Concrete is chosen for many building applications because it is tough and can withstand a fair bit of punishment from heavy traffic, abrasion, the elements and others force it is required to resist. Even so, this is often not sufficient, and concrete can wear out over time. The lifespan of any concrete surface will depend on its original composition, its use and the degree of maintenance.
You can always prevent concrete floors from wearing out prematurely by the use of hardeners. These are products that increase the density of the concrete and help it to resist the wearing out. Hardeners can protect and preserve flooring by ensuring uniform curing and a sealing process. Concrete hardeners act as transparent and permanent sealers that protect the concrete from damage by contaminants and chemicals. When these liquid concrete hardeners are applied to concrete, they create chemical reactions that penetrate the pores present in the concrete. They can also act as strong adhesives for surface treatments and floor coverings. When used in newly poured concrete, these hardeners prevent the curling of concrete that often distort slabs by bending them upward or downward. To know more about concrete Hardeners, you can check out these professional Warehouse Flooring Contractors in Leeds.
Concrete hardeners can be applied to both newly laid concrete slabs or ones that are existing. Concrete laid in industrial settings, or warehouse buildings, or in other places where it has to face heavy traffic is the right place for concrete hardeners to be used. Concrete is normally long-lasting, but you can further prolong its life with the use of hardeners. The use of these chemicals is only justified if the substrate has been properly laid and gives the concrete, the support that it requires. The concrete also needs to be of a composition that can resist the forces that it is subjected to.
Concrete in floors uses different compositions that then dictate the strength that it can finally achieve. Use may be made of reinforcement or even higher cement quantities. The raw materials that make the concrete must be properly proportioned and used with a low water-cement ratio that still allows the concrete to be worked on. The concrete also needs to be adequately cured till it gains its strength. The aggregate used in the concrete can also vary and will play a part in its wear resistance and strength. Every factor contributes to its durability and before you use hardeners you need to consider all these factors as well as the use that is being made of the floor.
Concrete normally contains calcium carbonate as free lime, and this is a chemical that has no contribution to make to the durability and strength of the concrete. Chemical reactions with cement make concrete hard and this free lime prevents it from reaching every bit of the cement. Concrete also has pores that further add to its weakness. The chemicals in hardeners, when dissolved in water react with this free lime to form C-S-H gel that fills all the pores in the concrete, and this makes it stronger and more wear resistant.
The point of wear in any concrete surface is the zone that is near its surface and approximately 1/8 of an inch deep. It is also a zone that is largely made up of cement paste because of the fine trowelling that concrete goes through for the final finish and level. This is a zone that is subjected to micro-pitting and acts like potholes on a highway. They start at the edge and grow in size till the surface is worn away. It is the free lime that we talked about earlier that is responsible for the micro-pitting.
Chemical hardeners have a rich content of soluble silicates that react with the free lime and produce a denser surface and one that is stronger. These hardeners are chemically active as long as there is moisture present and then when it dries out, they completely turn into a dense and insoluble mineral.
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Time and the method of installation will determine how effective a chemical hardener will be. New concrete needs to be completely cured before a harder is installed. Concrete hardeners can also be sprayed on to concrete but are not likely to be as effective as those that are properly applied with the proper moisture conditions.