I have developed a healthy respect for the amount of damage sun and water can do to building materials over a short period of time. Even the great Pyramids constructed of solid, quarried stone have fallen prey to the constant barrage of wind, rain and ultra-violet light.
So if you want to protect the masonry on your home or business and shield yourself from the expensive damage these natural forces can cause, read these tips. They will help you to decide if sealing your masonry is a prudent choice.
What is a sealer? – Many contractors associate the term water proofing with the term water sealer which can be a bit deceptive. Waterproofing requires a product that produces an impenetrable membrane to keep water out, almost like a plastic swimming pool liner keeps the water in the pool.
Water sealer on the other hand, is generally a breathable product that absorbs into the pores of the masonry material and helps to deflect wind driven rain from entering into the wall in large quantities.
Do you need to have your masonry sealed? – This is a question with which many people will disagree. What I can tell you from 35 years of field experience is this; sealers work. I believe they are cheap insurance when you consider the cost of masonry repair by a knowledgeable company.
How do I know if I need sealer on my bricks? - This is a very good question and I will attempt to answer it as easily as possible. Seal all your masonry work especially, when it is new. By applying sealer to new masonry you in effect prolong the state of newness. It will also increase the time between applications to anywhere from 5 – 10 years, give or take and depending on the quality of the sealer used.
Older masonry should be sealer at least every 5 years after all repairs have been undertaken to address any damage or leak issues.
What type of sealer should I apply? – Honestly, there are so many new products entering the market today it will make your head spin. I tend to shy away from new products anymore because the hype has become so bad and the reliability of the sales information so poor. So I use a silane/siloxane combination that has given me excellent results for many years.
I’m not really sure any company could convince me to change unless the quality of the product was the same for substantially less money or a new product had been developed with proven long term durability. I don’t see either one of those things happening in the near future.
I would never buy a product like this from one of the box stores. Their business model is to sell cheap so they have to make it cheap. There may be some products that you can buy at these stores that will work, if you really understand what you are buying and know the application but with masonry sealers, I rely on trusted, old reliable brands.
Further Suggestions – If you feel like finding the right sealer and applying it properly is beyond your scope of weekend work you may wish to contact your local masonry repair expert. Inquire into the sealers that he carries and ask for his advice and estimate for sealing your masonry.