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Need some tips on waterproofing? You've come to the right place.Water repellent coatings can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed on, depending on the size of the surface to be treated. For either water- or solvent-based coating, you will definitely need a paintbrush for painting around the edges (called cutting-in). If you're rolling the coating on, use a synthetic roller cover (use a long-napped one for rough surfaces) and a roller pan. Spraying requires low-pressure (20 psi) spray equipment with a stainless-steel, fan-tip nozzle. You will also need plastic dropcloths to protect adjacent surfaces and landscaping. Be sure to wear eye protection and rubber gloves when applying the product.
When the effects of repeated freezing and thawing start cracking up your concrete, brick, and stone it's time to give them a clear water repellent coating. This will decrease water absorption, which leads to cracking, and keep your surfaces looking sharp. You can buy water repellents in both water- and solvent-based formulations. You may need to apply water-based mixes more often, but not to worry. They are less malodorous (smelly) and are safer both for you and the environment. Because they are thin and nonelastic, neither type of coating will seal cracks in the surface. Here are a few tips on waterproofing to help you get the best possible results waterproofing your masonry surfaces:
• Always test a coating on a small, inconspicuous area before beginning work to make sure that you will be happy with the results. Please note that some water repellents are designed to be applied to specific materials only, so read the product label before you buy.
• Don't use heavy-duty commercial coatings because they leave an undesirable glossy finish.
If you are thinking of covering your concrete garage or basement floors with an epoxy coating, you'd better look before you leap. Epoxy is finicky and won't stick to just any kind of surface. Here are a few things to look out for before you waste time and money:
• If you sometimes see tiny crystals or white powder on your floor, this is moisture migrating through the concrete. This will often ‘pop off' any kind of coating you apply.
• If the paint on your painted floor is peeling off, most likely any epoxy you apply will also peel off.
• If your floor is damp, the air musty, etc. epoxy floor paints will probably not bond very well.
• If your concrete has been treated with some sort of cement sealer (typically a waxy or silicon based sealer) no paint will stick to it.
If your asphalt surface is stable and was installed correctly, it will need to be sealed only occasionally. Sealer comes in 5-gallon cans, enough to cover about 250 square feet. You'll find that older, porous drives will soak up more sealer than newer drives. A good sealing will make gray-looking, dried-out asphalt look better while keeping out water that causes erosion and cracking. Many homeowners mistakenly believe that sealing can take the place of resurfacing. It can't. Resurfacing involves topping an old asphalt drive with at least 2 inches of new material. And no coating can rescue a job that consists of a 1- or 2-inch layer of asphalt applied over loose gravel.
Unfortunately, no repairs are ever really permanent. Waterproofing masonry is no exception. If you use a water repellent coating, you should plan to reapply it every three, five, or seven years, depending on the specific product and the manufacturer's recommendations. Applying water repellant coatings doesn't require any special skills or equipment. Just follow the manufacturer's instructions for handling, application, cleanup, and disposal. You'll be OK.
There comes a time in the life of every asphalt driveway when it needs to get a hot new coat. Over the years, sun, wind, rain, heat, and cold have done their part to transform it from black and beautiful to gray and pitiful. Sometimes, however, you can't tell how far gone your asphalt driveway is just by looking at it. You need to test it. To see whether your blacktop needs resurfacing, pour a bucket of water on it on a hot day while the sun is out. If the surface water evaporates but leaves a dark ring on the blacktop that takes much longer to dry, the water has soaked in and you need to resurface.
So, you've gathered some waterproofing tips and have chosen the waterproof coating that's right for you (hopefully). It's time to roll up your sleeves and put on your coat.
• Applying the Coating: Before you apply water repellent, there's something you should know: Allow the mortar in new masonry walls or freshly placed concrete to cure fully—for at least 28 days—before applying. Make sure your surface is clean and free of any dirt and oils. Otherwise, your coating won't go on right. If you have to do general or spot cleaning, let the surface to dry thoroughly before applying the coating. If there is a nearby air-conditioning unit, turn it off while applying the coating. You don't want fumes getting sucked into the air intake.
• Protect Adjacent Surfaces: Use plastic sheeting to cover windows, doors, and any surfaces you don't want coated; tape in place if necessary. Also cover grass, bushes, and any plants in the work area.
• Cut In at the Edges: Always prepare the water repellent product according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use a brush to paint around the edges of the surface you're protecting. Use long, even strokes that do not overlap too much.
• Start at the Bottom of the Wall. Put your coat on from the bottom up. Dip the roller in the pan and roll upward in a long continuous vertical line. Don't be afraid to saturate the wall. There should be a 6- to 8-inch rundown below the contact point.
• Let the coating soak into the surface for two or three minutes and then saturating the surface again. Once the first coat is dry to the touch, put on a second saturating coat, just like the first.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|