A Guide to the Types of Commercial Concrete Sealers & Their Role in Concrete Upkeep

Nov 18, 2021

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. 

Waterproofing and Sealing Basics

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.

Safety And Hazard Control When Applying Different Types of Concrete Sealers 

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.

The Basics of Commercial Concrete Sealing

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:

When to Apply a Sealant Coat to Concrete

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. 

What Does the Process of Concrete Sealant Application Look Like?

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.

Spray

Roll

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.  

Topical Sealants Protect Building Surfaces From Wear and Tear

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.

Acrylic

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. 

Pros 

Cons

Epoxy

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.

Pros

Cons

Polyurethane

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.

Pros

Cons

Subtypes:

Aromatic polyurethane
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.

Aliphatic polyurethane
Commonly used on commercial buildings, aliphatic polyurethane offers a stronger and more durable coating that is UV stable and temperature resistant.

Polyurea

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. 

Pros

Cons

Polyaspartic

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.  

Pros

Cons

Penetrating Sealants to Reduce Risk of Corrosion and Concrete Spalling

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.

Silicates

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. 

Pros

Cons

Silanes

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. 

Pros

Cons-

Siloxanes
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. 

Pros

Cons

Siliconates

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. 

Pros

Cons

Fluorinates
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. 

Pros

Cons-

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:

  1. Provides Structural Integrity.
    Waterproofing protects the building’s exterior and helps keep the foundation, walls, support, roofing system, and all vital structural areas from weakening, thus keeping the entire building sturdy and secure.
  2. Enhances Indoor Air Quality.
    When water seeps into the interior materials of the building, such as the walls and ceilings, it creates a breeding ground for microorganisms like mold and mildew that can lead to serious health problems for the occupants.
  3. Ensures Compliance with Building Codes.
    Minor water damage can easily be dealt with and repaired. Still,  suppose issues extend for some time, and the severity of the damage becomes too great. In that case,  the building can become structurally unsafe, which will bring about code violations and related penalties and fees.

Considerations When Choosing Between a Surface Sealant Versus Penetrating Sealant

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.

Extend Your Concrete Assets’ Longevity by Choosing The JOBS Group for Commercial Concrete Sealers Services.

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.

Composite Strengthening Solutions: What Are Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Systems & Other Concrete Strengthening Additives

Sep 02, 2021

Even though concrete is an extremely durable material, it is not impenetrable to corrosion or weakening over time. Before the need for reinforcements arises, high-rise maintenance systems can extend the longevity of the building. However, before the deterioration begins, building owners should continuously consider the value of reinforcing their concrete structures. If the structure has passed the point where basic waterproofing no longer can prevent damage, composite strengthening solutions are the next step forward. These effective and affordable solutions are used to increase strength for reinforcement and load-bearing capacity. Using fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) systems to strengthen existing structures will involve evaluation, design, and detailing processes to properly understand the reinforcement issue. Let’s take a closer look at concrete additives, the most common type of composite material used for them, and how they improve the strength and integrity of your building. 

What Are Concrete Additives?

An additive is any material used to improve the adhesion of concrete to itself and the adjacent building materials, which reduces the risk of cracks, water penetration, and degradation.

When deciding on concrete strengthening additives, it is important to know the intended use of the additives and how they will be applied to the structure. Proper interior and exterior maintenance of the building can delay the need for additives, but they will be necessary as the building ages. 

This is especially true if the building was constructed without additives or with materials subject to corrosion and degradation, including timber. Some of the reasons for using additives are to handle a load increase, address damage to structural parts due to aging, errors in planning/construction, and also reduce stress in steel reinforcement due to cracking. 

To resolve these issues, concrete additives are used to ensure the steadiness and reinforcement of the structure. In the last 25 years, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) systems have been used for structural strengthening. The most common strategy is carbon fiber strengthening of concrete, which can be limited to straight or slightly curved surfaces but is very resourceful when used on beams and structural foundations.

What Is the Most Common Composite Used? 

