Curing is one of the most important phases of concrete installation. During the curing phase, water and cement interact to form crystalline structures. The more such structures form, the harder and more damage-resistant the resulting concrete will be. Proper curing also involves limiting the amount of water that evaporates out of the wet concrete.
To promote better curing, many concrete contractors choose to apply what are known as curing compounds. These liquid substances form a layer on top of the concrete and prevent water from escaping out. Other contractors have begun to use a related process known as curing and sealing.
Unfortunately, many home and business owners still don't understand the curing and sealing process. If you would like to learn more about what this exciting new technique can do for your next concrete installation project, read on. This article will outline three of the key advantages presented through the use of cure and seal compounds.
1. Double Duty
As its name would imply, the cure and seal process manages to accomplish two tasks with a single stroke. Like curing compounds, cure and seal compounds promote ideal curing by limiting the amount of evaporation as the concrete dries. In addition, these compounds leave behind a durable shell of sealer on the top of the concrete.
This layer of sealer acts to protect the concrete from stains, water, and physical forms of damage. It presents an impenetrable barrier between the air and the concrete beneath. This helps to ensure that your concrete enjoys as long a lifespan as possible, while also limiting the likelihood of staining and other aesthetic issues.
Traditionally, concrete sealing was its own process. After the concrete had fully cured, contractors would return to apply one or more layers of sealer. The use of cure and seal compounds, on the other hand, eliminates the need to apply a secondary sealer. Instead, both functions can be fulfilled through the application of a single liquid compound.
2. Better Sealing
Using separate curing compounds and sealers presents drawbacks aside from the need for repeat applications. Those two substances work in very different ways - ways that don't always want to cooperate. Even after a concrete surface has fully cured, any curing compounds used will linger in the top layers of concrete.
This lingering curing compound can make it hard for the sealer to correctly adhere to the concrete. Therefore, contractors must be sure that no curing compound remains at all. This generally requires that the surface be thoroughly cleaned in order to remove all traces of the curing compound. Only at that point can the sealer be installed.
Those who apply sealer without due precautions often end up with a flaking or peeling layer of sealer. Not only does this present a visual nuisance, but it also compromises the sealer's ability to truly protect your concrete. Using a curing and sealing compound, by contrast, ensures optimal results with minimal labor.
3. Lower Cost
Cure and seal compounds tend to carry a lower overall cost when compared to the use of separate curing and sealing compounds. A cure and seal compound delivers all the same benefits of traditional curing compounds, while also giving you the benefit of sealing at little extra cost.
Cure and seal compounds also save you money by reducing the amount of labor required. Your contractor won't have to return to prepare and seal your concrete. Instead, the cure and seal compound will ensure that your concrete dries with a hardened shell of sealer already in place.
For more information about whether curing and sealing would be a good option for your next concrete project, feel free to contact our concrete pros at Central Carolina Concrete.