Concrete Sealers – Some Basic Tips

There are many types of Concrete Sealing products on the market. They come in various forms of application, price, and level of effectiveness. Each type has its own purpose, but all of them are designed to provide concrete protection against surface damage, water damage, and stains. They either form an impermeable protective layer that prevents liquids from penetrating or blocks the pores in the concrete so that water and other substances are absorbed.

concrete sealing

Acrylic concrete sealers. These sealers can be used for countertops, driveways, patios, pools, and indoor and outdoor concrete surfaces. They provide excellent protection from concrete acid etching while providing a clear, non-sparking surface. Acrylic concrete sealers are most suitable for surfaces that don’t need to be sealed.

Polyurethane. This is perhaps the best concrete floor sealer available. It can resist heavy traffic and prevent water seepage. Unfortunately, it is a bit more expensive than acrylic concrete sealers.

Water-based acrylic concrete sealers. These sealers have a wide range of uses. They are the most affordable of all the concrete floor sealers. They resist cracking and can also absorb oil. Unlike water-based acrylic concrete sealers, they don’t have to be repainted after they are exposed to water.

Polyurethane. This type of concrete sealing product comes in both acrylic and polyacrylic forms. While they provide similar protection, their prices differ greatly. Both have excellent water-based and oil-based variants.

Curing agents. Once the concrete is sealed, it must undergo several curing processes. Some of them include spraying the sealer on the surface, electrostatic charging, heat treating, or gas curing. As they are different, their effects are also dissimilar. There are four common types of curing agents – quick-drying, slow drying, permanent cure, and rapid curing.

Spray on sealers. These sealers come in two coats. The first one comes as a foam, while the second one is applied as a liquid. Once applied, these two coats are sprayed onto the concrete surface. A thin coat of the second coating is added as a final step.

Penetrating sealers. This kind of concrete sealer may either be a high gloss or a low gloss film-forming coating. High gloss film-forming products are penetrating because they form a film that holds the concrete particles together, thus preventing them from moving, while the low gloss kind penetrates the concrete and forms a thin layer that protects it from weathering and other external forces.

Coating. Two basic kinds of coating are used in concrete sealers. These are either oil-based or water-based. Oil-based concrete sealers provide a medium that allows the concrete sealer to have a wetting and lubricating effect. Water-based sealers allow the sealant liquid to penetrate the surface of the concrete easily and deeply.

So what’s the difference between these? Basically, the difference is in the manner in which the substances interact with each other. In oil-based sealers, a particular film forms on the surface of the concrete after it’s applied. Water-based concrete sealers create a thin clear film that stands on the surface of the concrete. It’s as if the two substances were already inseparable.

Application. Some sealers may need to be applied with a special tap or brush while others may only need to be rubbed into the concrete. You can determine the best method of applying sealers by consulting a professional or looking at the product’s instructions.

How often? Most concrete sealers are meant to be applied three to four times but some experts suggest applying them more frequently. The number of times you should apply a sealer depends largely on the kind of concrete you have. If you have natural finish concrete, you only need to apply two coats but those with natural finishes need to be re-applied once every five years. You also need to remember that natural finish concrete requires less sealing because it’s already exposed to the elements.

Curing. Sealing compounds are applied while the concrete is in its fresh form and therefore they need to undergo several processes before they’re ready for use. One of these processes is called curing, which refers to the finishing and polishing effect of the concrete after its application.

What tools are needed? A trowel, a finishing compound, and a saw are the major tools you need to apply sealers. You may want to invest in professional concrete sealers but there are also available do-it-yourself concrete sealers that you can purchase from hardware stores or home improvement shops. However, if you’re not comfortable applying sealer and if the job requires too much time to finish, then it’s recommended that you purchase a sealer that you can do yourself. Applying a sealer may need a lot of expertise so make sure that you’re applying it properly.