Penetrating Concrete Sealer | Types of Penetrating Concrete Sealers

Penetrating Concrete Sealer | Types of Penetrating Concrete Sealers

Penetrating Concrete Sealer

About Concrete Sealer

Concrete is a relatively sturdy and durable material, but it has its weaknesses, too. One of those weaknesses is water. Concrete is known to be porous. When it rains or snows and water seeps into the surface of the concrete, it can cause severe decay. This is why it is recommended that a concrete sealer be applied to the concrete surface, to help protect it from water damage.

Providing your concrete with a protective layer is a great way to ensure longevity and the beauty of your investment.

Concrete sealers are designed to protect the surface of concrete, keeping its appearance clean and crisp through years of wear and tear. Some sealers work better than others, depending on what is the surface is being sealed and the amount of exposure it will have to the elements.

For example, an exterior concrete surface typically has a higher exposure to water and other elements, so concrete sealers that work best for exterior concrete surfaces are designed to combat those harsh elements.

They also work as a sealant, which prevents water from seeping into the concrete and turning into mold or mildew, which could damage the concrete. Materials vary in sealer options as well.

Penetrating Concrete Sealer

From a safety standpoint, penetrating sealers are superior to sealers that sit on top of the surface. Penetrating sealers get their name from the process they use to penetrate into the surface to seal pores and cracks. This means that your concrete is more resistant to UV rays, salt, ice, and other harsh elements.

Penetrating sealers can be used in a wide range of applications, from driveways to patios and sidewalks. You may need to reapply penetrating sealers every few years or after heavy rain.

Penetrating concrete sealer is used on patios and sidewalks, too. It is preferred because it helps prevent ice dams. These are the ice dams that form when snow melts from the roof of your house and then re-freezes at the edge of your driveway or sidewalk.

Types of Penetrating Concrete Sealers

There are five main types of penetrating concrete sealers:

  1. Silicates
  2. Silanes
  3. Siloxanes
  4. Siliconates
  5. Fluorinated materials

The Silicates are classified as densifiers and hardeners.  Although Silanes, Siloxanes, and Siliconates are water repellents, Fluorinated materials are both oil and water repellents. The majority of penetrating sealers are water-based, but some are solvent-based.

Why Penetrating concrete sealer would be needed on concrete

Concrete is home to a wide variety of bacteria, including molds and mildews. Without regular resealing, mold and mildew can find their way into cracks within the concrete paving slab, creating an unhealthy living environment for those who walk on it. Moisture from snow or rain, as well as humidity from the home, can also seep into concrete paving slabs and leave moisture trails. This is why concrete sealers are so important: they act as a barrier to prevent water from coming in contact with the slab.

However, not all sealers are created equal. There are several different types of sealers on the market today, each boasting its own benefits and drawbacks. For instance, one specific sealer may perform better in certain weather conditions than another type of sealer. Finding the right sealer for your concrete is important, so you can use it in the ways that will help enhance its structural integrity.

How long does penetrating Concrete sealer last?

Penetrating concrete sealer will usually last for up to 10 years of your concrete paved area.

Reactive chemical sealers will last the longest because they penetrate the concrete and will usually only wear away if the substrate surface itself wears away, which may take 10 years or more.

Similar output can be obtained by using an epoxy or urethane system, which typically lasts 5 to 10 years depending on traffic exposure. Acrylic-resin sealers have the shortest performance life – usually one to three years.

Penetrating sealers are designed to be long-lasting and protective, giving your slab many years to go before you might need another one.

How do you use penetrating concrete sealer?

Concrete sealers are usually applied as a first coat of paint on your concrete. Application can be done by hand or with the help of a pump sprayer. Concrete sealers usually dry in about one to two hours. Once they are dry, they should be sealed with a urethane, which will make them more durable and last longer.

Standards for concrete performance have changed over the years, and the base layer of concrete is no longer a cementitious binder. Today’s concrete has an aggregate in it. Concrete that has an aggregate in it is known as macadam, asphalt and other asphalt-based applications.

Asphalt-based applications typically lasts about five to ten years, depending on regular maintenance to prevent PH up to four days damage from freezing or six days damage from thawing water.

These applications have much less traffic on them than a driveway or sidewalk, which is why they are typically not as durable.

Concrete that is coated with a penetrating seal will usually last longer than these asphalt-based applications. According to the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, concrete that has been sealed will last for 30 to 50 years before the seal wears away and needs to be replaced.

If you want your concrete surface to look its best and stay that way, you want to apply a penetrating sealer. Concrete sealers are designed to seal your concrete so moisture, rocks, roots and other debris cannot get into the cracks of the slab.

These penetrants will also protect the surface from harsh weather elements that cause driveway and sidewalk damage. They act as a moisture barrier that prevents these weather elements from seeping into your slab.

Penetrating sealers can be used on driveways and sidewalks as well as patios, walkways and parking lots.

How many coats of concrete sealer?

