As a homeowner, protecting your surface with quality concrete sealer can ensure it looks great and lasts many years. However, there so many concrete sealing options, it often becomes a challenge to choose the right product for your project.
Concrete sealers are essentially used to protect new concrete decks, patio driveways, floor or walls, or renewing existing concrete slab. They can add color to an otherwise dull surface, improves texture for easier cleaning and shield against weather, corrosion, abrasion, and staining.
Main Types of Concrete Sealers
Concrete sealers come in two types, penetrating and film-forming also referred to as topical sealers.
1. Concrete Penetrating Sealers
Just as the name suggests, penetrating sealers penetrate concrete surfaces and chemically react to form a stain resistance and water-repellent surface. Penetrating sealers only protect and improve the durability of the surface but don’t improve the appearance in any way.
Why Choose a Penetrating Concrete Sealer?
- It offers more natural look than other sealers
- It doesn’t change the original color of the concrete surface.
- It has anti-slip additives that form a non-slippery surface.
- Penetrating concrete forms a protective film that shields against water, oil or gas absorption.
- Concrete surface applied with a penetrating sealer is more resistant to staining, mildew, and snow.
- Ideal for both indoor and outdoor application such as concrete patios, pool decks, sidewalks and basement floor.
Types of Penetrating Concrete Sealers
The four classifications of penetrating sealers include:
- Silicates are either classified as densifiers or hardeners. They can last between 10 to 25 years and it’s ideal to use on polished concrete.
- Siloxanes is classified as “water repellent sealer” and offers the least penetrating capability with a wear life of between 3 to 5 years. While it does not improve the strength and durability of the concrete, it helps protect against water absorption, cracking, snow, and scaling.
- Silane ,also classified as “water repellent sealer”, it is a durable concrete sealer and has a maximum penetration. Though it’s susceptible to discoloration, it can last between 10 to 25 years.
- Siliconate sealersare ideal for repelling moisture and curing new concrete, and they can lat up to 25 years.
Keep in mind that concrete sealing products range in VOC levels and coating solid content. So you have to choose whether you want a sealer that improves the strength of the concrete or a water-repellent sealer.
2. Topical or Film-Forming Sealant
This is the second type of concrete sealer and it works by forming a layer of thin protective film on a concrete surface. Unlike penetrating sealers, this one is often used for decorative purposes to improve the appearance of interior concrete floors or slab.
Types of Film-Forming Sealers
There are three main types of topical concrete sealing products and they include:
1. Epoxy Sealers have an outstanding protection ability thanks to their thicker film, which protects concrete against scaling, staining, abrasion and gauging. However, epoxy sealers are made of two components, a hardener and a resin. So you need to properly mix these two components and ensure the concrete surface is clean and ready for sealant application.
Solid epoxies offer superior protection against water, oil, gas, and it’s recommended for interior concrete application for best results. They are also eco-friendly and have zero VOC with little solvent smell.
2.Acrylic Based Sealer
This sealant is available in both solvent and water-based options, and they are not as thick as polyurethanes sealers. Though they easily scratch, acrylic sealers are easy to maintain and they are highly recommended for both interior and exterior concrete.
To ensure your concrete looks well-managed, acrylic sealers should be applied every 2 to 3 years for lasting protection. However, compared to penetrating sealers, acrylic sealers could be more slippery as a result of the surface coating. Acrylic-based concrete sealers are UV resistant and reduce concrete discoloration. They also dry fast and come in different glossy and sheen levels for different application needs.
3. Urethane Sealers
Lastly, when looking for a durable and long-lasting concrete sealing product, consider urethane sealers that offer superior protection than acrylic sealers. However, they are relatively costly and more surface preparation is required before it’s applied. They come in two formulas, water and solvent-based, and they’re ideal for interior and exterior concrete floors. Consider organic concrete sealers if you are staining concrete for more protection.