Silane / Siloxane Water Repellents
High Performance Silane / Siloxane Water Repellents
One month ago, I walked into a national chain discount store. Coming out of the exit door was a woman with a 5 gallon can of a highly advertised masonry sealer in her shopping cart. My gut instinct told me that she was probably buying it to spray on her brick walls or concrete driveway. I just didn't get the feeling that she worked at a testing laboratory. Anyway, what a shame. The product she purchased was stearate-based. That means the main component of the product is very likely animal fat. These products and silicone based sealers are actually film forming sealants. They are just about the worst thing you could ever put on your brick or masonry surfaces - especially if you live in a climate that experiences freezing temperatures.
Film forming sealants do just that - they form a film on the surface of your masonry. It is a clear film that can sometimes turn cloudy. The film can also block water vapor from escaping to the atmosphere. If water vapor works its way to the surface of masonry, collects and then freezes, you can suffer spalling, flaking and other surface deterioration.
The better way to treat masonry is to apply penetrating water repellents. These products contain special chemicals called silanes and siloxanes and/or a blend of the two chemicals. These nifty chemicals partially block the capillaries in brick, concrete and mortar. The partially blocked spaces then actually repel water instead of allowing it to enter the masonry. Since the passageways are not entirely blocked, they allow water vapor to readily escape to the atmosphere.
I have listed a few companies that make high performance silane and/or siloxane water repellents. There are undoubtedly twice as many as I have listed ... maybe more. Many if not all of these products are sold exclusively at brickyards or specialty building supply stores that sell to bricklayers or concrete contractors. You can find these stores by looking in your Yellow Pages. Look under "Building Supplies" or "Brick." One of the companies below not only sells to these specialty stores but also sells directly to homeowners. They ship the product directly to your front door via UPS. Call Saver Systems listed below and see real customer service in action! Ask for Masonry Saver.
Many of the brick and masonry sealers have to be applied in favorable weather conditions. Most are temperature sensitive. That means the air and surface temperature must not be below a certain minimum temperature. Read the instructions carefully!
- Measuring Water Penetration
by Kim Basham & John Meredith
Masonry Construction November 1995
(This article is available in PDF format for free downloading from the Masonry Construction web site!)
- Reducing Water Permeance in Masonry Walls and Chimneys
Sweeping April / May 1994