Adobe Masters has been treating homes in Tucson since 1985, using a product called SILOX ADOBE AND RAMMED EARTH WATER REPELLENT. This is a premium water repellent formulated for the unique needs of adobe and is the only water repellent we use on our homes.
Treating your own home can be a daunting task. I will walk you through the steps necessary for a professional, thorough job and share insider tips for making this difficult job easier.
Whatever you do, do not apply any sealer, water-repellent, or any similar product on your adobe that will cause it to “shine like a diamond,” i.e., a “high gloss” product. Allow no contractor to put any type of a product like this on your adobe.
This said, it is important to distinguish between a “high gloss, shine like a diamond” coating and a coating that imparts a slight matte finish. A visible, slight matte or eggshell finish is not destructive to your adobe if this type of finish is chemically formulated to “breathe,” or allow moisture to permeate through the coating. In fact, a bit of a sheen is important in stabilizing and binding up the oftentimes dusty and/or loose sand and clay particles of various types of earth adobes. Again, a slight sheen is not necessarily a cause for alarm and can be a critical component to a water repellent designed for earth products.
What you want to be on the alert for is a sealer or water repellent that is so shiny they are in appearance to high gloss Saltillo tile floors in many southwest hotels and homes. When you encounter this type of a high gloss surface on an adobe wall, red flags are in order.
The reasons for this is because the fierce Tucson sun will attack any type of a shine or coating lying on the surface of your adobes and begin to degrade this material, ultimately turning it into a varnish like color and causing it to crack and peel. I have even seen the sun turn some of these clear, shiny coatings green. Such a thing happened to my home. Before I purchased it, someone had applied a shiny sealer to my adobes and parts of it turned green.
Another problem with “shiny” sealers is that, because this material lies on top of the adobe and puts a visible film over it, this cuts off the ability of the adobe to “breathe.” This effectively traps in any moisture that gets behind the adobe via a crack, or being absorbed from the ground. I went to a home just today and saw this shiny sealer on the customer’s house; large portions of the adobe on his archway was literally peeling off because of the water seeking to escape back out through the adobe was unable to because of the film blocking its exit.
Water creates pressure as it seeks to escape out of the adobe. If that water hits an impermeable barrier (the shiny sealer) on it’s way out, it can “pop off” the first layer of the skin of the adobe. A shiny sealer does more harm than good.
The SILOX ADOBE/RAMMED EARTH WATER REPELLENT successfully blends the need for a stabilizing agent (to bind up the loose and delaminating particles of various earth blocks and rammed earth) with a hydrophobic (“horror of water”) water repellent. You need both to address the unique issues of mud, unfired adobes and rammed earth. Immediately after applying the SILOX on your adobe or rammed earth home, you may notice a slight eggshell or matte finish on the surface of your adobe, particularly in various sunlight or at certain times of the day.
Depending on the side of your home (most notably the south and west ends) and the amount of direct sun your walls receive, this matte finish will soon start to fade until it will no longer be visible. On the north side of your home, this matte finish may never completely disappear because this side of your home is usually protected from most of the sun.
Before you contract out with any company to apply a water-repellent on your home, ask them before you sign the contract or agree to have them seal your house whether or not the water-repellent they will be using will be putting a high gloss on the adobe.
Call Roy Spears at (520) 331-4004 or email him at “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
SILOX ADOBE WATER REPELLENTS
Formulated for the particular needs of all adobe bricks and earth type plasters for exterior use.
Technical Data and General Information Sheet
SILOX Adobe Water Repellent Original (SAWR) (Exterior Use) is a small particle acrylic latex polymer with a methyl potassium siliconate as a vehicle.
This formulation is available to adobe home owners to help solve the damaging effects of water penetrating and damaging their earth and/or clay walls. SAWR methyl potassium siliconate is not only a penetrating product which helps to repel exterior water but there is added acrylic resins that preserves the surface by causing a chemical reaction that solidifies all component products into a cohesive surface tension.
If kept in a closed container and stored at an ambient temperature of 75 degrees F at 50% relative humidity, products shelf life is over two years.
Adobe walls should be clean and free from all contaminants. Head joints and bed joints should be free of any cracks larger than 1/16 ” wide. Sealer will bridge thin cracks 1/16″ wide and less, but larger cracks will allow water to penetrate in. Repair and fill any voids larger than 1/16″ with the same material as the crack or void is in. Do not use any materials different than what the wall is constructed from.
Windows must be properly masked with plastic. Cured Silox may permanently etch glass. Remove all Silox from windows immediately if masking fails using a clean sponge or soft cotton rag with clean water.
Please spend a few minutes viewing the videos at the link here. It will show you exactly how to properly apply the Silox to your adobe walls. Also, there are other videos on this page that will give you some professional tips on masking windows and other tips to make your project easier.
Before beginning project, first apply a test patch, using the recommended coverage rates, to an inconspicuous area of the wall(s) to insure that you will be satisfied with the end results: how it looks on your walls and whether or not you are satisfied with the slight sheen.
Gently stir the water repellent before using or thoroughly shake the bucket.