The type of material used to strengthen concrete will depend on the level of reinforcement necessary. Regardless, there are a few simple things to consider. According to Structure Magazine, The most common FRP systems for concrete strengthening applications are carbon fiber-based (CFRP). Carbon has superior mechanical properties and higher tensile strength, stiffness, and durability compared with glass fiber-based systems.” Carbon fiber strengthening of concrete provides solutions to structural issues such as aging, damaged or overloaded concrete, masonry, steel, and timber structures. While being very cost-effective for structural strengthening, CFRP is also very beneficial when a structure must support an increased load. 

How Composite Strengthening Is a Solution

Without concrete strengthening additives, corrosion will occur over time, which in the worst cases could lead to the loss of an entire building. When using CFRP composites to reinforce weakened concrete, it’s valuable to know how it can be used in different types of repairs. 

For instance, FRP fabric can be very beneficial once adhered to the tension side of a structure. This will provide additional tension reinforcement and increase flexural strength, while also allowing other beneficial resources to be used in tandem, such as building waterproofing services. The adhesive systems used to bond the two together may include a primer that is used to penetrate the concrete surface and improve the bond. By providing supportive reinforcement and improving axial strength, composite strengthening solutions are beneficial for many structural building repairs. 

Save the Structure & Stress by Working With an Experienced Partner

As time passes, some aspects of a building will need concrete restoration and extra maintenance. It may be something as minor as elevator ceiling panels that need replacing or as in-depth as adding reinforcement to the structure of the building. Eventually, a building may need reinforcements to keep concrete corrosion at bay, and in other instances, add-ons to the structure may require other concrete work. Discovering that a structure needs composite strengthening solutions can be extremely difficult if your team does not know where to start or what solutions are available.

Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services today to learn more about the value of concrete strengthening with FRP materials. 

 

What Is Concrete Strengthening & How Does It Work?

Aug 31, 2021

During the construction of a building, depending on its use, elevator cab designs may be a bigger worry than the possibility of concrete corrosion. But elevators are only as good as the foundation of the building, and that applies to every facet of your structure. Improvements will most likely be needed to repair and strengthen reinforced concrete structures over time.  Depending on the type of concrete and location, additional restorations might be needed eventually. In some cases, the only requirement might be concrete strengthening; in other instances, new tactics such as the strengthening of concrete columns with fibers may need to be evaluated for their added benefits and long-term value. Let’s take a closer look at concrete strengthening, how it promotes stronger structural integrity, what to know when choosing materials, and a few other points of interest.  

What Is Concrete Strengthening? 

When an existing structure deteriorates, or alterations need to be made due to the form failing to serve its purpose, concrete strengthening is the best way to repair issues for long-term benefits.  Generally, all concrete structures are reinforced with some type of material, but building owners will inevitably need high-rise maintenance of concrete structures that won’t break the budget. Reinforced concrete results when a steel reinforcement, usually a kind of steel bar, is used to increase the strength of the structure. To create reinforced concrete, building owners turn to carbon fiber strengthening of concrete and Fiber Reinforced Polymer Concentrate (FRP). Such solutions are available for use on reinforced concrete, steel, wood, and masonry load-bearing structures. However, in some cases, concrete strengthening additives are also needed to extend the life of the concrete, control setting and hardening, and fix the general structural behavior of the concrete. 

When Is It Most Beneficial to Use?

Over time, a building can take quite a beating, its purpose can change, loads may increase, the local standards may evolve, or even historical structures may need more support. In response to this, repair and strengthening of reinforced concrete structures resist these stresses that would cause regular concrete to crack and crumble. While other resources, such as building waterproofing services, can help maintain a building for the short term, concrete strengthening will become a necessity. According to Structure Magazine, reinforced concrete will allow for the arrangements supported to have more comprehensive strength than traditional concrete, extending the long life service of the design. Using concrete strengthening, the steel supports added to larger systems will have a lower risk of erosion due to less water gradually entering the masonry work. Rather than reconstruct an entire building, it is much simpler to provide the proper reinforcements during initial construction and with all repairs. 

How to Choose the Right Material

A key component in concrete maintenance is an evaluation of materials and knowing how building maintenance will reap the most beneficial results possible. For instance, evaluating how the structure needs to be strengthened will guide the selection of proper materials for the job. 

Fiber-reinforced polymer composite (FRP) materials can be useful as well. These are made of high-strength continuous fibers, such as glass, carbon, or steel wires, embedded in a polymer mix. The fibers provide the reinforcement, while the polymer matrix protects the fibers and transfers loads between the fibers. 

