Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Concrete Coating

What Happens When Moisture Gets Into My Concrete?

October 17th, 2023 | 6 min. read

What Happens When Moisture Gets Into My Concrete?

Print/Save as PDF

When you think of concrete, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe the words heavy-duty, strong, hard to break and get through? 

While concrete is one of the strongest construction materials, it is not susceptible to water infiltration. 

If you're considering adding a concrete coating or surfacing over your existing concrete, you need to understand how moisture affects your concrete and anything that goes on top of it. 

For over three decades, Southwest Exteriors has been a trusted name among San Antonio homeowners for over three decades for our expertise in home improvement and exterior renovations.

We understand the unique challenges that San Antonio's climate poses for homeowners.

This will address a common concern shared by many in our community—moisture intrusion into concrete. We'll look at how moisture gets into your concrete, how moisture affects a concrete coating, and much more. 


How Moisture Gets Into Your Concrete

Contrary to popular belief, concrete is not entirely immune to moisture infiltration. The first step to understanding how moisture affects your concrete is knowing where it may come from.

Here's how moisture can find its way into your concrete. 

  • Rain and Watering: One of the first and most obvious ways moisture gets into your concrete is from exposure to rain or frequent watering can lead to the saturation of the concrete surface. Puddles forming on your patio or porch are clear signs of moisture entering the concrete. The longer standing water sits on your concrete, the easier it is to infiltrate the surface. 

  • Groundwater: San Antonio's geology often results in a high water table, especially in areas near rivers. This groundwater can wick up through the concrete from below, causing moisture intrusion into your basement or foundation.

  • High Humidity: San Antonio's warm and humid climate can lead to condensation forming on the concrete surface. In the hot summer months, this condensation can penetrate the surface. 

These three reasons are extremely common in San Antonio and surrounding areas. Excessive rain or watering, groundwater, and humidity are most likely causing moisture in your concrete. 


The Risks and Effects of Moisture in Concrete

Excess moisture within concrete can lead to a chain of effects, including cracking, eroding, and more. 

  • Cracking: In the extreme heat of San Antonio summers, constant exposure to moisture and subsequent drying can result in the concrete developing cracks, jeopardizing its structural integrity far below the surface.

  • Corrosion and Erosion: Along with moisture, harmful substances like salt can enter the concrete. This causes the concrete to corrode and break off. Older concrete can also start to erode from natural elements and everyday wear and tear. 

  • Mold and Mildew: San Antonio's warm and humid climate creates the perfect  for mold and mildew. Excessive moisture creates a favorable environment for these unwelcome guests, causing harm to the concrete surface.

Understanding the effects of excess moisture is important to look out for, especially before starting any concrete resurfacing project. 


The Dos and Don'ts if Your Concrete Has Too Much Moisture

When dealing with excess moisture in concrete, especially in San Antonio's unique climate, it's crucial to follow some essential guidelines. 

Here are some dos and don'ts to follow if your concrete has too much moisture. 

  • Do: Conduct a moisture test. If you plan to invest in a concrete coating, the concrete must have the proper moisture level. Otherwise, the coating will not adhere to the surface properly. This is why a moisture test is essential. 

  • Do: Ensure that your concrete surfaces have adequate drainage systems in place, especially if you live in areas prone to flash floods or heavy rains. This will help prevent excess moisture from accumulating in the future. 

  • Don't: Neglect the problem. San Antonio's climate can be harsh, and moisture-related damage can worsen quickly, resulting in more extensive and costly repairs.

  • Don't: Embark on repairs without a thorough assessment of the concrete's moisture levels. You need solutions that work effectively in their unique conditions. Unaddressed moisture in concrete will affect the success of your project. 

It's important to follow these rules when dealing with moisture in concrete. This will help you avoid these potential issues in the future and keep your concrete long lasting.


How to Remove Excess Moisture from Concrete

To mitigate the challenges posed by excessive moisture in concrete, there are a few solutions. 

  • Surface Drying: San Antonio's scorching sun can be a valuable ally. Use dehumidifiers and fans to expedite the drying of the concrete surface, promoting moisture evaporation. 

  • Sealing: Apply a waterproof sealer to create a barrier against further moisture penetration. This is a smart choice for patios and outdoor surfaces exposed to the elements.

  • Vapor Barriers: Vapor barriers effectively block moisture from rising from the ground. These are typically used by professional installers, especially if moisture levels are too high. 

  • Moisture Mitigation Systems: For homes facing recurrent moisture problems, specialized systems designed to manage and reduce high moisture levels within concrete structures are a reliable solution. 

Whether you want to take preventative action or need to fix your moisture levels fast, consider each of these four ways. When in doubt, consult the advice of a professional coating contractor


How Does High Moisture Affect a Concrete Coating

In the context of concrete coatings, high moisture levels can significantly impact them in several ways. 

  • Adhesion Problems: Moisture can compromise the adhesion of concrete coatings, potentially leading to issues such as peeling or delamination. 

  • Reduced Lifespan: Concrete coatings applied over high moisture in concrete can cause coatings to deteriorate prematurely. This results in losing your investment and having to pay more in the future for a successful coating. 

  • Aesthetic Issues: Moisture-related problems can result in unsightly surface imperfections in your concrete coatings, affecting both the appearance and functionality of the surface. Aesthetics are just as important as function, especially when entertaining guests in their outdoor living spaces.

Before investing hundreds of dollars into a concrete coating, it's essential to find the right company to work with to ensure a successful outcome. 


Maintaining Your Concrete Moisture Levels

Moisture intrusion into concrete is a common concern among many homeowners, especially in unpredictable climates.

Understanding how it occurs, recognizing the risks, and learning effective ways to address the issue are vital steps in preserving your property's value and structural integrity. Taking proactive measures to manage moisture and maintain the resilience of your concrete surfaces is essential.

Proper moisture levels are crucial when investing in a concrete coating. If a coating is installed on top of concrete with too high moisture levels, it will not properly adhere to the surface, causing it to peel and ultimately not last. 

This is why understanding the proper preparation needed for successful concrete coating is important to find the right company to work with. 

So, how are moisture levels, hardness levels, and cracks handled when preparing for a concrete coating? Check out this article that outlines how to properly prepare a concrete surface for a resurfacing coating.