Concrete sealants to the rescue

Concrete sealant: Problem solver for tough jobs

Many DIYers have to deal with cracked concrete from time to time. Concrete sealant will often do the trick, faster and cheaper than other methods. Get the details here, then get to work!

What you should know about concrete sealants

Concrete caulk sealants are a quick and inexpensive solution to many cracks, gaps and other minor concrete and masonry surface damage. Patios, sidewalks and garage floors are all subject to cracks because concrete is very hard but won’t flex.

It’s important to fill these cracks with a sealer for many reasons.

First of all, cracks allow water to get in. Whatever is underneath the concrete surface will be slowly washing away. If you live in a climate where freezing temperatures occur, this is even more of an issue. When water freezes inside those gaps, it will expand and crack the concrete further, leading to more damage and possible dangers from tripping or being struck by falling pieces of concrete. In our vast warmer regions, water trapped in cracks and gaps may lead to mould, unpleasant smells, and other problems. Not to mention creating possible living space for unwanted critters.

In addition, cracks are unsightly. Since they can easily be filled with concrete caulk sealant, why not repair them?

Types of repairs for concrete joint sealant

Sealants for concrete work great for cracks in foundations, basement walls, garage floors, and exterior masonry walls such as brick or stone. The key is making sure you use the right product. Always read the label or talk to the manufacturer to ensure compatibility.

If the repair is to be made to a floor, sidewalk, or patio, the concrete caulk you use will have to hold up to the wear and tear of foot traffic.

Easy application of concrete joint sealer

Here is a quick guide to making your concrete caulk job a success:

  1. Clean the surface of dirt, grease, wax, or any other materials that might impair adhesion. For very wide gaps, it may be necessary to put a backer rod, stones, or some other dense material in the gap—but below the surface—before applying the concrete sealant. Use gloves and safety glasses if needed to prevent getting sand or dust in your eyes.
  2. If your concrete caulk requires a primer, apply it now and allow to dry before proceeding.
  3. Cut the nozzle of the caulk tube to the desired size and angle. Don’t forget to puncture the foil seal, if needed.
  4. Apply the sealant in an even bead. Smooth it out with your finger or a caulking tool.
  5. Clean up your tools and any excess caulk according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cleaning up after using concrete sealant is a breeze. Wipe away any excess with a damp rag or sponge. If it is allowed to dry, you will have to scrape it away or sand it.

Concrete caulk or epoxy?

Some concrete damage goes further than just a crack. For instance, if you have a metal handrail set into concrete and it’s coming loose, concrete caulk will likely not be strong enough to make it safe again.

This is where epoxy can help you. Epoxy is a two-part adhesive that, once mixed, has limited work time but then sets as an extremely hard adhesive. It is perfect for those spots which need to be firmed up or wherever a durable repair is called for.

It is important to choose an epoxy that will bond to both materials, such as concrete and iron in the example above. Many epoxies can also be tinted to match the colour of the surrounding materials, making for a more attractive repair.

We suggest Loctite Epoxy Metal/Concrete. It comes in a convenient double syringe so you can dispense the two components onto a disposable surface for mixing. This material will bond to metal, concrete, glass, ceramics, and wood. It will work for interior and exterior projects and hardens in 5 to 12 minutes for a lightning-fast repair.

Need a super-fast drying epoxy for a smaller repair? Try Loctite Epoxy Instant Mix 1 Minute. This amazing formulation starts to set in just 1 minute and has a nozzle that mixes the two components as they are dispensed. There is no need to mix it separately; it can be applied right to the repair site. Of course, this epoxy also bonds to concrete and stone as well as many other materials.