Let’s consider another scenario. There may be a need to strengthen concrete columns in other situations, which can be done by reinforced concrete jacketing, steel jacketing, or FRP confining or jacketing. Columns often need to be strengthened once the load carried by the column has increased; the inclination is more than allowable, or when the compressive strength of the concrete or the type and percentage does not meet evolving code requirements. It’s up to each company to thoroughly evaluate the best ways to strengthen their assets over time, which means choosing the right form of reinforcement can literally make or break your building. That’s why it is important to choose a partner that can help your team increase property value by handling everything related to high-rise maintenance.

Improve the Strength of Your Concrete by Choosing the Right Building Maintenance Partner

When looking for a maintenance partner, it can be overwhelming and frustrating to know who is the best fit. Both interior maintenance and exterior maintenance should be a top priority when taking care of a building in every aspect possible. Working with a trustworthy partner is always the goal. Depending on the job type, the best partner can easily achieve reinforcement through carbon fiber strengthening of concrete,  jacketed concrete strengthening, or even fiber-reinforced polymer composites. It is more beneficial to add structural modifications to a building rather than build a new building from the ground up, pardon the pun. It’s always a great strategy to keep a building up to date before restorations are needed. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services today to improve the strength and integrity of your new and existing concrete assets.

Signs It’s Time for Commercial Concrete Restoration & Repair

Aug 26, 2021

A building is a valuable asset, which is why many proprietors consider the need for commercial concrete restoration. Many signs emerge when it becomes time to implement planned building services. The naked eye can see some but not all damage. Visible cracks in a concrete structure or wall of a commercial building could pose substantial hazards to the occupants inside the structure and in the surrounding area. Looking for signs of damage is easy and will reduce the need for untimely, costly concrete restoration and repair

1. Obvious, Visible Cracks in Concrete

With high-rise commercial building maintenance, part of the job means keeping a watchful eye on the exterior. Damage to concrete may not appear to be a danger, but the integrity of the building might be at stake. Look for cracking and splits in the concrete. Addressing these issues proactively will help prevent the need for a more expensive intervention by concrete restoration companies

2. Signs of Aging Like Moisture Buildup or Pooling

Another indication of damage that needs to be addressed is signs of aging. Aging looks like water penetrating the structure and pooling or leaking. With concrete buildings, excellent waterproofing can mean the difference between structure longevity or needing a repair via concrete restoration and repair in the short term. In addition to the presence of water, other signs of aging include potholes, unevenness in the building, or simply just a lackluster appearance. 

3. Flooring Begins to Sink or Dip and Other Signs of Foundational Issues

For a lot of building owners, flooring appeal and consistent quality are essential features. If the foundation crumbles, the entire building will deteriorate. When the flooring begins to dip or sink, this might signify the foundation is compromised. This might not appear strictly in flooring; signs might also be present on walls as they dip when the floor shifts. When this happens, contacting concrete restoration companies will help to fix these issues. 

4. Uneven Appearances of Concrete

The uneven appearance of the concrete can indicate the need for repairs. According to Facility Executive, ongoing building maintenance will help minimize structural damage. Each team needs a team dedicated to performing routine checks and maintenance. The more eyes on the building, the earlier a business can identify and repair the damage. 

5. Struggling With Sticky Windows or Doors

As well as signs of a damaged foundation and uneven appearances, doors or windows that stick also mean it could be time to consider contacting a contractor for commercial concrete restoration and repair

6. Visible Damage to The Walls of the Interior and Exterior

In addition to the structural damages and other issues with doors and windows, all visible damage can indicate it is time for concrete restoration or repair. Damages to the walls or floors on the interior can permeate to the outside. Seeking exterior maintenance solutions will also prevent the damages from spreading to the interior. Essentially, any damage to the waterproofing, insulation, windows, doors, walls, or roof that can be seen needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 

Get the Best Out of Commercial Concrete Restoration & Repair by Choosing the Right Partner 

For building owners, protecting their most valuable asset means restoring and repairing the exterior or interior concrete as needed. Request a consultation with Valcourt Building Services to improve the strength and integrity of your new and existing concrete assets today.