Hardeners and Densifiers
Floor coatings are often a necessity in both residential and commercial settings. They provide a layer of protection against wear and tear and look great while doing it. When it comes to floor coatings, there are two main categories: Concrete Hardeners and Concrete Densifiers. While both do similar things, they each have their unique benefits. Let's look at what each one does and when you might want to use them!
Hardeners and Densifiers
What Is a Concrete Hardener?A hardener is a material used to increase the hardness of another material. Concrete hardeners are often used in coatings and adhesives to improve the durability and strength of the finished product. In some cases, hardeners can also improve the resistance of a material to wear or abrasion. Hardeners are typically added to less porous materials in small amounts, and they can have a significant impact on the properties of the finished product.
There are many different types of concrete hardeners available, and each has its advantages for specific applications. Selecting the correct type of hardener for a particular application can be challenging. Still, it is essential to choose a hardener that will provide the desired properties for the finished product.
There are four basic types of hardeners, and all of them are silicates. Magnesium fluorosilicates have been in use since the early 1900s. Sodium silicates were invented in the 1930s. Years later, Potassium silicates became popular, and then in the 1990s, lithium silicates were invented.
Silicates, in general, are very effective hardeners, and often act as densifiers as well. When applied to cementitious materials, silicates mineralize and bind with existing silicates in the host material, becoming an integral part of the substrate. This differentiates them from other surface treatments that simply form a film on top of the concrete.
Silicates are also not subject to carbonation, so they have anti-corrosive properties and inhibit bacterial growth as well.
What Is a Concrete Densifier?Densifiers are materials that are added to other materials to increase their density. They can be either solid or liquid, and they are often added in powder form. A densifier, by definition, is used to fill the porous gaps in a material, making that material stronger or more resistant to weathering.
Porosity is defined as the void space in a material. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the total volume of the material. For example, if a rock has a porosity of 20%, that means that 20% of its total volume is made up of empty space.
There are two types of porosity: primary and secondary. Primary porosity is created when a material is first formed, such as when rocks are formed from lava or sediment. Secondary porosity is made after the material has been developed, such as when cracks form in rocks due to weathering or when plant roots create pores.
Concrete densifiers and concrete hardeners are an essential part of the concrete finishing process. They help increase the durability and strength of concrete while also reducing porosity. This means that concrete surfaces will be less likely to suffer from water damage, staining, or other types of wear and tear.
Benefits Of Using Densifiers and Hardeners
Concrete densifiers work by filling in concrete pores, making them denser and less likely to absorb liquids. Hardeners do this by creating a more rigid surface on top of the concrete, which helps to protect it from wear and tear.
The benefits of using concrete densifiers and concrete hardeners include:
- Increased durability and strength: Densifiers and hardeners help to make concrete surfaces more durable and robust, which means that they will be less likely to suffer from damage or wear and tear over time.
- Reduced porosity: Densifiers and hardeners help reduce the porosity of concrete surfaces, making them less likely to absorb liquids, which can cause staining or water damage.
- Improved appearance: The use of densifiers and hardeners can also help improve the appearance of concrete surfaces. They make the surface smoother and more consistent, giving it a more finished look.
- Easy to use: Densifiers and hardeners are products that can be added to concrete during the finishing process, making them convenient and easy to apply without making any special preparations.
- Cost-effective: Densifiers and hardeners are cost-effective products that can help to improve the overall quality of concrete surfaces, making them an excellent choice for commercial and residential applications.
Keep in mind that the addition of hardeners and densifiers work very well on concrete with a good mix design that was properly placed, finished, and cured. They are not a cure-all for problematic slabs with remedial surface defects, or chronic dusting and chalking issues.
Do I Need a Hardener or Densifier?When it comes to choosing a hardener or densifier for your concrete, there are a few things you need to take into account:
The first is the type of concrete you have. If you have very porous concrete, you will need a densifier. (To test for porosity, simply place a small amount of water on your material and see if it soaks in quickly or sits on the surface.) A densifier will fill in the pores of the concrete and make it denser. This is important because it will make the concrete more robust and more durable. If you have less porous concrete, then you can use a hardener. A hardener will not fill in the pores of the concrete, but it will make the surface harder. This is important for protecting the concrete from wear and tear.
The second thing you need to consider is the climate. If you live in an area with a lot of humidity, then you will need to use a densifier. A densifier will help to prevent the concrete from cracking and crumbling in humid conditions. If you live in an area with little humidity, you can use a hardener. A hardener will not protect the concrete from cracking and crumbling in humid conditions.
The third thing you need to consider is the amount of traffic your concrete will see. If you have a lot of foot traffic, you will need to use a densifier. A densifier will help to prevent the concrete from wearing down too quickly. If you have very little foot traffic, then you can use a hardener. A hardener will not protect the concrete from wear and tear in high traffic areas.
When preparing to use concrete hardeners or densifiers, you will need the appropriate equipment such as sprayers, squeegees, eye protection, mops, brooms, clean-up rags, respirators, etc.
While both concrete hardeners and concrete densifiers have their own unique benefits depending on the material you’re working with. If you're unsure about whether or not you need a hardener or densifier, don't hesitate to contact us today. We would be happy to help you explore your options and find the perfect solution and supplier for enhancing your concrete surface.