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 radon sealants are, how they help, and what are the real options for you.
Allow me to 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 naturally formed due to decaying small amounts of radioactive metals (uranium, thorium, or radium) that may occur in all rocks and soils, including in our home concrete.
Special test kits and detectors are needed to detect radioactive gas so that we can know if the levels of radon radiation in our homes are safe for our health on a day-to-day basis.
How Common is Radon in Homes?
Radon is common in homes throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world. A survey by EPA revealed that 1 in 15 US homes has high radon levels.
The levels may vary depending on the geographic region and season (summer or winter).
If you are planning to buy a home, getting the house inspected for the levels of radon is recommended.
You may ask, how much radon is dangerous?
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you as a homeowner should take action if you have indoor radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) or higher.
Anything less than that should not be risky.
What is a Radon Sealer?
Radon sealer is a type of permanent sealer 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 or holes within concrete walls and floors, usually used by mitigators.
This radon sealer would work for openings, including floor and wall joints, large or small cracks, and utility penetrations.
Since these sealers can harm the body, ensure you work in a ventilated area. And also, use a quality respiratory mask if required.
Never mistake silicon caulk for urethane-based caulks. Silicone caulk is not as effective as a radon sealer at all.
2- Penetrating Concrete Sealer
It’s a spray version of radon sealer that can be sprayed onto a bare concrete floor with nothing else on it.
As it penetrates deep into the concrete floor, it reacts with the calcium silicate hydrate within to seal it from water vapor effectively.
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 are several pieces of evidence that these types of radon sealers help 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.
Making sure that these cracks have been sealed is essential to stopping radon, although it is not enough by itself.
So, let’s understand how the radon paint sealer works and how to reduce radon in your home even further!
How to Apply This Sealer?
Applying a radon concrete sealer is pretty easy when it comes to sealing your basement floors and walls.
However, before starting the radon sealant application process, you must ensure that the concrete is completely dry, bare, and clean.
In case there is any old paint (sealers, oil, grease, or other adhesive materials) present, you need to remove them altogether.
When your basement is ready for sealing, you can follow the below steps;
- Slightly dampen the concrete evenly with water to help the sealer penetrate better
- Now without any wait, spray the RadonSeal nicely, making an even film over the surface
- 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 coat
- Make sure that the concrete is still damp; if it’s drying fast, apply the 2nd coat sooner
If required, 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.
As per Radonseal reviews and instructions, a 5-gallon pail of sealer is enough to apply on 800 – 1000 square feet of area 2 times for most of the homeowners in the US.
Can you paint over RadonSeal?
RadonSeal deep-penetrating concrete sealer should be typically applied to rough (and not smooth) surfaces.
This will ensure that the sealer will get absorbed properly.
You can then apply paint, epoxy, overlays, or any adhesives to the surface where RadonSeal has been applied.
Remember, the paint will not adhere properly to the surface if the RadonSeal is not absorbed correctly.
So, allow enough time for absorption and drying before you paint.
How soon can I paint after applying the radon sealer?
If you plan to paint your basement floor after sealing it for radon, you can do that after 2-3 hours of the waiting period.
You will, however, need to rinse the area using a mop and some water. If required, 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, wet vac the water to dry the flooring; this will help remove any unabsorbed sealer.
Also, it cleans the surface perfectly, ensuring it gets porous enough to absorb the paint before staining.
Does Radon Paint Sealer Really Work for Basement?
When sealing the leaks or ways radon can get through, you may wonder if any of these sealers actually works!
Well, from my experiences and the extensive market research that has gone behind the radon sprays and paints, I can say that Radon Paint Sealer does help to reduce the amount of radon that makes its way through concrete and cracks into your home.
In the US, Radon emitting from building materials tends to be a very small problem; it can be nearly ignored enough.
But the fact is, Radon sealant paint like Radonseal Plus can help to decrease the amount of radon by about 10% indoors in most US homes!
I understand this measly 10% may not sound like a lot, but it’s still a big deal in reducing radon radiation within the home – so it should not be overlooked.
Even though you might think penetrating concrete sealers like Radonseal paint can be ineffective, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
After all, we can’t physically see radon in the basement or the way it does affect our bodies and home.
Other Ways to Reduce Radon Gas in Your Home and Basement?
Radon can be reduced in several ways other than just radon-blocking paint or sprays.
If you are worried about dangerous radon levels in your house, particularly in your basement, where there are often a lot of exposed floorings and walls, these simple radon gas removal do-it-yourself tips can help you ease those worries by knowing what to do about it.
You can try and incorporate each of these into your everyday life in addition to radon floor sealers.
1- Install Ceiling Fans, Not Exhaust Fans
Exhaust fans allow more radon to enter your home (or office space) as the air pressure inside is lower than outside, which can draw radon in like a vacuum through the fan.
On the other hand, a ceiling fan 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 better airflow with a more relaxed room, but there is no risk of increased or unwanted radon!
Additionally, getting a radon mitigation fan is best if your home suffers from dangerous radon levels.
2- Seal All Cracks and Openings in the Building
You do not want to shrug it off and leave it be because the crack can expand, grow and release more radon as it does, which is the opposite of what you want to do.
Deal with the solution early, ensuring every crack is sealed within your home.
Don’t forget to seal areas around where a toilet has been fitted, as these significant gaps are prone to releasing radon into your home.
It’s 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 escape and reducing 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 closest to the soil.
Even a tiny crack in your window allows the gas to escape.
This access to the 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.
Covering the earth with high-density polyethylene plastic and sealing the seams along the edges will significantly reduce the amount of radon released into your home’s air.
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 works and can be chosen if you have low radon readings at your place.
Most homeowners in the US and Canada choose to do so by sealing their concrete and repairing the cracks using caulking and radon barrier paint.
Even though this helps get only a slight reduction, it is more than enough in most cases.
In case you are facing severe radon gas problems, it is wise to choose and install a mitigation system in addition to all the repairs and non-breathable epoxy coatings.
That said, it’s essential to know that installing a Radon mitigation system can cost you more than using the best concrete sealer for radon.
On average, you should be ready to invest from $800 to $1500 when considering installing a radon-reduction system by a professional contractor.
If you are knowledgeable and can do the job yourself in a DIY way, you can save around $200 to $500 on installation.
The overall costs will generally depend on factors such as your local climatic conditions, your home’s design, construction materials, and foundation.
The bottom line
Increasing Radon levels is a severe problem you should not avoid at any cost – take action early and save yourself from these gases’ devastating effects.
Besides radon sealer and radon floor paint for the basement, non-breathable epoxy coatings can also help reduce the Radon levels.
If you want, you can use them for coating your basement in place of barrier paints.
But remember, no sealer can completely stop 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 over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.