Like any other building, parking decks need to be sealed for protection from the elements. However, special precaution must be taken with these structures, as they endure some extreme conditions that do not. Exposure to pedestrian and vehicular traffic, heavy weight loads, snow plowing, and de-icing means that parking decks need extra protection.
When selecting a sealant, it is important to consider both the adhesion properties and strength of the coating, plus the level of water and chemical resistance. Luckily, when it comes to coatings, there are many different options:
Surface sealers are materials that form a coating or film on the surface of a parking deck. These sealers have the lowest cost of all types (about 50¢ per square foot), but are not suitable for all types of structures. Since surface sealers have a low resistance to abrasion, they should be limited to use on surfaces with pedestrian or low-volume vehicular traffic.
Penetrating sealers are silicone-based water repellents that penetrate into concrete surfaces and form a water-repellent layer to protect the materials of the parking deck. This type of sealer is relatively inexpensive at around $1.00 per square foot, but requires reapplication due to a decrease in effectiveness over time. Penetrating sealers usually last between three and five years before a new application is needed.
Thin Bonded Overlays
Thin bonded overlays consist of rubber-like polymers and a cement and aggregate blend. These overlays will form an extremely hard and waterproof surface, but will not repair or bridge any cracks in the deck. Because the materials used in thin bonded overlays cure fast even low temperatures, they are often used during cold weather. These coatings cost $4 to $6 per square foot, and can last from five to ten years.
Traffic-bearing membranes are liquid sealants made up of polymers. They are a relatively thick material, and very strong. They have high surface hardness, and are very resistant to tearing. Unlike other sealants, they have the ability to bridge moving cracks and can improve surface traction, abrasion resistance and durability. Installation typically costs around $5 to $7 per square foot, and is usually warranted for a five year period. However, with proper maintenance, traffic-bearing membranes can last much longer.
Waterproof sealants are an important part of any parking structure. Though every structure’s needs differ, there is a coating made to fit every type of project. If you are unsure in any way about what type of material would be best to use on your project, it is always best to contact a professional. Waterproofing contractors are experts in deciding which sealants will best serve your project. Whatever your needs in terms of water resistance, durability, and budget, you can rest assured there is a sealant to do the job!