The fall and winter seasons are prime time for rain and snow. When you have concrete surfaces on your property, such as patios, driveways and sidewalks, they need to be weatherproofed before the colder seasons. This way, when rain or snow falls, your concrete is protected. Over time, moisture can lead to issues within the concrete that can cause buckling or cracking. With proper weatherproofing, such problems can be avoided.
So, when is a good time to weatherproof your concrete? Is waiting until the fall too late? In general, yes. You want to avoid trying to weatherproof concrete when the temperatures drop. If applied during lower temperatures, the sealant will not adhere correctly and your work will be for naught.
Colder Temperature Application
If you are like most people, the year has gotten away from you and weatherproofing just didn’t get done before the colder temperatures arrived. You can still add a sealant to your concrete in the fall and winter, but the temperatures must be at a certain degree point.
In general, 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the minimum temperature for ambient air and the surface of your concrete to apply a sealer and weatherproof coating. The sealer or coating you use should have a minimum film-forming temperature also known as MFT. Once the temperature falls below this point, the sealant will not cross-link and the product will not come together in the right manner.
If concrete shows signs of white dusting, delaminating or hazing in the future after a sealant application, then the proper temperature was not met.
If you are going to go ahead and install a sealant during the colder seasons, you must get an accurate temperature reading. You can look at the weather report or an outdoor thermometer for the outdoor air temperature but finding the surface temperature of your concrete will prove to be a little more difficult.
Concrete experts recommend using certain tools to find the surface temperature for proper application. An infrared temperature gun can work well when pointed at the concrete to detect the surface temperature setting. If it is above 50 degrees F, then you should be good to go. But, you need to look ahead at the outdoor temperature forecast for the future to ensure your sealant has time to dry before colder weather moves in.
If you are going to complete a waterproofing project in the winter, you might want to use a sealant with a faster solvent. Acetone is considered a quick solvent so using a sealer with acetone will help to see the product dry quicker. In colder temperatures, it is also recommended to spray the sealant to the concrete instead of rolling. Thin coats will also help the product cure faster.
The main idea is to take note of the air and surface temperature. If you have a few days of warmer weather during the fall or winter, the project can be completed. Take care and apply thin coats and you should be successful in sealing your concrete this year.