Working with Concrete, Masonry, & Stone
White Mountain™ products are specifically designed to work together to preserve, protect, and restore the beauty of concrete, masonry, and stone. We offer exceptional cleaning products, visually enhancing products, as well as products for general maintenance in order to keep your concrete or stone as beautiful as the day it was installed.
If you are still not sure about which products to use, read below for some great information on cleaning, sealing, and maintaining concrete, stone, pavers, and masonry.
SEALING CONCRETE, STONE AND MASONRY
The reason for sealing concrete and masonry surfaces is based primarily on the type of protection needed. The table below gives you some examples. Generally, penetrating sealers are extremely efficient against water penetration with the exception of flouro-polymers, which also block out grease and oil. None of these products visually changes the surface appearance.
In contrast, film-forming sealers, such as acrylics, urethanes, and epoxies, form a protective film on the concrete, masonry, or stone surface. Urethanes and epoxies are extremely expensive, difficult to apply, and urethanes in general have a tendency to yellow outdoors. For this reason, and the all around benefits they offer, most people choose acrylics as the surface sealer of choice.
The primary benefit of solvent-based acrylic sealers is appearance enhancement. A deep, rich “wet look” brings out the natural vivid colors of colored concrete, stone, pavers or exposed aggregate, while providing superior protection with a high gloss finish. (Product Example: White Mountain Wet Look OX™ and Wet Look SC™).
WATER BASED ACRYLICS: Water-based acrylics are the best all-purpose protection available. They offer color enhancement (however, less gloss than the solvent-based version), last much longer outdoors, and have excellent resistance to UV degradation and foot traffic abrasion. The least expensive of all sealers, water-based acrylics are also extremely effective at protecting against oil, grease, dirt, and water intrusion. These products are non-flammable, biodegradable and extremely easy to apply and clean up. (Product Example: White Mountain Seal-Lock™ includes sand stabilizer for interlocking pavers, and White Mountain Crystal-Seal™ an all purpose sealer shown to the left.)
Click here for a PDF version of SEALING CONCRETE, STONE, & MASONRY
CLEANING CONCRETE AND MASONRY SURFACES
To remove and clean off oil, grease, all around dirt and grime, and tire marks, use alkaline high pH cleaners. (Product Example: White Mountain Jobsite Cleaner™).
Click here for a PDF version of CLEANING CONCRETE & MASONRY SURFACES
10 STEPS FOR PROPERLY STAINED & MAINTAINED CONCRETE FLOORS
Whether your concrete has an old waxy residue from prior protection attempts, emerging efflorescence, or just dirt and grime from everyday use, we have solutions for cleaning, staining, sealing, and maintaining concrete. To ensure the best performance of your decorative concrete, click here for a PDF version of PROPERLY STAINED & MAINTAINED CONCRETE FLOORS.
MAINTAINING INTERLOCKING PAVERS
Interlocking pavers can produce the most beautiful, functional and long lasting pavement system ever developed. However, there are some situations where pavers do require more than minimal care.
New pavers should be sealed and protected with Seal-Lock™ or Wet-Look OX™, IF:
- Food will be prepared, served, or eaten over the paver surface (food oils and grease will stain)
- Autos or other vehicles are parked on the paver surface (oil drips and radiator rust will stain)
- Pavers will be periodically cleaned with pressure washers, street cleaning machines, leaf blowers, or high-pressure garden hoses
- Paver installation is in a high visibility area where a quality appearance is necessary!
Wet Look OX™ is a solvent based acrylic sealer that is extremely impressive for color evening and enhancement (deep high gloss appearance). Seal-Lock™ is the most effective against oil and grease stains (medium gloss, satin finish). It is the only water-based micro-emulsion acrylic available for paver use.
Seal-Lock™ and Wet-Look OX™ are also extremely effective joint sand stabilizers that lock joint sand in place, reduce weed growth and block out water to reduce freeze-thaw movement. Joint sand stabilization is extremely important to assure the structural integrity of the finished installation.
Click here for more information on cleaning, protecting and maintaining your pavers.
HOW TO DEAL WITH EFFLORESCENCE
Since it is naturally occurring, efflorescence is unavoidable with most concrete. We hear more about efflorescence related issues due to the recent popularity of stained concrete floors. As the trend of exposed concrete grows, the industry is struggling with the problem of unsightly efflorescence, especially when it becomes trapped beneath a film forming sealer. Although exterior decorative concrete is also susceptible to the nuisance of efflorescence, interior floors pose a greater challenge and are the focus of this discussion.
The following questions can provide insight into whether a job has a high potential for an efflorescence problem in the future.
Are there signs of efflorescence now?
Is the property properly drained?
Does surface water run towards the foundation?
Is there a French drain system?
How old is the slab; what time of year was it poured?
Was the concrete placed on a saturated sub grade?
Was the concrete placed directly on a vapor retarder?
Was a granular material placed over the vapor retarder (vapor barrier) and was the base saturated?
If a vapor retarder was used, was it carefully taped at penetrations, around the plumbing, for instance?
Did the mix design include fly ash?
Was a waterproofing admixture used?
Was calcium chloride used?
How much “water of convenience” was added to the concrete?
Was a curing compound or liquid densifier applied?
Answers to these questions can give a decorative contractor a heads up before wading into a project completely uninformed and unprepared.