Best Concrete Sealer (2020): Reviews and Comparison

  • May 13, 2020
  • / By Dale Keese
Cracked Concrete

Concrete is a very versatile material that is used commonly in construction worldwide. Not only is concrete quite inexpensive but also it is very sturdy and strong. While concrete has been a popular material for both outdoor uses and for garages in homes for several years, recently, the use of concrete has become quite commonplace for floors and other interior structures in homes too.

The Top 7 Best Concrete Sealers for 2020 are:


  • Foundation Armor SX5000 Penetrating
  • Foundation Armor AR350 Wet Look
  • Rain Guard Clear-Seal Acrylic Erethane
  • Foundation Armor AR500 Acrylic
  • Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield Floor Coating Kit
  • Foundation Armor SX5000WB Water Based
  • EnduraSeal Solvent Based

Find out which is best for you in our full in-depth reviews below ...

Seal With Ease 2020 Best Concrete Sealers

However, concrete requires maintenance over time. Concrete is very porous, which means that it tends to suck up water, liquids, or any other material it comes into contact with. The exposure to water, ultra violet rays, chemicals, and wear and tear can damage the concrete and the presence of water can also cause the growth of mold and mildew that can damage the structural integrity of your home in the long run. This is why it is extremely important to seal concrete.

You can preserve the new concrete in your home by using the high quality sealant. In our comprehensive guide, we will do a deep dive into what makes the best concrete sealers, types of sealers and their functions, and uses of a sealer, which will help you choose the right concrete sealer for your project.

Our Picks for the Best Concrete Sealers

New concrete is porous and vulnerable to water, UV rays from the sun, chemicals, salt, mold and mildew growth, and general wear and tear and all of these can cause damage. Over time, the onslaught of all these elements can cause the concrete to crack. The best way to protect concrete driveways, concrete floors, pavers, walkways, countertops, and other concrete surfaces in your home is by using a high quality sealer.

Our Picks for Best Penetrating

Our Picks for Best Wet Look

Applying a high-quality concrete sealer can help create a protective shield that offers excellent protection for the various concrete areas in your home and also prolong the life of the concrete by covering the cracks; preventing damage caused by deicing salts in the winter; preventing water seepage through the basement, walls, and foundation; preventing the concrete from pitting and spalling; and improving the appearance of the new concrete surface by adding shine.

Other Types to Consider

Product

Type / Use

Our Rating

Polyurethane

Best for: Garage & other high traffic floors, enhancing stamped & colored concrete

Acrylic

Best for: Exterior concrete, interiors floors, projects needing a fast drying solution

Epoxy

Best for: Countertops & food preparation areas, high traffic floors, cement overlays

Water-Based

Best for: Decorative concrete, indoor floors, outdoor concrete surfaces

Solvent-Based

Best for: Concrete driveways, footpaths, concrete pool surroundings

There are so many types and brands of concrete sealers on the market that choosing the right one can be quite confusing. The best choice for a concrete sealant depends on various factors such as the type of concrete you are sealing, the type of concrete sealing job, and whether you are sealing interior or exterior concrete.

In this article, we will be discussing some of the best concrete sealers that are perfectly matched for the project your working on.  Continue reading our product reviews below, or click here to skip down to the section where we explain what type of sealer is best for use for which application.


Best Penetrating Concrete Sealer

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to penetrating concrete sealers

Foundation Armor SX5000 Penetrating Sealer

Foundation Armor SX5000 solvent-based concrete sealer is made of silane/siloxane and is a high solid formulation. This product creates an invisible barrier that repels water and the clear sealer is approved by the DOT (Department of Transportation). It penetrates quite deeply into the concrete and the bond it forms is quite strong, which makes it durable and long-lasting and reduces the damaging effects of water, dirt and offers UV protection.

