training with the various products, chemicals, equipment, and gear needed to do the job.
Working with commercial concrete seal experts makes it easier to ensure they follow all proper guidelines, regulations, and protocols while working. As highlighted by the Sealant, Weatherproofing, & Restoration Institute, “Where feasible, workplace hazards are prevented by effective design of the job site or job. Where it is not feasible to eliminate such hazards, they must be controlled to prevent unsafe and unhealthy exposure. Once a potential hazard is recognized, the elimination or control must be done promptly.” These procedures often cover essential measures that can include:
Training makes up a significant component of management. Keeping up effective safety protocols for waterproofing and maintenance teams requires constant observation and inspections. Likewise, careful monitoring of critical aspects of building renovation and upkeep is also needed. Proper training must address the responsibilities of both management and employees at the site. Employees should be able to recognize hazards and have the ability to observe something or someone and know that there is a problem or concern that requires attention.
Concrete sealing involves the application of a specially developed compound to the surface of the concrete or other stone materials that will shield it from the damaging effects of the weather and environment. Choosing from the many types of concrete sealers and coatings can sometimes be overwhelming, but it gets easier when basic classifications break it down.
Topical film-forming sealers create a layer of waterproofing on top of the material and dry to form a protecting coating or shell of sorts. A penetrating concrete sealer soaks into the concrete to waterproof it and allows for a more natural look and feel to the stone while still making it water-resistant.
Concrete pavement requires a great deal of time and money, but several key benefits arise after a seal coat has been applied:
In most cases, the sealant should go on the building as soon as the new concrete will support the weight of the installer and any scaffold ting and apparatuses needed. Sometimes the concrete must be fully cured before application; that is determined and accounted for during the planning stage.. Curing most concrete usually takes up to 30 days.
Regardless of timing, applying sealant is a can’t-skip step because the building envelope is a critical part of the exterior structure. Virtually all pavements benefit from being seal-coated, and industry experts recommend applying the initial waterproofing application within the first year of construction. The process should be repeated every two to four years, or however often is needed based on a specific factor, as part of a general maintenance plan. On business properties, professionals should apply commercial concrete sealers for the best results through small touch-ups on an as-needed basis.
How a sealer gets applied to the building can profoundly affect the final outcome and performance. Therefore, it is important to choose the proper sealant and application method combined with environmental factors and other conditions Using the right tools makes it easier to achieve the best coverage rate and get the coating just right to seal the building without it being too thick and bulky or failing to get the layer thick enough or evenly applied. While there are some general rules for sealant services and applications, all trained and experienced applicators refer to specific guidelines and handling protocols for each product. The most important rule to remember is that less is more, regardless of the method used to apply the many types of concrete sealers.
Given the competitive market and high demand for waterproofing services, commercial building managers must fully understand the available options. As highlighted by Waterproof Magazine: “Currently, liquid-applied membranes account for 67.2% of total vertically-applied product last year, and are the fastest-growing segment. Advances in material chemistry, including polyurethanes, spray-applied air barriers, and rubber polymers ensure liquid-applied coatings will continue to be the fastest-growing segment of the commercial waterproofing market. Sheet membrane applications will see less growth. Global Marketing Insights estimates they will average 6.2% growth annually through 2022.” Both methods of application can be effective, and one is not necessarily better than the other outright. It depends on the type of sealer being applied, where it is being used, the type of material being treated, and many other specific factors.
There are several types of topical sealants for building waterproofing, each with its own set of pros and cons. It is important to keep in mind that topical sealants often require some sort of pre-treatment, sanding or other preparation of the material before application to ensure the coating adheres fully.
Readily available and among the most common types of topical waterproofing seals used on commercial buildings, acrylic sealers can also help enhance the beauty of concrete and brick facades. They protect against water infiltration, heat and cold, mold and mildew, and general wear and tear. Acrylic sealant is also among the most cost-effective choices.
This type of waterproof treatment is a good choice when a longer life span is needed. Like other affordable sealants, epoxy is easy to apply with spray or roll applications. Suitability largely depends on the exact product used and the size of the coverage area.
Polyurethane produces a durable coating that is resistant to wear. It also offers UV resistance, gloss, and color enhancement. Polyurethane waterproofing materials provide long-term protection that looks great and can help shield building materials from wear and tear and breakdown due to exposure to the elements.
