Whether it be a driveway, patio, or pool deck, a new concrete surface represents a serious investment in your home's future. For that reason, many people wisely choose to apply a layer of protective concrete sealer to their new concrete. Simply put, sealers stand among the best ways to extend the lifespan of a concrete surface.
Yet certain sealers come with one significant drawback, in that they can be quite slippery, especially compared to the natural grip provided by concrete itself. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can get the best of both worlds. This article will increase your knowledge of concrete by outlining three ways to seal a concrete surface without sacrificing traction.
1. Use a Penetrating Sealer
The most commonly used sealers have an acrylic or polyurethane base. Such sealers, known as film-forming sealers, act to create a water impermeable barrier that sits on top of the concrete. While perfectly effective, this film presents a significant drawback in that it can be quite slippery, especially when the sealer is applied in a thicker layer.
Fortunately, you can circumvent this problem by using a so-called penetrating sealer. As their name would imply, such sealers do not simply sit on the surface of the concrete, but rather penetrate deep down inside of its pores. This gives them a number of advantages, the most important of which being that they will not alter or affect the natural traction of the concrete.
2. Add Grit to Your Sealer
Those who are determined to stick with a film forming sealer still have other grip increasing options at their disposal. The most common tactic involves the addition of fine particulate matter to the sealer, either just before or just after its application to the concrete. Once dried, the particles impart a grippy texture to the otherwise slick sealer.
Those who choose to go this route have two commonly used types of grit to choose between. The first consists of finely ground bits of polyethylene plastic. You usually mix this material with the sealer prior to application. Its light weight allows it to remain evenly suspended within the sealer, meaning that the traction will remain constant even as the sealer wears away.
The other frequently employed sealer grit goes by the name of aluminum oxide. This naturally occurring substance has the advantage of an exceptionally low price point. Rather than being mixed into the sealer, it is instead usually broadcast across the surface after you apply the sealer. This allows the installer to control the amount of coverage, adding as much grit as necessary to achieve the desired traction.
It should be noted that aluminum oxide can be purchased in a variety of different colors, making it a great option for those who would like to augment the look of their concrete. Plastic grit, on the other hand, is more suitable for those who want to achieve crystal clear results.
3. Apply Slip-Resistant Tape
Sometimes even the addition of grit still can't supply a film forming sealer the desired level of traction. This may be the case when dealing with concrete installed around the exterior of a public building, where customer safety represents a principal concern. In such cases, anti-slip grip tapes offer one of the best — and the most durable — solutions.
Grip tape consists of a highly gritty surface backed with an industrial strength adhesive — one that is more than capable of withstanding the abuses of daily foot traffic and inclement weather alike. Better yet, you can order it in all manner of high contrast colors, allowing it to function as a helpful visual cue as well.
Sealing concrete remains the best way to ensure a long and damage free lifespan. So long as you plan carefully, you can enjoy the benefits of sealers without sacrificing any of your surface's traction. For more information about concrete and concrete sealing strategies, feel free to contact the experts at Black Jack Asphalt and Concrete.