SEALING YOUR CONCRETE
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Concrete slab floors can be found in almost every structure built. Concrete on its own doesn’t always make the best surface for flooring especially unsealed concrete Unsealed concrete can also develop cracks, holes, and other issues over time, which means that you’ll need to put a lot of time and effort into maintaining and repairing it over the years. Coating your concrete floor in a sealant, stain, paint, epoxy, or polyurethane coating is an attractive, durable solution to these issues.
Many homeowners today are looking for ways to increase the longevity of their property and exterior surfaces. With home costs down and the costs of materials and home repairs up, it only makes sense to maintain what you own. Proper maintenance will not only increase curb appeal but can add value to your home as well.
At a bare minimum, any concrete floor should be treated with a sealer after curing. A sealer helps prevent dust , moisture absorption, and further deteriation and can help enhance the look of the concrete. Sealers come in a wide variety of different materials including acrylic, polyurethane, polyaspartic ,polurea and epoxy.
If you want to change the appearance and color of the floor, you may want to consider a concrete stain. Stains come in both water,dye,solvent and acid based and will permanently change the color of your concrete floor. They require a top coat to help protect them once you are done. Stains possess additional functional benefits that are attractive to both the applicator and end-user. For instance, they do not discolor or fade over time, or radically change color due to UV rays. When applied to properly prepared concrete substrates, stains will not exhibit cracking, crazing, spalling, delamination, softening or other deteriorating effects.
ACRYLIC CONCRETE SEALERS
Available in both solvent- and water-based formulations, acrylic sealers are ideal for projects where easy application and economy are important. They can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces to form a thin, protective film that provides good protection against water and chloride intrusion while permitting moisture in the slab to escape. They are also UV resistant and non-yellowing and can also can be used to enhance the beauty of colored, stamped or exposed-aggregate concrete.
POLYURETHANE CONCRETE COATINGS
Urethane concrete sealers are the most durable but they can also be the most expensive solutions. We find them to be highly scratch, abrasion and chemically resistant topical sealers that have the longest life cycle before reapplication compared to an acrylic or epoxy. Urethane sealers are also available in water and solvent based versions. Unlike epoxies they can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces since they are clear and non-yellowing. Urethanes do not allow moisture to travel through the concrete and they are not very breathable so we do not recommend them for sealing driveways. Please note that urethanes do not bond well to concrete so it if not ideal to apply a urethane to an existing concrete floor. Instead we recommend using an epoxy as a primer and then use a urethane as a top coat especially because urethanes are UV resistant. Commonly used in industrial settings like the food and beverage industry urethane coatings are usually high gloss and they retain their gloss very well over time.
A thick coat epoxy is 100% epoxy solids and is best used on floors that have small cracks, uneven sections, dimples, and other imperfections that need to be leveled and filled at the same time. A thick coat is often greater than 10 millileters. You can have your thick coat epoxy floor colored to appear like metallic or other patterns, or you can have chips added to the final coat to give it a more decorative appearance. There are many benefits that come with using an epoxy floor coating, compared to using other types of resins for flooring. Most importantly, epoxy is known to be the one of the highest strength resins in the industry. For UV resistance,scratch and wear resistance epoxy sealers should be top coated with a UV resistant topcoat.
POLYUREA CONCRETE COATINGS
Polyurea protects wooden, concrete and steel surfaces and structures from abrasion and corrosion damage. It can help preserve a deteriorating concrete structure and help repair and keep walls intact. It resists scratches, chemicals, oils and salts in commercial and industrial floor applications. They are preferred for outdoor applications because they can improve aesthetics are waterproof and UV-stable, containing no harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They can also withstand extremely high temperatures, making them resistant to hot tire lifting, patching, and peeling. This kind of coating is fast-curing, taking only one to two hours to harden, and one day to be ready for use. This is an important advantage in comparison to classic epoxy coating systems, that take 3-5 days to harden completely.
POLYASPARTIC CONCRETE COATINGS
Polyaspartics are softer, more flexible and offer better color and gloss retention. They perform well as structural protection, are more versatile in terms of protecting concrete in harsh weather conditions and offer better impact resistance than epoxy and urethane coatings. Performance-wise, polyaspartic coatings are considered to be more durable than epoxy coatings. Although they are thinner than epoxy coatings, they are also more flexible and thus can better absorb impacts. They have a higher tolerance for scratches, marks, chemicals, stains and heat. They also have very little, if absolutely no VOC’s which reduces risks during installation. In terms of longevity, polyaspartic coatings will last as long as the concrete lasts while requiring the very least of maintenance. These coatings can be used by them selves but are mainly used as top coats for epoxies, polyurethane and polyurea systems