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Subject: Sealing cement

Sealing cement

From: Geoffrey I. Brown <gibrown>
Date: Monday, December 11, 1995
Michael McColgin <mimccol [at] dlapr__lib__az__us> writes

>A new museum has a huge storage area that's excellent in every way
>*except* for the cement slab.  The builder says it may take 2 years
>for the cement to cure.  The odor is overwhelming and the area is
>currently used for storing both artifact and photograph collections.

There are many types of coatings or sealers that are available for
concrete floors and most can be applied after an initial 30 days of
aging of the concrete.  The simplest and least disruptive are the
mop-on acrylic emulsion sealers which are often a standard material
for institutional custodial people.  These dry quickly, usually
within an hour or so and have relatively little odor.  They are
usually completely odor-free within two or three days.  They can be
renewed occasionally when worn, or totally stripped to apply
something more durable or permanent.

Epoxies of many sorts are available for creating very durable
permanent floor finishes.  Some give of highly toxic vapors during
application and are very expensive to apply.  Others are less
problematic and cure enough to use within 24 hours.

Various sorts of paints can be used, but these have limited
durability and require several days to cure adequately to use.

New concrete should have relatively little odor unless organic
additives have been used.  Beyond the odor, however, I would be
concerned about the effect of alkaline volatiles on the materials
stored in the space.

Geoffrey Brown
Curator of Conservation
Kelsey Museum
University of Michigan

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:49
                Distributed: Thursday, December 14, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-49-003
Received on Monday, 11 December, 1995

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