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Concrete, answers to your maintenance questions

Published on 25/01/2022
25/01/2022

Concrete maintenance may raise a few questions:
- Is it porous?
- Is it high maintenance?
- Does it stain?
- Should I apply a sealer?
- Can it be damaged or broken?

After more than 11 years spent taming the beast, we have a good grasp on the topic!

Our motto: let’s love concrete for what it is and not try to distort it. Let’s celebrate its unique effects and features! It has so much to offer: warmth, versatility and authenticity.

Is it porous? Our manufacturing process densifies the concrete while minimizing its porosity.

Fundamentally, concrete is a porous material. By contrast, concrete becomes very dense the way we work it. Nevertheless, we see it more like a natural stone, like living matter, as opposed to industrial and synthetic products.

As for porosity (small holes consisting of air bubbles entrapped in concrete), we ensure it is kept to a minimum in strategic areas. For example, in a washbasin or countertop trough sinks, it is crucial to minimize porosity inside the basin and on the countertop horizontal surface. These measures are intended to facilitate cleaning and maintain excellent sanitary conditions.

For aesthetic reasons, when a piece is extracted from its mould, we let porosity reveal itself on the outer vertical walls of the sink or the countertop with integrated sink. In short, when these effects occur, we welcome them with delight!

The difference between a hybrid polyurethane acrylic sealer and a penetrating sealer? We’ve covered it all!

To better understand the difference between these two types of concrete protection, let’s draw a parallel with varnished floors (hybrid polyurethane acrylic sealer) and oil treated floors (penetrating sealer).

HYBRID POLYURETHANE ACRYLIC SEALER – In certain settings (commercial or institutional), we use a hybrid polyurethane acrylic sealer which does not require any further application. As with varnished wood flooring, this sealer type offers an excellent protection against various chemical liquids and needs no special maintenance. Therefore, this option is often chosen for commercial or institutional projects designed for intensive use. However, it offers a less natural finish than a penetrating sealer. Indeed, a microlayer is noticeable on the concrete surface. This type of sealer is also more prone to scratches. And when there is a need for repair, sanding will be harder and you will usually have to perform it on the entire piece.

PENETRATING SEALER – Our favorite, for its natural finish, its resistance to scratches and heat as well as its DYI maintenance, just like an oiled wood floor. In addition, it forms a smooth and natural patina. Its protective layer is practically unnoticeable and its touch, very natural. More subject to marks, but easily restored. In fact, you can do it yourself by sanding it down locally and applying a new coat of sealer. For more details, see the Care and Maintenance – What you need to know section.

 

Maintenance and stains? Concrete is not an inert material, fortunately!

In our workshop, the piece is sealed and protected against common household products. However, acidic and solvent-based or peroxide-based products like those found in drugstores may cause discoloration (slight sealer erosion) on the concrete surface areas they have come in contact with. To fix this, simply reapply some sealer to the localized areas of discolored rings. Please carefully follow the recommendations on the Maintenance sheet provided with your sink.

As a general rule, it is recommended that a full new coat of sealer be applied to the sink once or twice a year to ensure maximum waterproofing of the unit. This is an easy operation that takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Please carefully follow the recommendations on the Maintenance sheet provided with your sink.

The following are two visible signs indicating that the sealer may need to be renewed: 1) lack of water pearl effect; 2) water droplet starting to be absorbed by concrete. (Concrete turns temporarily darker when in contact with liquid).

If an object (e.g. soap dish) is left permanently on the counter and moisture gets trapped for an extended period of time, a ring may form underneath. This ring is actually water vapour that has penetrated the sealer’s waterproof barrier. This absorption is normal and temporary; the ring (a rise due to moisture) will disappear on its own as it dries. No need to reapply sealer in this case.


Breaks, cracks?

Chipping: Concrete is a very durable material, but it can chip if you hit it with a hard object. If this happens, you can sand the chipped area to smooth it out or fill it with a coloured resin. Contact us for further assistance with this repair.

Hairline cracks: Occasionally, hairline cracks may be present on the concrete unit. Hairline cracks are caused by the expansion and shrinkage phases during concrete curing. These microcracks do not cause elements to separate. They are superficial, sometimes visible and generally non-absorbent and barely noticeable to the touch.

Please note that we guarantee our concrete units against structural cracks. More details in the Terms and conditions section.

For more information, please contact us at: 514-886-2444, [email protected]