With Radon warnings and sealers out there, it can send your head into a spin about whether this is all some big money scheme or you really need one.
Also, how do you know if any of it is real?
Let’s try to make things easier for you by knowing what these sealers are, how they help and what are the real options for you.
Let’s start with the very basics first…
What Is A Radon Gas?
Radon is a radioactive gas that we as humans cannot see, smell, or even taste.
The gas is generally formed by the decaying of small amounts of radioactive uranium that may occur naturally in all rocks and soils (including at our home concrete).
Special test kits and detectors are needed to be able to detect the radioactive gas, and so we must know if the levels of radon radiation in our homes are safe for our health on a day-to-day basis.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you as a homeowner should take action if you have indoor radon levels of 4 pCi/L or higher.
How Common Is Radon in Homes?
Radon is common in homes throughout the U.S. A survey by EPA revealed that, 1 in 15 US homes has high levels of radon.
The levels may however vary/depend on the geographic regions and season (summer or winter).
If you are planning to buy a home, its recommended to get the house inspected for the levels of radon.
What Is A Radon Sealer?
Radon sealer is a type of permanent sealer which is designed to keep any gaps, cracks, or seams tightly shut.
This sealer prevents any transmission of water vapor, seepage, and as the name suggests, radon gas.
There are varying forms of radon sealer, from paint to foams to sprays, but there are two main types, namely:
1- Urethane-based Caulks
Caulking (a polyurethane caulk) and using paint sealers are best to seal the radon cracks and cold joints in your home.
These fill large openings and holes within concrete walls and floors, usually used by mitigators.
The openings that this specific radon sealer would work for include: floor and wall joints, large or small cracks, utility penetrations.
Since these sealers can be harmful for body, make sure you work in a ventilated area. Also, use a quality respiratory mask if required.
Never mistake silicon caulk as urethane-based caulks. Silicone caulk is not as effective as a radon sealer at all.
2- Penetrating Concrete Sealer
A spray-like radon sealer that is sprayed onto a bare concrete floor with nothing else on it.
By penetrating deep into the concrete, it works by reacting with the calcium silicate hydrate within to effectively seal it from any water vapor.
This deep penetration also significantly slows radon that may be trying to diffuse through the concrete in your house, be it from the walls or floor.
There is also some evidence behind these types of radon sealers helping to lessen the amount of radon gas that emanates from the concrete itself.
So, overall, radon sealers work to significantly reduce any radon that may be trying to diffuse through cracks or concrete.
By making sure that these cracks have been sealed is a basic essential to stopping radon, although it is not enough by itself.
Read ahead to understand how Radon Paint Sealer works and how to reduce radon in your home even further!
How to Apply This Sealer?
Applying a radon concrete sealer (found on Amazon) is pretty easy when it comes to sealing your basement floors and walls.
However, before starting with the radon sealant application process you need to make sure that the concrete is completely dry, bare, and clean.
In case there is already an old paint (sealers, oil, grease or other adhesive materials) present, you need to remove them completely.
When your basement is ready for sealing, you can follow the below steps;
- Slightly dampen the concrete evenly with water in order to help sealer penetrate better
- Now without any wait, spray the RadonSeal nicely making an even film over the surface
- Make sure you do not leave any puddles behind. If there are a few, use a floor broom to spread out the puddles evenly
- After about 20-30 minutes of applying the sealant, apply the 2nd Make sure that the concrete is still damp if it’s drying fast apply the 2nd coat sooner
If required you can also apply a 3rd coat, especially when your concrete is too porous and drying out faster.
In general, the amount of sealer you require will depend on the condition and area you require to seal.
For most of the homeowners, a 5-gallon pail of sealer is enough to apply on 800 – 1000 square feet of area 2 times.
How soon can I paint the floor after applying the sealer?
Well, if you are planning to paint your basement floor after sealing it for radon, you can do that after 2-3 hours of a waiting period.
You will, however, need to rinse the area using a mop and some water. If required you can use a stiff bristle brush to scrub while rinsing.
This will ensure that all the residue, if any, gets washed away after you have applied the sealer.
After you have washed the surface you also need to wet vac the water to dry the flooring.
This will help in removing out any unabsorbed sealer.
Also, it cleans the surface perfectly making sure that it gets porous enough to absorb the paint before staining.
Does Radon Paint Sealer Really Work for Basement?
When it comes to wanting to seal any ways in which radon can get through, you find yourself wondering if any of this actually works!
