3 Types Of Exterior Concrete Coating

Do you have exterior concrete elements on your building that are exposed to the elements? Do you worry about your sidewalk, driveway, or loading docks cracking and chipping? If so, you may want to protect them with a concrete coating. A concrete coating is a material that's applied on top of concrete to protect it from extreme weather, moisture, and even chemicals. Some coatings simply provide protection. Others can offer aesthetic value. Picking the right one depends on your priorities and budget. Here are four of the most popular types of exterior concrete coating:

Penetrating sealers. A penetrating sealer does exactly what its name implies. It gets deep into the concrete to form a sealant barrier against moisture, deicers, and other harmful chemicals. They can also protect against extreme heat and cold, as well as sunlight. Sealers are transparent, so they don't alter the appearance of the concrete or offer any kind of aesthetic value. They're available at most hardware stores and are easy to apply. If you're strictly worried about protection, a sealer could be a good choice. Penetrating sealers are one of the least expensive concrete coatings available.

Acrylic sealers. Unlike a penetrating sealer, an acrylic sealer doesn't go into the concrete. Rather, it works at the surface level. You apply the sealer over the top of the concrete and it forms a barrier against moisture, chemicals, and weather. Acrylic sealers aren't usually available in a wide range of colors. However, you can get them in either a matte or glossy finish, so you can change the appearance of the concrete slightly. Since acrylic sealers are on the surface, they usually need to be resealed on a regular basis.

Polyurethane. These coatings are among the most durable available. They not only protect against the elements and chemicals, but they also protect against high levels of foot and motor traffic. You'll need to apply a layer of concrete primer before you apply the polyurethane coating. Given it's durability, it doesn't require as much maintenance as acrylic sealers. However, you may want to reseal it every few years to maintain a nice appearance. You can also mix various pigments into the polyurethane to come up with a custom color.

Concrete overlays. This is a very simple, but effective, solution for damaged concrete. An overlay is simply a thin layer of concrete that's added over your cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged concrete. It can then be further protected with an additional coating. As an added bonus, you can have the overlay stamped or stenciled to give it a custom appearance.

Talk to you concrete contractor about protecting your exterior features. He or she can recommend options to keep your concrete in great shape.