Masonry Sealer - How To Get The Most For Your Money
So you have decided to have the masonry on your home or business sealed. You like the many benefits that a sealer application will provide and though expensive, you've hired a contractor and are ready to go... now what?
How sealer is applied is as important as which to buy - There are several techniques that contractors use to apply masonry sealers. Some barely mist the surface as they race around the building in a flurry of action, using little material and labor. Others though conscientious, lack the knowledge of this specialized field and fall short and do not provide value for your investment money. There is only one application technique that is the most effective and this technique is called a 'saturation coating'.
Saturation coating = misting coat + flood coat - The goal of a sealer application is to get the highest number of chemical molecules penetrating as deeply as possible into the masonry pores and in a cost effective way. After years of lab research by manufactures and trial and error in field applications by contractors, most of them agree that the 'saturation coating' method provides the most protection, the deepest penetration with the least amount of labor.
Misting coat application - When applying any sealer to vertical surfaces the force of gravity will pull the chemical down as it is applied to the surface of the masonry. So to begin the 'saturation coating' application, the installer will lightly spray atomized sealer across the surface of the masonry beginning from the bottom to the top.
This will help to break the surface tension of the wall and provide a damp surface from which the flood coat will absorb quicker and deeper into the masonry pores. The installer should spray an area large enough that can readily be covered by the flood coat application before it has an opportunity to dry.
Flood coat application - When the installer begins to apply the flood coat application, the pressure in the sprayer should be reduced until the material floods or pours onto the surface of the wall and begins to run down. Beginning at the bottom of the wall, the installer will move horizontally across a 4' - 6' portion of the wall applying the sealer in a back and forth motion.
It is extremely important that the installer watches how far the sealer 'runs' down the wall as it is applied. The goal is to have an 8" - 12" or more, drop line or run down, from the point of application before the sealer is finally absorbed into the wall.
The beauty of this technique is that the flood coat application of sealer remains in constant contact with the surface of the masonry for a longer period of time, allowing the masonry to absorb as much of the chemical as it can during that flooding application thus offering more protection to the wall. The installer continues this process until the job in complete.
Secondary flood coat application - Under certain circumstances a secondary flood coat may be advised. If so, the installer will usually do a large section of the wall with the initial application then before the sealer dries but after some evaporation has occurred, come back and apply the secondary flood coat with the same application technique as the first.
An installer who is experienced will be aware of current weather conditions and watch the wall closely to determine the most opportune time for the second application. This is by far the most effective way to assure the deepest penetration of the sealer chemical into the masonry matrix but of course, the secondary coat is more costly. This is usually only recommended where there are severe conditions of weather and exposure.
Be careful in choosing your contractor - It is unlikely that a typical contractor will know of these techniques. When hiring someone to apply a masonry sealer do not be penny wise and pound foolish. As you can see from this application explanation, a knowledgeable contractor will use more material and spend more time providing a competent service. This will assure you of the best possible installation.
Not only will a competent installation enhance the performance of the sealer, it can and many times will, exceed its' advertised claims! In addition, it may mean longer periods between applications and over all, reduced cost. You as the final consumer of this product will then be happier and no doubt dryer for the experience!