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How Do I Choose the Best Concrete Sealer?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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While concrete is known for being quite resilient, it will not always last forever. Some maintenance usually is necessary to keep it looking nice over time. A concrete sealer can accomplish this, but many people typically have no idea where to start when it comes to buying this product. Questions to ask yourself before making a decision usually include: what is the general purpose for the sealer, what is the amount of protection needed, and where is the concrete located.

Understanding the need for concrete sealer is usually the first step to knowing which type to purchase. Concrete typically becomes dirty over time, especially if it is outside. This does not mean that keeping it clean is a hopeless task. In fact, regularly removing dirt can help it last longer, as dirt and dust often break down concrete. Concrete sealer can prevent dirt from penetrating the surface and turning into stains, and it also can help mitigate sun and water damage.

Some older sealers only cover the top of the concrete, forming a barrier just above the surface. This type of sealer is called a film former, and is usually both temporary and not as effective as the type of that penetrates the concrete. Film formers often do well on decorated concrete. Penetrating sealers are known for guarding concrete best because they infiltrate even the tiny cracks that are present rather than just sitting on top of the surface.

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For homeowners with concrete countertops, epoxy sealers often are best. This type of concrete sealer tends to create a thicker layer of protection to guard against moisture and chemicals that may come in contact with the concrete. In fact, many areas that involve a lot of water typically need epoxy sealant to fully protect the concrete against water damage. For this reason, many waterproofing solutions are made with epoxy, but it is important to note that prolonged exposure to the sun typically can cause them to yellow.

Most outdoor projects usually require a concrete sealer that is solvent-based. This is because it is known for being flammable and having an unattractive smell. On the other hand, water-based sealers are usually best for the interior of a home because they are typically neither flammable nor aromatic. They also usually go undetected because unlike some sealers, they do not include a high-gloss finish.

No matter what kind of concrete sealer you choose, keep in mind that most types leave the surface quite slippery while drying. This calls for extra safety around the affected surface until it is completely dry. Additionally, most sealers are generally clear so that few can tell that they are present at all.

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anon962557
Post 4

A sealer works below the surface, while a coating sits on the surface. Many exterior applications will require the use of a water repellent, like a high solids Silane-Siloxane, or an acrylic if a wet or gloss look is preferred. For interior applications, garage floors require strong coatings like epoxy and aliphatic polyurethanes. Other interior applications can use virtually all other types of coatings, including acrylics.

anon266668
Post 3

Epoxy sealers are used for for decorative purposes and don't actually protect the concrete. Epoxy sealers can't be used where hydrostatic pressure is present and epoxy sealers can't stop water or radon. If you use an epoxy sealer, you should always use a sodium silicate as a base coat. Sodium silicates actually protect the concrete from staining better than epoxy but epoxies offer a nice shine and silicates don't.

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