There are usually between two and three coats of sealer needed depending on the type of sealer being used.

Since the first coat of any concrete sealer is normally absorbed into the concrete at varying rates, leaving the substrate unevenly sealed, two to three coats are often recommended. A second or third coat would ensure full and even coverage. The sealer coat of most sealers will need to cure for 12 to 48 hours, but it can leave a slight to medium tint.


What is the difference between concrete sealer and Waterproofer?

Concrete sealer is a non-permanent solution for protecting concrete against damage from freezing or thawing, as well as a variety of other common damage. They are not designed to keep water out permanently.

Concrete water proofers, on the other hand, are designed to keep water out permanently. They have a much thicker consistency and will adhere to the concrete better than sealers can. Waterproofers also have some sort of rigid internal barrier that protects the concrete from moisture and salt intrusion.

Is it better to roll or spray concrete sealer?

Rolling a concentrated spray concrete sealer is the fastest way to cover large areas, but if you have a small patch or crack to seal, it would take longer.

In addition, rolling a sealer might leave the surface with an uneven coat of sealer that will need some sanding.

Spraying a concrete sealer onto concrete guarantees an even layer of sealer that will not require any sanding to finish.

Due to the variance in end results, spraying is always recommended over rolling when using concentrated spray concrete sealers.

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What are “Concrete Accelerator” and “Concrete Accelerator Pumps”?

Concrete accelerators are additives that mix with the water to be added into the concrete mix. They are nothing more than a chemical activator for a concrete sealer.

They increase the curing time, which can lead to cracking or pitting. A longer curing time also means that you will need to apply a second coat of sealer, which increases the cost of the project in addition to increasing labor time.

Concrete accelerators can be harmful to your health if they are inhaled or swallowed. When in doubt, it is best to not use them at all.

What is the difference between the various types of concrete sealers available?

There are a wide variety of concrete sealers available and each has its own unique application.  Concrete sealer coatings come in various levels of gloss/matte finish, as well as different thicknesses.

The level of gloss is determined by the presence of polymers and solvents in the sealer formulation.  The thickness determines how many coats can be applied per application.

Concrete sealer coatings can also vary in color. When choosing a color, it is important to understand that sealers are not pigmented.

The base color of the sealer is white. The color variation seen in finished concrete is due to the pigments in the aggregate and sand used for finishing.

When choosing a sealer, it is important to consider the use for the floor as well as what type of finish will be applied on top of the sealer (polished, semi-gloss, etc.).

The various types of concrete sealers available include;

Penetrating Sealers:  Penetrating sealers, seal the pores of concrete below the surface. Penetrating Sealers have key advantages like protection against harsh weather conditions, protects against de-icing chemicals and stains, prevents freeze-thaw damage, does not alter the appearance of the concrete and prevents slipping in cold or wet conditions.

Polyurethane Concrete Sealer:  Polyurethane concrete sealer creates a protective layer that resists abrasion and chemicals. Polyurethane concrete sealer comes in both water-based and solvent-based formulations. Key advantages are that it is used on floors in high-traffic areas, such as buildings and parking lots, to provide superior protection against abrasion and chemicals.

Acrylic Concrete Sealer: Acrylic concrete sealer seals the concrete while at the same time adding a protective layer that resists abrasion and chemicals. Acrylic concrete sealer is water-based and comes in a ready to use formula that can be applied with a brush or paint roller.

Acrylic concrete sealer dries to the touch in 1 hour and dries completely in 24 hours. Key advantages are that acrylic concrete sealer is capable of sealing the concrete in a wide range of temperatures.

  • Acrylic concrete sealer will not alter the appearance of the concrete, making it ideal for indoor applications.
  • Acrylic concrete sealer resists staining, and it is used on floors that receive heavy traffic in both light-industrial and commercial applications.
  • Acrylic Concrete Sealer can be used on interior or exterior surfaces and comes in a variety of colors.
  • Acrylic concrete sealer is available in both water-based and solvent-based formulas.
  • Water-based acrylic concrete sealer is easy to apply with a roller, pump sprayer or brush and can be applied indoors or outdoors.
  • Water-based acrylic concrete sealer dries fast, usually in a day or two, so it is easy to maintain.

Solvent-based acrylic concrete sealers are used on floors that will receive lots of traffic because their protective barrier is more durable than water-based acrylics.

What are the disadvantages of a concrete sealer?

The biggest disadvantage to concrete sealer is that it must be reapplied after it has started to peel off. This usually takes several applications over a period of time, depending on how old the jacket is and how much traffic has been on the slab. Sealers will eventually need to be replaced completely if they have not been applied more than a couple of times.

A concrete sealer should be a top priority when you are thinking of sealing your driveway or other concrete surfaces. They will protect the surface from harmful chemicals and moisture, which can cause it to rot away over time. With the assistance of a professional concrete contractor, you can make sure to get the best sealer that will protect your investment.

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