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Environmentally Friendly Painting Tips to Spruce Up Your Home

Eco-friendly paint is one way to update your home’s interior or exterior with the environment in mind. These paints can be low-VOC, no-VOC, or natural, meaning that they are sustainable options for painting your house. There are many things to consider when updating your home and making it more environmentally friendly, but painting is one easy way to begin. So whether you’re renovating your home or your rental property in Los Angeles, CA, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

To help you get started Redfin asked us for our best environmentally friendly painting tips to spruce up your home. Find out what we had to say.

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Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer

Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer

Anything applied only to the surface of the masonry/concrete must eventually come off due to aeration and deterioration. Trojan, because of its deep penetrating ability, cannot deteriorate or aerate; instead, it cures, waterproofs and seals both masonry and concrete permanently.

Any asphalt, tile, linoleum or paint will better adhere to the masonry/concrete after treatment of Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer. Due to the alkali being encapsulated and the masonry waterproofed, Trojan will help prevent the alkali and limes from attacking the adhesives that are used to secure the tile/linoleum.

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Efflorescence Removal

Efflorescence Removal

Our Efflorescence Remover effectively removes the calcium/lime build-up without damaging the integrity of the surface it is cleaning unlike more harmful cleaners such as muriatic acid.

Efflorescence Remover is an environmentally safe, non-toxic alternative that will not harm plants or animals and does not discharge any offensive odor, making it the ideal cleaner for application in public areas.

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How to Clean Red Clay Stains from Concrete & Brick

Red clay is the dominant soil type in the southern United States but can also be found as far north as Pennsylvania and even western states. Red clay stains occur after heavy rains when water carries the clay deep into the pores of the concrete, brick or stucco. Home foundation walls are often susceptible to this via splash build up, but even the simple act of walking on a concrete driveway with muddy shoes will do its damage.

Powerwashing alone does not take the red dirt stains out. Why are red clay stains so hard to clean from concrete and masonry? Possibly because what gives the reddish color of the dirt is iron oxide or better known as rust, which is highly insoluble in water. In fact, iron oxides are often used as inexpensive earth tone pigments in coatings, paints and colored concrete. 

The process to remove red dirt stains is a chemical (cleaner) and mechanical (power wash) combination. An acidic based cleaner is more powerful because it will bubble up the red clay that is deeply imbedded in the concrete. Yet, one has to be careful as not all acid cleaners are equal. Straight acids (or highly concentrated) may be too powerful and actually burn or harshly etch the concrete. If an acid cleaner is diluted too much, then its not going to break the bond the iron oxide has made to the masonry or concrete. 

Our balanced Red Clay Stain Remover is buffered with water and surfactants to only micro etch the concrete, thus removing the red clay but not adversely affecting the surface. Apply the Red Clay Stain Remover using a hand pump sprayer, let sit for 2 to 3 minutes and then power wash off. It's important to use a power washer so that you move the clay completely off the surface. Otherwise the red clay may resettle in another area. The picture below (compliments of Detail Pressure Washing in West Union, SC) shows our cleaner taking off red clay stains from a brick foundation wall. 

Red Clay Stain Remover on Foundation Wall

After cleaning the surface, consider using our Trojan Masonry Sealer that will permanently penetrate the surface without changing the look of the exterior. It will make future cleanings much easier as the red clay cannot absorb into the pores.
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How to Protect our Concrete Bridges from Deterioration

The American Society of Civil Engineers' Report Card grades America's Infrastructure maintenance initiative a D+. The organization estimates that $3.6 trillion would be needed to invest in the U.S. infrastructure by 2020 just to bring the country's support systems to an acceptable B grade. 

Faced with the problem that most county and state governments do not have the finances to repair all of their roads and bridges, some local governments are looking for alternative and less expensive solutions to protecting their existing concrete surfaces.

When our parent company formed in 1993, we like many manufacturer's, produced topical coatings. But after many expensive reapplication costs, we innovated and came up with Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer. Topical coating systems eventually wear away and the consumer is forced to reapply, thus becoming caught in a costly maintenance cycle. 

In 2011, the Tippecanoe County Highway Department began looking for a product to help preserve its concrete bridges. It still stands and looks great with Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer.