The least expensive of all polyurethane coatings, this formulation is best used as a primer or intermediate coat and should be paired with other types of sealants.
Commonly used on commercial buildings, aliphatic polyurethane offers a stronger and more durable coating that is UV stable and temperature resistant.
The most expensive of options in this category, polyurea, is not used as often as other topical sealants for waterproofing and building maintenance. Cost notwithstanding, polyurea offers excellent UV resistance and weathering characteristics.
Less expensive than polyurea but still more costly in general than other topical sealants, polyaspartic is still a viable choice worth considering. Polyaspartic sealants provide a highly protective film layer that offers the durability and flexibility needed to withstand weather and environmental factors.
These kinds of sealants are popular for commercial buildings because they typically don’t require much surface preparation. No sanding or chemical treatments are needed ahead of time. The surface needs to be clean of any debris or chemical applications and dry when the commercial concrete sealers application process begins.
These waterproofing sealants work to bind with the materials in the concrete itself and fuse with the material. This helps with concrete strengthening thanks to the crystalline formation silicates take when they cure and harden. This additional strength reinforces the actual concrete itself while also making it more water-resistant.
Silanes are frequently used for sealing in parking garages, bridge decks, building facades, and other concrete structures. Silanes penetrate the material and forms durable and stiff sheets within the surface to form a waterproof layer of protection that holds up to long-term exposure to weather and the elements.
Siloxanes typically can be found on facades made of concrete, brick, stucco, and similar materials. It is a unique formulation that penetrates the material and forms a thin protective layer over the outer surface itself. Siloxanes are excellent water-repellent substances.
Like other penetrating concrete sealers, these sealants do not alter the appearance or texture of whatever material they are applied to. Their formulation allows for adequate absorption into the materials while providing an outer coating of protection as well. They also can often be applied in just one or two passes.
These sealants are also popular for waterproofing in commercial settings because they do not change the underlying materials’ color, texture, or general appearance. They also provide excellent coverage rates and are considered to be some of the best when it comes to overall topical protection.
Regardless of the type of waterproof coating you choose and how it is applied, the most important thing is that the buildings be sealed and protected against water intuition and other damages. Waterproofing and building envelope system maintenance and inspection must be part of the regular building management and repair schedule.
A commercial building management service provider can help ensure the envelope seal is maintained to protect the building at all times. Many benefits come from proper commercial waterproofing; here are three of the most impactful:
Building waterproofing services include many aspects of façade maintenance and envelope upkeep. In addition to understanding the different sealants, their formulations, and the application methods, building managers who are weighing whether to use a surface concrete sealant or a penetrating concrete sealer must also consider these critical points:
The final consideration for choosing the best waterproofing sealant comes down to business presences and limitations. If the ideal or first choice sealer is not an option due to budget concerns, the second best will do because some waterproofing is better than none. However, expenses can extend beyond the initial application. Opting for a cheaper coating may mean more applications and more work down the road, impacting budgets and finances. Commercial waterproofing is an investment for both short- and long-term needs.
Heavy rainfalls, floods, snow, and high humidity can cause concrete to soak in water. The addition of continual auto and foot traffic can also wear down structures and compromises integrity over time. All of this can lead to structural and aesthetic problems without routine applications and without resealing concrete regularly. Water seepage over time can lead to the degradation of the concrete and can weaken it. Oxidation will also occur over time as the concrete is exposed to the elements all day every day, leading to discoloration and a brittle texture that can easily crack and chip.
Whether you are considering penetrating concrete sealers or topical concrete coatings for your commercial hi-rise building, JOBS has the resources you need. Waterproofing is necessary for commercial buildings or any other edifices when there is a need or desire to prevent water from entering the structure and damaging it. These seals also protect against unsightly mold and algae growth, and protect against discoloration and damages caused by dirt, chemicals, UV rays, and other factors. Many surfaces of commercial buildings need waterproofing seals, with roofs, walls, foundations, facades, and other integral areas. Creating a waterproof envelope around the building is a critical aspect of maintaining the structural integrity of the building.
To protect your property with reliable waterproofing, envelope creation, and envelope restoration, contact us today to discover commercial concrete sealers that are right for your building maintenance needs. We can help you unravel the mystery of the many types of concrete sealers and help you find the one that is right for you. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services now to get started.