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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.