Sealing concrete bridge deck

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Waterproofing Porous Stone Veneer

Believe it or not, stones are actually very porous and easily absorb water. Stones such as limestone and sandstone are often included in the construction of homes and buildings. They are used for the exterior veneer of the house and even walkways. Yet because of their very porous nature, the soft stones are also subject to weathering (wind/rain/saltwater) quicker than other substrates. 

Salts and deicing chemicals (used in winter areas) will further hasten the degradation of stone walkways. Our Trojan Masonry and Trojan Ultra Sealers will densify and increase the longevity of the stone as well as waterproof the surface permanently.

The below pictures were taken by Dunlap Construction of Duvall, WA who used our Trojan Ultra Masonry Sealer
"These pictures are taken about four years after a single application. The home is situated about 100 feet off saltwater where the wind blows salt onto the stone walls with virtually no sign of wear. The material is Wilkeson Sandstone cut to my specs and then tumbled. There is approximately 160 tons of stone veneer"- Steve Dunlap

Trojan Masonry Sealer on Sandstone Home
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How to Protect Your Roof with Colored Shingle Roof Coating

In 2005, the US experienced the most active Atlantic hurricane season in history with 28 named storms. As our manufacturing plant is located in Melbourne, FL, we decided that year to develop a roof coating that would help reduce residential roof damage caused by wind shear. 

Specifically, we wanted to create a non-toxic coating that would 'glue down' asphalt shingles and thus prohibit wind lift up. The coating had to be UV resistant and yet provide similar colors to the most common shingles available. At the time, there were few coatings designed for asphalt shingles and those that were on the market were generally only obtainable in white.

The below picture shows shingle gravel that has collected in the gutters. Colored Shingle Roof Coating was applied to prohibit future shingle degradation and save the roof from replacement.

Shingle Gravel

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Concrete Garden Statues - One Step Stain and Seal using Trojan Color Sealer

Concrete garden statues are available either natural (no color or sealer) or painted. Yet over time, as the statues are exposed to the elements, they become dirty, mold/mildew stained or the paint begins to fade and peal. Our Trojan Color Sealer and Trojan Masonry Sealer can help fight against the detriments of weathering. 

Color and a Seal in one Application
Trojan Color Sealer is not a paint but a water based sealer and stain system that absorb into the concrete's surface. The non-toxic polyester sealer locks in the UV resistant pigmented stains to preserve the color. Below are pictures using our Amazon Green and Harvest Gold colors. The (after) picture was taken one year after application.

Applying Color to Concrete Statue using Trojan Color Sealer

Color Staining Concrete Statue - Harvest Gold and Amazon Green

Unlike acrylic, latex or oil based paints that sit on the surface, Trojan Color Sealer does not peal or chip away as it is not a coating.

Preserve & Protect the Natural Look 
Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer is a clear, penetrating non-toxic/non-gloss sealer for those that want to maintain the natural (uncolored) look. Trojan will provide protection against freeze/thaw cycle, whereby concrete begins to crack as water freezes overnight in the pores of the substrate and then expand during the warmer day. This constant expansion/contraction will break up masonry & concrete over time. The Trojan Sealer will also help reduce the mold & mildew growth as the sealed surface will dry much quicker after a rain, thus taking away the wet environment that allow spores to multiply.
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Historic Preservation using Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer

Using eco-friendly products during the restoration and preservation of historic homes and buildings is paramount when dealing with older substrates. As masonry/stone ages it becomes softer and thus more brittle. Power washing with very high pressure and harsh chemical cleaners can only add to further degradation. 

The below pictures are provided by Robert Morgan & Company (Littleton, NH) who specialize in church steeple and building restoration. This particular project is of the Grace Methodist Church in Wilmington, DE where Robert Morgan & Co. used our Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer to seal the repaired exterior.

Grace Church and Trojan Masonry Sealer

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Trojan Color Sealer for Concrete Balcony

Trojan Color Sealer can be applied to various porous surfaces, such as, indoor/outdoor concrete, or even faded brick pavers to enhance/rejuvenate the color and provide a sealer in one product. The below picture submitted by SealGuard of St. Louis shows a unique instance where SealGuard had to repair the deep crack on the balcony as well as color seal the concrete. 


