Clear Concrete Sealer – How to Choose the Best Type for Your Project
A clear concrete sealer serves two primary functions. One is to protect the concrete and the other is to improve its appearance. Concrete surfaces, especially garage floors, are subject to staining and damage from oil, chemicals, dirt, road salt, and other materials. They can also be damaged by water erosion and extreme temperatures. A clear concrete sealer provides a protective barrier that stands between damaging elements and the concrete to help keep it from spalling, pitting, and cracking. Although there is the initial investment of time and money to seal concrete, ultimately, it will help to avoid the expense of repair or replacement of the concrete by extending its service life. Concrete sealers can be used on new and old concrete, whether indoors or outdoors.
A clear concrete sealer also helps to beautify concrete by bringing out its colors and textures with a low sheen, high-gloss or wet look finish. Of note, spills, mud, and other contaminants are more easily cleaned from a sealed concrete surface.
Choosing the best type of clear concrete sealer depends on the requirements of your project.
Acrylic Concrete Sealer
Water based acrylic concrete sealer is the most widely used and is known for its color enhancement, short dry time and the ability to be applied to concrete soon after it is poured. Acrylic concrete sealers are also easy to use and more economical than other concrete sealers. A downside is that acrylic concrete sealer applies in thin coats is not durable. So, recoating is required more frequently than other types of clear concrete sealers. Acrylic concrete sealers are available in water based and solvent based formulations. Water based is often preferred as it is more durable than solvent based. Additionally, it helps reduce issues like brush marks and bubbling. A benefit of a solvent based acrylic clear concrete sealer is that it does a better job of enhancing the concrete color.
Penetrating Concrete Sealer
A clear concrete sealer that penetrates concrete is popular for outdoor use as it absorbs into the concrete for a barrier that doesn’t let water in but allows water vapor to evaporate out. This is ideal for winter environments as water trapped in concrete can freeze and expand, thereby cracking the concrete. Penetrating concrete sealer is popular for outdoor use, such as on sidewalks, as it doesn’t have a glossy finish that can get slippery when wet. Types of penetrating concrete sealers are silicate concrete sealer, silicone concrete sealer and silane concrete sealer. Silicate concrete sealer increases hardness and density of concrete. It maintains the natural appearance of the concrete but doesn’t provide high levels of protection against water erosion. Silicone concrete sealer provides shorter term protection and will need to be reapplied far more frequently than other sealers. This sealer doesn’t alter the appearance of concrete and is often used on vertical surfaces to protect concrete against graffiti. The coating doesn’t offer UV protection so it’s not ideal for applications that are exposed to significant sunlight. Silane Concrete Sealer is applied in two to three thick coats and provides protection for up to 3 years. This heavy-duty clear concrete sealer significantly changes the appearance of the concrete and is frequently used for parking garages.
Epoxy Concrete Sealer
Epoxy clear concrete sealer is much harder than acrylic concrete sealant and offers a thick and durable finish that is long lasting and abrasion resistant. Epoxy sealant has a high gloss and brings out surface colors. It’s a popular choice for kitchen counters and high traffic areas like walkways. As epoxy is vulnerable to yellowing caused by UV light it is most popular for indoor applications.
Polyurethane and Urethane Concrete Sealers
Polyurethane and urethane clear concrete sealer has a service life of 4-8 years, provides almost twice the thickness of an acrylic concrete sealer, and offers excellent durability against chemicals, contaminants, and scuffing. UV protectants keep the sealant from yellowing over time, making it a functional choice for outdoor applications as well as indoor use. Like acrylics, they are available in water based and solvent based formulations. This type of sealer performs so well it is the sealant of choice for high traffic areas such as concrete roadways. Flexibility of the coating allows it to handle impacts that would damage an acrylic clear concrete sealer.
KBS Coatings DiamondFinish Clear concrete sealer is an excellent choice for sealing concrete. DiamondFinish Clear is a 1K (one part – requires no mixing) moisture cured high gloss urethane clear coat that is exceptionally tough. Its formulation brings out the colors and textures of the concrete and because of its Advanced Cross-Linked Coatings Technology, it is both flexible and durable to avoid cracking and peeling. To see a demonstration of DiamondFinish Clear’s flexibility and durability see our video. DiamondFinish Clear is self-leveling and can be applied with a roller, spray gun, or with a brush without leaving any brush marks. The clear concrete sealer is UV stable making it an excellent performer for both indoor and outdoor uses. DiamondFinish Clear is user friendly with a quick dry time and a low and compliant VOC formulation.
Choosing the correct clear concrete sealer is a matter of determining what qualities it will need to have to best meet the requirements of the project. With careful research and selecting high quality products you can achieve a finish that looks great and provides long-lasting protection.
For more information on DiamondFinish Clear click HERE.