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  • is concrete supposed to breathe?

    Is a concrete slab (like in a basement) supposed to "breathe"? I have been reading online about hydrostatic pressure, capillary action, etc. If one seals their basement floor, is it good to block the transmission of water vaopur, or should the sealer allow the concrete to naturally let water vaopur move from under the slab?

  • #2
    Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

    I know concrete breathes, it is porous. Is the sealer supposed to breathe? That I cannot answer, but my guess that a sealer is suppsed to seal, hence why its called sealer and not breather. You technically should not seal concrete or apply any sort of paint if it fails the piece of plastic overnight test. You put a 2x2 piece of plastic down, come back a day later, if the concrete is "wet", your product will not adhere properly.

    I would suggest researching the various floor epoxies and contact directly their customer service folks and ask them for advice. This will get you started in the right direction. Search on Google as well, there will be TONS of advice on there of other people who have done it wrong.
    We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

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    • #3
      Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

      Concrete does not have to breathe. I take it this question is also related to your previous thread. If you seal your concrete floor you have more moisture on the floor, because the floor is cooler than the humid air & the water in the air will condense on the floor. Since the floor is sealed the concrete cannot absorb the moisture. I would try a bigger dehumidifier & get some air movement in your basement.

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      • #4
        Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

        To answer in one word NO.

        Concrete retains moisture and actually wicks moisture from ground soil to its surface. Its the number one reason wood floors fail. The installers, lacking knowledge of this, don't install an epoxy sealer on the floor first. Just went through the lengthy explanation of this with one of my neighbors who installed $10,000 in wood flooring. At first they were going to buy the material wholesale, then get there "over the border - handy man" to install it. I finally convinced them to use my flooring contractor buddy to do the install. He epoxy coated the floor at a $1.00 per sq ft. Had they not done this there $14.00 per sq ft hard wood floor would have lasted only a couple of years, according to the floor guy.

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        • #5
          Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

          watersurgeon: thanks for the info. Can you give me a suggestion on what epoxy coating to look into?

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          • #6
            Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

            Originally posted by franklin pug View Post
            watersurgeon: thanks for the info. Can you give me a suggestion on what epoxy coating to look into?

            Here is one product by Bostik, its a Urethane.

            http://webapps.easy2.com/cm2/flash/g...ge_id=35749588

            The question that you need to answer before you use any sealer is; What do you plan on putting on top of the concrete once you seal it? Wood flooring will require a specific type of sealer so that the floor glue can set to it. Carpet something else. etc....
            Last edited by Watersurgeon; 08-18-2011, 03:52 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?


              Watersurgeon....Hope you can help me also. The info you said: "
              Here is one product by Bostik, its a Urethane.

              http://webapps.easy2.com/cm2/flash/g...ge_id=35749588

              This sounds like it is more for a wood over concrete applicatioin than what advice I need.

              A little background. I have a "below grade" basement work shop. It was a family room added after the main house was built. It is a 26' X 26' three side addition, hence my workshop below it. After moving in 16 years ago, the first thing I did in building my workshop was to etch and clean the concrete floor for painting. Now 16 years later, 35% to 40% of the floor's paint is flaking. It seems like that during the colder months, part of the floor wicks moisture when my dehumidifier is not effective below 60°.

              Do you think that this product will help with my situation as I would like to redo the painting of my floor?

              Ron

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              • #8
                Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

                Originally posted by lreops View Post

                Watersurgeon....Hope you can help me also. The info you said: "
                Here is one product by Bostik, its a Urethane.

                http://webapps.easy2.com/cm2/flash/g...ge_id=35749588

                This sounds like it is more for a wood over concrete applicatioin than what advice I need.

                A little background. I have a "below grade" basement work shop. It was a family room added after the main house was built. It is a 26' X 26' three side addition, hence my workshop below it. After moving in 16 years ago, the first thing I did in building my workshop was to etch and clean the concrete floor for painting. Now 16 years later, 35% to 40% of the floor's paint is flaking. It seems like that during the colder months, part of the floor wicks moisture when my dehumidifier is not effective below 60°.

                Do you think that this product will help with my situation as I would like to redo the painting of my floor?

                Ron
                If I was in your shoes I would go to HD and buy a garage floor seal kit. Thats the two part epoxy with the decorative flakes you throw on as it cures. Of course scrap off all the old paint, check with some of your local HD rentals or local equipment rentals and see if they have a concrete grinder.

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                • #9
                  Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

                  Originally posted by Watersurgeon View Post
                  Here is one product by Bostik, its a Urethane.

                  Bostik - Bostik MVP4 Moisture Vapor Protection Product Demo

                  The question that you need to answer before you use any sealer is; What do you plan on putting on top of the concrete once you seal it? Wood flooring will require a specific type of sealer so that the floor glue can set to it. Carpet something else. etc....
                  I would be happy to leave the epoxy/sealant as the floor finish for a few years. I will probably put a subfloor on top of it in the distant future so I can keep my options open.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

                    Originally posted by Watersurgeon View Post
                    If I was in your shoes I would go to HD and buy a garage floor seal kit. Thats the two part epoxy with the decorative flakes you throw on as it cures. Of course scrap off all the old paint, check with some of your local HD rentals or local equipment rentals and see if they have a concrete grinder.
                    I would use a belt sander & hook up a shop vac to the dust port. If you use a grinder you will fill that 26x 26 room with dust in a minute.

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                    • #11
                      Re: is concrete supposed to breathe?

                      Originally posted by MR.FUDD View Post
                      I would use a belt sander & hook up a shop vac to the dust port. If you use a grinder you will fill that 26x 26 room with dust in a minute.
                      I just did two houses a while back on the same day with commercial concrete grinder. I hooked up our large Ridgid Shop vac to the outlet port, installed a Hepa Filter, and had virtually no dust at all. We did have to replace the Hepa a few times, (we anticipated this and picked up extras) The only complaint was the exhaust from the 10hp engine. Solved that by breaking out the 42" floor fans, and wearing one of our full face mask respirators.

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