Foundation Armor SX5000 Concrete and Masonry Sealer

Source: foundationarmor.com

OUR RATING

Armor SX5000 sealer has low VOCs and this solvent-based concrete sealer causes water and other liquids to bead instantly when it comes into contact with the surface. This sealer allows the concrete to breathe and allows any trapped moisture to escape. The Armor SX5000 sealer does not make the concrete very slippery.

Armor SX5000 reduces the absorption of water by around 95% and offers strong alkali resistance and superior efflorescence protection which helps to resist concrete dusting, mildew, mold and fungus, efflorescence, pitting, spalling, cracking, and damage occurring from freeze-thaw cycles, and deicing salts.

It can be applied to unsealed cement, brick, and pavers; does not change the appearance of your concrete; and lasts for up to 10 years. Five gallons of Armor SX5000 sealer will cover around 500 square feet with two coats. All in all, if you are looking for a high-quality product that provides industrial-grade protection, then the Armor SX5000 sealer is a great product all round.

Features

  • Penetrating sealer
  • Quantity: 5 gallons
  • Solvent-based silane-siloxane sealer
  • Water repellent
  • Suitable for both interior and exterior use
  • Will not change the appearance of the concrete
  • Lasts up to 10 years
Pros
  • Easy application
  • Penetrates deeply and quickly
  • When dry, offers a uniform color
  • Dries very quickly
  • Long-lasting sealer
Cons
  • The price of the product is on the higher side
  • Requires more preparation of the surface compared to other sealers

ToughCrete Concrete Sealer

ToughCrete Concrete Sealer

Source: questchemicals.com

OUR RATING

If you are looking for a penetrating concrete sealer that protects the exterior of the concrete as well as it penetrates within, then ToughCrete is an excellent option that offers long-lasting protection. This product from ToughCrete penetrates deep into the concrete and provides protection from damage and deterioration caused by water and salt for up to 10 years.

This siloxane based sealant offers excellent protection for all concrete areas including your patio, driveway, sidewalk, and garage floor. You can also use this sealer for other outdoor concrete structures such as outdoor fireplaces, chimneys, bricks, cinder blocks, blocks, CMUs, and pavers.

Not only does ToughCrete Concrete Sealer protect all the concrete areas in your home but also it helps in enhancing the value of your home. This sealer is safe to use and eco-friendly and has been approved by the DOT (Department of Transportation).

Features

  • Penetrating siloxane-based sealer
  • Quantity: 1 gallon
  • Covers 600 sq. ft.
  • Eco-friendly and safe sealer
  • High-quality formula
  • Provides over 10 years of protection
  • Approved by the Department of Transportation
  • Money-back guarantee
Pros
  • Easy application using a sprayer
  • Repels water effectively
  • A high-quality sealer that is long-lasting
  • Eco-friendly
Cons
  • Can leave dark patches on the driveway
  • After application of the sealer, leaves and mud can still stain the driveway

Best Wet Look Concrete Sealer

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to wet look concrete sealers

Foundation Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer

If you want the concrete surfaces in your home to have a wet and fresh look, then the Foundation Armor AR350 solvent-based sealer is a good option. Applying this concrete sealer instantly renews faded and dull concrete. You can use this solvent-based acrylic sealer for both interior and exterior concrete, aggregate concrete, natural stone, bricks, and pavers.

Foundation Armor AR350 Wet Look Concrete Sealer

Source: foundationarmor.com

OUR RATING

Foundation Armor AR350 sealer is a great choice for warehouse and garage floors and also for patios, pool decks, driveways, etc. You can either go in for the traditional clear sealer or choose from a range of color choices, including the non-slip and matte options. The application of this product is very easy—you can use a pump sprayer or roller.

The coating produced by Armor AR350 is low gloss, which is resistant to UV damage, water, salt, heat/cold, mold, mildew, efflorescence, and hot tire pickup and helps to reduce surface abrasion and deterioration and also protects the concrete from chemicals and enhances the color of the stone.

Foundation Armor AR350 sealer can be applied to unsealed concrete areas which have been sealed earlier using a solvent-based concrete sealer. This sealant is very easy to apply and is self-priming, non-yellowing, and does not need a lot of maintenance. This breathable concrete sealer has excellent bonding properties and lasts for 1 to 3 years on exterior surfaces and around 3 to 7 years on interior surfaces.

