How long will my concrete last with and without waterproofing
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Concrete is the modern-day material of choice when it comes to construction. With skyscrapers, bridges, dams and homes all being built out of the wonder material it begs the question – how long will these things last?
One factor trumps most others when it comes to the longevity of concrete – the sealant. Concrete is a porous material, filled with holes caused by air bubbles formed during the curing process. These pockets serve as the weak point of concrete; they allow moisture in, which can react with impurities in the concrete and cause it to degrade.
Waterproofing concrete with a sealant ensures that almost all moisture is kept out of the material (a good sealant will stop 99% of all moisture). Without the degradation caused by water, concrete can remain strong for decades.
Concrete without waterproofing?
Homeowners can expect that their waterproofed concrete will last between 25 and 50 years, providing that they clean and maintain it as advised (using a power washer a few times a year should suffice). Just by way of comparison, modern concrete skyscrapers are designed to last for 60 years, bridges for 120 years, and dams for 250 years. Again, these numbers rely on a consistent maintenance routine.
If your concrete isn’t sealed however, you can expect it to run into trouble just a few years after it’s been laid. Without a good sealant keeping the moisture out, your concrete will soak in a lot of water. This water can damage the concrete in a variety of ways, including:
Expanding and contracting with the outside temperature, leading to your concrete cracking (particularly in areas prone to frosts and snow).
The creation of rust from the water reacting with impurities or reinforcing metals in the concrete.
Aggregate expansion – water reacting with alkalis present in the concrete.
Bacterial corrosion – water encouraging the development of bacteria that produce sulfuric acid, corroding the concrete.
All of these effects can be linked back to the one cause: water. Without a concrete waterproofer your porous slab is a sitting duck. But with a concrete waterproofer you’ll be able to rely on your concrete staying strong and stable well into the future.