Quick Concrete Sealer Guide For The New Home Owner
Sealing your concrete floors, driveways, patios, and countertops is one of the best ways to protect them and keep them in good shape over the long run. The sealers keep water, oils, and other substances from penetrating the concrete and causing it to deteriorate and become discolored. However, not all concrete sealers are made the same, and you should buy a sealer that's appropriate for the type of concrete surface you are sealing. If you are unfamiliar with the different types of sealers, here is a quick guide on the sealers available and what types of surface you should use them on.
Penetrating sealers should be used on bare exterior concrete surfaces like driveways and sidewalks. The sealer penetrates into the pores on the concrete and dries to form an impenetrable coating. This type of sealer is good to repel water and oils from seeping into the driveway and sidewalks.
Water can be especially damaging during the winter to the concrete. The water expands as it turns into ice during a freeze cycle, and the pressure from the expanding ice will break the concrete apart.
Acrylic sealers are especially useful when sealing material like stamped concrete. The acrylic film can help bring out the colors and designs in the stamped concrete much better than a penetrating sealer.
There are two types of acrylic sealers: solvent and water-based based formulas. Solvent-based acrylics are used primarily for outdoor applications; especially around pool areas where the chlorine used to disinfect a pool can splash onto the pad around the pool and discolor unsealed stamped concrete.
Water-based acrylic sealers are typically used indoors where proper ventilation can be an issue. The water-based formulas typically require the use of floor waxes to protect the surface of the sealer so it doesn't get worn down fast by heavy foot traffic.
Acrylic sealers are also useful when you need to have the sealer dry fast. These sealers usually dry within an hour or two.
Polyurethane sealers, like acrylic ones, come in both solvent and water-based formulas. These sealers are usually used in high-traffic areas because the polyurethane provides exceptional protection against shoe scuff marks and stains from liquids being spilled on the concrete.
Polyurethane is also stronger and longer lasting than acrylic sealers.
Epoxy sealers are good to use on concrete overlays. Concrete overlays are thin pieces of concrete that are placed over existing concrete to give it a new finish, or to restore a damaged concrete surface. Epoxy sealers are typically only used indoors on concrete countertops and floors since the epoxy can yellow when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays. The epoxy, once dried, provides a high resistance to abrasive tools, such as cutting knives, which could scratch a countertop surface when slicing up meats and vegetables.