When and how to coat concrete driveway


We finally got out driveway finished! Woohoo! soo...I'm looking for info on coating it. What kinds of coatings are available? I'm mostly interesting in prolonging the life of the driveway. I've seen concrete here partially exposed to the rain, and the part exposed to the rain eventually erodes. I'd like to prevent that if possible.
How long after pouring the concrete do I have to wait before coating it? I've not found a lot of information on this subject, any good sites or resources that you would recommend?
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On Tue, 01 May 2007 19:47:45 -0700, Ook wrote:

Wait a couple weeks then use Thompson's Water seal. There are more expensive sealants but they are basically the same base. My drive has been Thompson sealed for going on 15 years and looks like new.
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Most of the sidewalks in town are 5 to 75 years old and they are still waiting to coat them. I'd wait that long too.
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most sidewalks don't get 4000 pounds at a time on them and layers of salt in the winter.
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Steve Barker




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Most of the sidewalks where I live are not that old, and are in very poor condition. It rains a lot here, and the rain appears to erode the concrete. This is especially noticeable in places where part of the concrete is sheltered from the rain. The part that doesn't get rain has an almost new appearance. The part that has been rained on looks like the cement dissolved, exposing the rocks/pebbles that was mixed into it. In some places this is severe - my old driveway was very badly eroded. But any cement around here that has been around for a while seems to do this.
Maybe I should just dump some oil on it, and let that protect it from rain? :-)
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Welcome to acid rain.
CWM
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Deterioration of the surface is a bit more complex than simple freeze-thaw-salt exposure. Over-troweling to produce a super-smooth surface can produce a really inferior surface with very poor weathering properties, i.e.
http://www.tpub.com/content/construction/14043/css/14043_199.htm
". . .Begin floating immediately after screeding while the concrete is still plastic and workable. However, do not overwork the concrete while it is still plastic because you may bring an excess of water and paste to the surface. This fine material forms a thin, weak layer that will scale or quickly wear off under use. . ."
I would avoid oil. You want to dissolve the waterproofing agent in paint thinner. By the time you paid for the oil and thinner, you would be approaching the cost of a good acrylic-silicone based waterproofer but self-formulating an inferior product.
Jason
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penetrating-type waterproofing sealer just about anytime. There are waterproofing coatings which can be applied the same day the concrete is poured. In fact, that's how they lay down premium bridge decks which represent about the most difficult applications for concrete in a roadway.
I would stay away from Thompsons. It's one of the most cheaply made but expensively advertised versions around. From what I've read about it, it gets most of its protective effects from the wax dissolved in the paint thinner.
I favor the silicone-based, acrylic-based products.
I agree with your concerns. When I spent some time working for a bridge-deck contractor, they kept comparing concrete to sugar cubes, i.e. porous and easily damaged by water. If you want to keep an attractive surface under freeze-thaw conditions, you have to seal those pores.
-Jason
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<snip>

Around here it rains a lot. Most of the year. And concrete seems to slowly dissolve just like a sugar cube would. When I lived in Las Vegas, you would find 50 year old concrete that looked as clean and solid as they day it was poured. Very little rain, dry compact foundations so it doesn't settle - the stuff lasts forever.
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Ook wrote:

I would not bother with anything unless you live in a snow area where salt can be a problem. If that is the case I would wait until fall and then use a water repellent type product to keep the salt out of the concrete. Salt is most damaging to fresh concrete so you are lucky yours will have time to cure well before winter. Sealers can help.
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I would recommend whatever's in there. The job and the mixing is already done. Concrete continues to age over its life, so it will cure for 100 years. Adding surface coatings interferes with that process.
You got what you got, and there's nothing you can do about it. If you had wanted color or texture, the time to do it has passed.
I hear Crayola has some awesome new chalk Crayon kits. You could have your kids of neighborhood kids do a new mural every week.
Steve
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Coatings are a pain in the ass. The best coatings will only last a year at best with severe conditions. They are expensive and messy. I would have used a 4500psi concrete. 4000 pounds driving across it will not be a big deal unless you poured it less than 3" thick with a pea gravel mix and no control joints.
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Concrete is one of the very few things that grows stronger in contact with water. If rain is eating the local concrete, you must be in an industrial area prone to acid rain. Water does not hurt concrete - the Hoover dam hasn't melted just yet!
One of many quality concrete chemical specialty companies is Conspec. It is the brand I use. Look also at Prosoco, WR Grace, Meadows, etc. Here are Conspec's products for what you want to accomplish: http://www.conspecmkt.com/products/weather_proofing.htm Notice that all silanes and siloxanes that I know about need the concrete to be at least 28 days old.
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Lake Mead water tends to be alkaline, where rain water is naturally acidic (pH=5.6, which is why you don't use rain water in fish tanks - it's too acidic). The concrete at Hoover Dam that they have erosion problems with is the part that is exposed to the rain, but it's not that bad since it doesn't rain very much - I know, I used to live about 15 minutes up the road from the dam, and I've been there many times. We used to take the tours back when you could actually take the elevator down into the dam, see the generator rooms, walk out on the bottom platforms, etc. I was there when water was flowing over the spillways on the east side of the dam - something that has not happened for a long long time.
But I digress - rain water is acidic and will naturally erode concrete. I see it everywhere, and it's very noticeable where the concrete is partially protected from the rain.
Tnx for the product referrals - my driveway is about 5 weeks old, so it sounds like we are ready to coat.
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Lake Mead water tends to be alkaline, where rain water is naturally acidic (pH=5.6, which is why you don't use rain water in fish tanks - it's too acidic). The concrete at Hoover Dam that they have erosion problems with is the part that is exposed to the rain, but it's not that bad since it doesn't rain very much - I know, I used to live about 15 minutes up the road from the dam, and I've been there many times. We used to take the tours back when you could actually take the elevator down into the dam, see the generator rooms, walk out on the bottom platforms, etc. I was there when water was flowing over the spillways on the east side of the dam - something that has not happened for a long long time.
But I digress - rain water is acidic and will naturally erode concrete. I see it everywhere, and it's very noticeable where the concrete is partially protected from the rain.
Tnx for the product referrals - my driveway is about 5 weeks old, so it sounds like we are ready to coat.
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