For best results, use low pressure airless spray equipment, hand pump backpack sprayers, or pump-up garden sprayers. When using spray equipment, hold spray tip approximately 12-18 inches from surface and apply enough material so that SAWR floods the surface by using this method of application for the first coat. Always work from top to bottom of wall in three to four foot sections at a time. Complete and total saturation of the substrate is crucial to insure adequate protection.
Test the Silox in a small, inconspicuous area first prior to doing complete job. This will insure proper results and determine proper coverage and application.
The resins in the Silox may require up to a 72 hour cure window, depending on the outside temperature and humidity. Lower temperatures with high humidity levels may slow down the total cure rate for the Silox. This means, for optimum application conditions, best practice is to spray your adobe walls when no drenching, heavy monsoon downpours that directly pummel the adobe are immediately expected…simple common sense.
A brief, sprinkling rain falling several hours after spraying your walls should not adversely affect long-term performance of the Silox, especially if the outside temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees F. with low humidity. In general, when you are ready to spray your adobe home and/or walls with the Silox, look for a time frame of one to three days after spraying your walls when heavy monsoon rains directly battering the freshly treated walls are not expected.
When first applied, the Silox emulsified resins appear milky white with a slight purplish hue. However, depending on the temperature and humidity of the air and also the substrate, these resins soon coalesce (fuse together) and dry clear and colorless. The milky appearance in hot, dry weather should last no longer than fifteen minutes. Strike out or roll out any obvious drips, runs or puddles after this time. Excess sealer must not be allowed to remain on surface after this time. An application of a second, light (or mist) coat is optional but will provide additional protection (Adobe Masters always applied this optional mist coat to our customers home as an extra layer of protection). Apply this second coat just after the milky white appearance of the first coat has disappeared but before the first coat has a chance to dry. If the first coat dries, the second coat will not penetrate through the first coat. Sealer should dry within 1/2 – two hours of time.
Temperatures must be at least 55° and rising…not falling. Do not apply in temperatures below this. In cold weather, complete your project so that the water repellent has at least two hours to dry before the sun sets. Insure that all product, in cold weather, has been absorbed into the walls and that the milky white appearance has completely disappeared. Failure to follow these cold weather instructions can result in the walls being permanently stained with the milky white or purplish hue of the curing product.
For most sun-dried earth and straw type bricks that have never been treated with a quality water repellent before, expect approximately 40-60 square feet per gallon. Sun-dried asphalt emulsion type adobes: 40-60 s/f per gallon. Kiln dried Sasabe type bricks: 70 s/f per gallon. Smooth troweled earth type plasters and rammed earth, expect no more than 40-80 s/f per gallon.
SILOX Adobe Water Repellent Sealers are not suitable for below grade application or where water pressure is from the interior of the wall. It will not prevent water penetration through unsound or cracked surfaces and must not be used in planter box applications.
WARRANTY: If applied exactly according to instructions with the recommended coverage rates, we will warranty this product for five years on burnt, asphalt and cement stabilized adobe and rammed earth vertical surfaces. No warranty whatsoever, either expressed or implied, for customers who incorrectly use the Silox for any kind of floor treatment, whether interior or exterior horizontal surfaces. To exercise the right of your warranty, you must supply manufacturer with an original and dated proof of purchase sales slip, a short written statement of what problem(s) you are experiencing, and your method of application. Since use of this product is beyond our control, the only remedy of the buyer or users shall be replacement of product deemed defective. No other warranty is expressed or implied. Neither the seller or manufacturer shall be liable for any injury, loss or damage, direct, incidental or consequential, arising out of the use of or misuse of this product. Before using this product the applicator shall determine the suitability of this product of the intended use and the applicator assumes all liability whatsoever in connection therewith. VOC compliant.
CLEAN UP: Equipment, brushes, roller, etc…. Use hot soapy water immediately after use. Fully cured resins can only be removed with strong solvents. Before using any solvents to clean any surface, determine beforehand the suitability and compatibility of solvent with surface to be cleaned. Be certain your chosen method of cleaning will not harm surfaces.
SAFETY AND FIRST AID: Though the Silox Adobe and Rammed Earth Water Repellents are water-based, they contain various chemicals that can adversely effect different people, particularly those with sensitive skin and/or skin allergies. Use common sense: wear appropriate eye, face, skin and respiratory protection (N95 particle masks). Wear eye protection (eye goggles or face shield), long sleeve shirts, pants, and gloves. Cover every square inch of your skin so that none of the Silox comes in contact with it.
A broad-brimmed hat that completely covers your head is excellent for helping to protect your eyes, hair and face when you are spraying above your head and the Silox drifts down. Improper use of airless spray equipment is potentially dangerous. Know your equipment and respect it’s ability to cause harm to you and others. If injected into skin with any type of pressurized spray equipment (particularly airless spray equipment), seek medical attention immediately! If product comes in contact with skin, immediately wash with soap and water. If clothing becomes soaked with sealer, remove and thoroughly wash both skin and clothing. Eyes: immediately flush with water and seek medical attention and advice. Do not drink or breathe this product. Close container after each use. KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN!! Keep from freezing.