I’m here to tell you that the extensive market and research that has gone behind the radon sprays and paints say that it does work.
Radon Paint Sealer does help to reduce the amount of radon that makes its way through concrete and cracks into your home.
In fact, Radon sealant paint like Radonseal Plus can help to decrease the amount of radon by about 10% indoors in most US homes!
Although this measly 10% may not sound like a lot, it is still a big deal when it comes to reducing radon radiation within the home, and should not be overlooked.
In the US, Radon emitting from building materials tends to be a tiny problem; it can be near enough ignored.
This means concrete penetrating sealers like Radonseal paint (found on Amazon) can be ineffective, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
After all, we can’t physically see radon or the way it affects our bodies and home.
*Last update on 2020-08-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Other Ways to Reduce Radon Gas in Your Home and Basement?
Radon can be reduced in several ways and not just radon blocking paint or sprays. You can try and incorporate each of these into your everyday life.
If you are worried about dangerous radon levels in your house, particularly in your basement, where there is often a lot of exposed floorings and walls, then these simple radon gas removals do it yourself tips can help you ease those worries by knowing what to do about it.
1- Install Ceiling Fans, Not Exhaust Fans
Exhaust fans are known to increase radon levels and tend to be in a home or office space.
These fans allow for more radon to enter your home as the air pressure inside is lower than outside, which can draw radon in like a vacuum through the fan.
A ceiling fan, on the other hand, increases airflow and doesn’t bring any more air or radon into the room as it is just circulating and reusing the air.
This means not only do you get airflow and a cooler room, but there is no risk of any increased and unwanted radon!
Best is to get a radon mitigation fan if your home suffers from some dangerous levels of radon.
2- Seal All Cracks and Openings in The Building
Make sure that every crack is sealed within your home.
You do not want to shrug it off and leave it be because the crack can expand and grow and release more radon as it does, which is the opposite of what you want to do.
Deal with the solution early.
Don’t forget to seal areas such as around where a toilet has been fitted, as these significant gaps are prone to releasing radon into your home.
It is a place you don’t think of as an open hole or crack in your floor or wall, despite it so clearly being so. We all end up viewing it as a part of everyday life.
3- Open Windows on The Lowest Level Possible
Ventilation is critical for letting any of that ‘trapped’ radon to escape and reduce levels in your house whenever possible.
Have several windows open on the lowest level of your home, be it on the ground floor or in the basement, the area which is closest to the soil.
Even a small crack in your window allows the gas to escape.
This access to outside will allow the radon to diffuse into the air, which has a much lower radon level than the inside of a building.
Not to mention, you also get some fresh air, a bonus!
4- Cover Any Exposed Soil or Concrete with Polyethylene Plastic
Any open areas of concrete or soil are prone to releasing more substantial amounts of radon, as there is no barrier to slow or stop it from being released.
By covering the earth with high-density polyethylene plastic and seal the seams along the edges, it will reduce the amount of radon released into the air of your home significantly.
Radon Sealer Vs Radon Mitigation System: What Should I Choose?
Well, this will depend upon your personal preference and the level of radon problems you are facing.
With all the information above, it can be clearly stated that the Radon paint sealer does work and can be chosen if you have low readings of radon at your place.
In fact, most of the people in the US and Canada choose to do so by sealing their concrete and repairing the cracks using a caulking and radon barrier paint.
Even though this helps in getting only a slight reduction, many users had an opinion that it is more than enough for most of the homeowners.
In case you are facing severe radon gas problems, it is wise to choose and install a mitigation system as well in addition to all the repairs and non-breathable epoxy coatings.
With that said, it is important to know that installing a Radon mitigation system can cost you high compared to using the best concrete sealer for radon.
On average you should be ready to invest from $800 to $1500 when you are considering installing a radon-reduction system by a professional contractor.
If you are knowledgable and can do the job yourself in a DIY way you can, of course, save around $200 to $500 on installation.
It may generally depend on factors such as your local climatic conditions, your home’s design, construction materials, foundation.
Increasing Radon levels is a severe problem you should not avoid at any cost.
Take the action early and make yourself safe from the devastating effects of these gases.
Other than radon sealer and radon floor paint for basement, Non-breathable epoxy coatings can also help in reducing the Radon levels.
If you want you can use them for coating your basement in place of barrier paints.
Remember, there is no sealer that can completely stop the gas leaks through a porous concrete surface.
While concrete sealers may limit the flow of radon gas through the pores you still need to install a mitigation system, especially if the levels are dangerously high.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.