What is the best concrete sealer?
Concrete is an abundant resource that covers millions of square kilometres around our planet. It is an incredibly durable flooring choice, especially when properly sealed, so what’s the best concrete sealer to use on your concrete floor?
Whether for a commercial, industrial, or residential property, a basement or a garage, a concrete floor sealer is an easy and affordable way to ensure the surface will look its best and function well for years.
A good concrete floor sealer will:
- Prolong the life of a floor
- Enrich and preserve its appearance
- Provide resistance to scuffs and stains
- Prevent moisture problems
A film-forming sealer, either epoxy or acrylic, is most often used for indoor flooring requirements. Epoxy, urethane and polyaspartic concrete sealers are the most durable, making them good for sealing garage floors and high-traffic business environments.
Softer acrylic sealers are more affordable and popular for residential concrete floors, including driveways, paths, patios and pool surrounds. When working indoors, it’s safest to apply a water-based sealer, because it doesn’t contain harmful fumes from VOCs.
What’s the best exterior concrete sealer?
Sealing outdoor concrete surfaces is an essential part of concrete maintenance.
A concrete sealer is a lot like a car wax that is used to protect the vehicles paintwork. However, many people go without regularly waxing and polishing their car and then regret it when the paint fades, discolours or peels.
A concrete sealer may not seem necessary at first, but after a few years of exposure to weather and use the concrete can become discoloured, stained or even flaky or present with other problems because it was not properly sealed.
For example, a customer wanted us to stop the degradation of their commercial boat ramp which was constantly wet from saltwater. However, because the concrete was not treated at the very start, the salts in the concrete are now causing it to spall and the damage is difficult to repair.
The ideal situation for any marine environment is that the boat ramp should have been originally specified at construction to a high MPA and saturated with 100% silane. Silane is used on dams, bridges, wharves etc. Treating marine environments needs to be done when the concrete is dry and has not been affected by salts.
What happened is that the boat ramp was unlikely to have been treated, the porous concrete would have been saturated with salts and the saltwater compounded the growth of salt crystals in the concrete. When the water evaporates it leaves the salt crystals in the concrete and these crystals grow and ultimately cause the concrete to spall, which was evidently occurring on this boat ramp.
Therefore, as marine environments are constantly wet by saltwater and goes through the wet/dry process daily, there are a lot of salt crystals in the concrete. This is probably why any treatment after the boat ramp was operational was only partially effective.
To remediate the current situation for our client we proposed a maintenance plan as the best-case scenario no longer exists. We recommended giving the area a light grind to open up the concrete, then to use a colloidal densifier, which reacts with the calcium hydroxide in the concrete and forms hydrogels.
This densification process decreases the porosity of the concrete, increases moisture resistance, and hardens the concrete. We then suggested sealing the area with a self-crosslinking copolymer water-based sealer, B883 Stain Resisting Sealer or G887 Stain Protecting Sealer. Lastly, we recommended cleaning and sealing every 12 months or as required to minimize the effects of the environment and heavy traffic exposure etc.
A sealed concrete area will protect against:
- Oil stains
- Tire marks
- Yellowing or fading
- Water damage
- Dirt, mud and mould
- Lawn care chemicals
All types of exterior concrete should be sealed including plain concrete, stamped concrete, stained concrete, coloured concrete, exposed aggregate, stencilled concrete, and decorative concrete and overlays.
Each concrete surface lends itself to unique needs when it comes to a sealer, therefore, we recommend that you speak to Barefoot Concrete to discuss your specific requirements.
We have discovered that the best concrete sealer for a driveway, patio, path, house or pool surrounds, is UV resistant, breathable, and slip-resistant, even when wet.
When a good concrete sealant is used, maintenance is easy – pressure clean the driveway or patio with a good commercial grade pressure washer and use soap and water, or a degreaser designed for use on cement. Have a maintenance plan where you can apply a fresh coat of sealer every two to three years.
If you are sealing outdoors, a penetrating concrete sealer, like B883 Stain Resisting Sealer or G887 Stain Protecting Sealer, is usually better than a film-forming product. This is not only for safety reasons but also because the end result will last longer and looks more realistic and natural.
What’s the best exterior concrete sealer for concrete countertops?
Sealing is the last, but most important, step when installing concrete countertops in a kitchen or bathroom.
A waterproof concrete countertop sealer like the G887 Stain Protecting Sealer will prevent food stains as well as scratches.
The best sealers for countertops are:
- Heat and scratch-resistant
- Low-odor, with zero VOCs
Countertop sealers come in varying sheen levels, from matte to high gloss. Barefoot Concrete provides a low gloss sealer that can be buffed to a higher sheen.
If you want to be able to use your countertop immediately, you can opt for a fast-curing sealer.
For extra protection and shine, some countertop installers will apply a food-safe finishing wax over the concrete sealer.
The concrete sealers with the best reviews tend to be professional-grade, not the type you can buy at your local home improvement store.
Barefoot Concrete supplies professional-grade concentrated sealers that can be ordered online through our shop or purchased directly from us, just contact us to find out more.
A good concrete sealer has the following characteristics:
- Easy to apply
- Good coverage rates
- Water beads up nicely
- Dries quickly
- Low odour
- Doesn’t change the colour of the concrete
- Resists scratches
- Lasts a long time