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Trojan Color Sealer on Interior Commercial Floor

Trojan Color Sealer was applied to this commercial floor using two different colors. The base color was Canyon Brown with Slate Green sprinkled in for a more mottled look. The pictures were provided by SealGuard of St. Louis. 

Trojan Color Sealer - canyonbrown&slategreen

As Trojan Color Sealer is extremely low in VOC (volatile organic compounds), it can safely be used indoors without any bad smells or off-gassing odors.

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Cleaning Black Mildew from a Pool Deck

Algae Mildew Cleaner and Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer are the two components needed to clean and preserve your pool deck. Over time, concrete pool decks tend to blacken with dirt and mildew. The black mildew is even more prevalent in areas of high humidity and shaded regions.

Black Mildew Stains on a Concrete Pool Deck (before)

Cleaned and Sealed from the Inside (after)

Concrete is very porous and therefore holds in moisture longer, providing a perfect petri dish for mold and mildew to grow. Spray on our Algae Mildew Cleaner with a hand-pump garden sprayer, agitate with a broom brush and power wash the surface to bring back the original look of your pool deck.

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Graffiti Removal using Erase Cleaner

Graffiti is an ugly blight that affects many city and suburban neighborhoods. Hazardous chemical solvents are often used to 'clean' the graffiti off, yet there are more eco-friendly products that can do the job. The Erase Cleaner is a nontoxic graffiti cleaner when used in its concentrated form. 

This product is actually a 'two in one' system in that it will dissolve graffiti, mastics, glues & latex paints when used straight out of the bottle, yet if you cut it with water, it becomes an excellent degreaser that removers all types of oil stains and residues.

The before picture below is of playground equipment before Erase Cleaner is applied by Wipeout Graffiti Company based in Las Vegas, NV. 

Graffiti Removal using Erase - Before

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Sealing Concrete Countertops

Concrete countertops are becoming a larger part of the green building/restoration business because it is a sustainable building material, using locally produced and often recycled components. Manufacturers also have a greater ability to create various colors and shapes to fit the needs of clients wishing for more personalized designs. Concrete countertops are more durable and the quality can bring up the value of your home.

However, concrete is extremely porous and spills or dropped food can cause stains that seep in and are next to impossible to remove. This is why sealing it is so important. Quality concrete sealers will save your counters from stains and allow you to quickly manage spills. Trojan Masonry and Concrete Sealer absorbs into the pores with a water-based, penetrating polyester formula that waterproofs and preserves concrete.

The Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer is often used on these colored concrete countertops to fill the pores and increase the strength of the substrate. Our concrete sealer's nontoxic aspect is especially important for kitchen concrete countertops where food preparation occurs. 

* The below photo of Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer applied to this colored concrete countertop was provided by Mark Bighley Construction from Silver City, NM.

Trojan Masonry Sealer on Concrete Countertop

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Acid Stained Concrete

Although the Trojan Color Sealer is an all in one stain and sealer system, we do have many Acid Stain Professionals that use the clear Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer after applying their acid stain (once pH neutralized) to the concrete floor.

The below photo of Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer applied to acid stained concrete was provided by Mark Bighley Construction from Silver City, NM. 

Trojan Masonry Sealer over acid stained concete

Note: This project photo using our sealer was part of a passive solar home article from motherearthnews.com (3rd picture in gallery). 

Why do acid stain professionals use Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer?

  • Unlike topical sealers (silicone, acrylic, polyurethane etc), Trojan is a water-based, penetrating polyester concrete sealer that does not leave a surface residue. It instead fills the pores of the substrate leaving a matte to very low gloss (only on indoor, hard trowelled concrete) finish. Although topical sealants provide a nice shine they also are a maintenance issue in themselves as they easily wear away, especially on outdoor projects where weather, UV and walking/driving takes its toll. Topicals can also be slippery when wet, unlike Trojan, which will not change the friction coefficient of the surface. Our sealer will also not wear away as it hardens and binds the surface into one solid mass.
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A Penetrating Sealer for your Driveway will Protect it from Erosion

Bradly Lewis Home Maintenance Inc. of Portland, OR is an applicator that uses our Trojan Masonry & Concrete Sealer with his services.  He's provided a few reasons and we happen to agree on why using a penetrating sealer on your driveway is vital.

See 15 reasons why you should do this, too.
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