Curing and sealing your concrete are two important steps necessary to ensure the strength, durability and function of your concrete. When deciding on your curing method, it’s important to consider how you plan on sealing and maintaining your concrete in the future, as one can affect the other.
- Membrane Curing – the most common curing method, also known as “cure and seal” which is a liquid membrane forming compound that’s usually sprayed or rolled on. This forms a thin film which keeps the moisture from evaporating from the surface.
- Moist Curing – this is probably the best method of curing, although in most cases, the least practical. This requires continuous flooding with water for the first week after placement, which does not allow the concrete to dry out.
It’s important to remember that sealing should be done routinely to protect and prolong the life of your concrete. There are two main types of sealant which give you a specific look for your concrete. Depending on your preference and needs, you can choose from a “wet look” or a “dry look” for your finished results.
- Concrete Film Formers – this is made from acrylic or rubber based compounds and form a thin coating on the surface of your concrete. The final result is a “wet” appearance to your concrete, much like wood with varnish. This can tend to darken concrete, so keep that in mind. These products can be less expensive initially, however, more frequent applications are required over time.
- Penetrating Sealers – these are made from silanes or siloxanes (a derivative of silicone) and are designed to penetrate the pores of the concrete and react with the concrete’s alkaline materials to form a water-repellent seal, giving the concrete a “dry look”. Another benefit is that these sealants won’t change the appearance of the concrete. Penetrating sealants can be more expensive up front, however, less applications are needed over time.
You should consider consulting with a quality concrete flooring contractor before you begin your project. This could potentially save you from amateur mistakes such as choosing the incorrect process, or perhaps not realizing that new epoxy floor coating could have been a better option! This will prevent you from costing you more money in the long run.