Different types of concrete sealer can provide varying levels of protection, so it’s important to learn what each product can deliver before purchasing a large quantity for your driveway, patio, steps, walkway or countertop. A concrete sealer can deepen and accentuate the color of the concrete; protect the surface from dirt, grime and grease; give the top coat a glossy finish; and prolong the life of the material overall by blocking the damaging freeze-thaw cycle that causes concrete to crumble and weaken over time.
Here are four types of concrete sealer you should consider for the concrete on your property:
Products made of acrylic are a good choice when you need a fast-drying option, since they are much thinner than the other substances. It is applied in thin coats that dry in about one hour, and usually applying at least two coats is ideal. Acrylics come as either solvent or water-based options. Solvent-based acrylics are better for outdoor use, because they provide a higher level of protection against exterior wear from the elements. The primary benefit of acrylic sealers is the product’s ability to prevent water and chloride from infiltrating the concrete, but still letting inherent moisture make its way out.
Deep Penetration Sealer
This category contains all products using variations of silicate material. The silane, siloxane or silicate product sinks into the concrete and initiates a chemical reaction, forming a bond against all harmful substances, including rock salt. A hearty application of a penetration sealer will allow you to spread deicing material on your concrete pathway or driveway without fear of damage. It does not alter the appearance of the concrete surface, add a gloss or change the color. It is a permeable sealer, so it allows moisture to evaporate. This type is applied either with a sprayer or a roller paintbrush. Since it’s the most protective and durable option, it’s most commonly used for exterior purposes.
Products made of polyurethane also come in water or solvent bases. They are highly effective in protecting high-traffic areas from becoming scuffed and dull. This product offers a whole range of gloss options. It gives a clear, shiny finish to decorative or stamped concrete. When applying, make sure the surface is completely dry, because polyurethane will react with water and begin to foam. Make sure it does not come into contact with any moisture until it’s fully dried. One negative characteristic of polyurethane is its inability to release moisture from within the concrete. This could contribute to weakness in the structure.
Epoxies come in a transparent or colored finish and are highly water resistant. This type of product forms a long-lasting protective barrier against chemicals, moisture and regular wear. While epoxies fully bond to concrete, they do not offer an exit for inner moisture. When exposed to sunlight, the finish may gradually yellow. For this reason, interior concrete has much better long-term results with an applied epoxy. Due to the thickness of the product and how quickly it dries, it must be mixed and painted on by hand.
A sealer can protect your home’s concrete structure for years. If you require additional advice on what type of concrete sealer is ideal for your property or you would like more information on concrete repair, talk to the professionals at Lift-Up Concrete today.