You can seal around 1000 square feet with a single coat of 5 gallons of Foundation Armor AR350 sealer or 500 square feet. with two coats—this depends on the porosity of the concrete and the application method being used. This product is stain, water, chemical, and salt damage resistant and you can use it on poured concrete, stamped concrete, traditional pavers, and integrally colored and acid stained concrete.

Features

  • Acrylic solvent-based sealer
  • Quantity: 5 gallons
  • Breathable, non-yellowing formula
  • Low-gloss finish
  • Covers 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Manufactured from non-recycled resins
  • Manufactured in the USA
Pros
  • This sealer is durable and long-lasting
  • Suitable for different kinds of concrete surfaces
  • The application of this sealer is easy and quick with a roller
  • Offers great looks when applied
Cons
  • May fade a bit
  • Can experience some bubbling and discoloration

Black Diamond Stoneworks Wet Look Stone Sealer

Black Diamond Stoneworks Stone Sealer

Source: ebay.com

OUR RATING

The Black Diamond Stoneworks sealer has been designed, used, and tested by professionals and offers your concrete or stone surfaces with an attractive, effective, and long-lasting gloss finish. You can use this concrete sealer for both interior and exterior surfaces and it offers extra protection and resistance to water, ultra violet ray damage, general wear, and harsh chemicals.

So, if you are looking for a sealer that will protect your concrete driveways, patios, pavers, concrete floors, masonry brick and stamped concrete, exposed aggregate, colored, or decorative concrete, the Black Diamond Stoneworks sealer provides excellent protection, shine, and gloss without turning yellow. This product is clear and will not darken the surface. This product is easy to use and can be applied quickly with a sprayer, roller, or paintbrush and it is easy to clean too.

One gallon of the product will cover around 600 square feet When applied, the Black Diamond Stoneworks sealer is white, which is extremely useful because it allows you to see where you have applied the sealer already and also ensures that it is spread evenly. After around 20 to 30 minutes, the whiteness fades and it dries clear. The sealer creates a shiny appearance and also helps the natural colors of the stone to be enhanced and pop.

Features

  • Water-based gloss sealer
  • Clear sealer
  • Non-yellowing, non-darkening
  • VOC compliant
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Made in the USA
Pros
  • Suitable for use on various types of surfaces
  • Resists chemicals
  • Does not darken the surface when it dries
Cons
  • Not for polished stone like marble, granite, and tile
  • Does not leave too much of a shiny finish

Other Popular Types to Consider

While penetrating sealers and wet-look sealers are usually the most sought after concrete sealers, you may be looking for a specific type of sealer or for a specific purpose. So, if you are on the lookout for the best acrylic or a urethane concrete sealer etc., then here is our review on the best products in specific categories:

Best Polyurethane Concrete Sealer

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to polyurethane concrete sealers

Rain Guard CLEAR-SEAL Acrylic Urethane Low-Gloss Sealer

Rainguard International Acrylic Urethane High-Gloss Sealer

Source: rainguardpro.com

OUR RATING

The Acrylic/Urethane Low-Gloss Sealer from Rain Guard is among the best concrete sealers for high-traffic areas. The sealer is a blend of acrylic and polyurethane (or urethane for short) and offers a coating that is both powerful and durable. This product can protect your sidewalk, driveway, or other concrete areas from the elements. This sealer can be used on its own or you can use it as a protective topcoat over a painted surface.

The non-yellowing formula prevents damage caused by water, UV rays, chemicals, and salt and also helps to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew. This Rain Guard sealer also helps in resisting hot tire pickup and is suitable for application in commercial, residential, automotive, and warehouse uses. This sealant offers protection from stains, UV rays, and wear due to vehicular and foot traffic.

Rain Guard's CLEAR-SEAL sealer is very easy to apply with a brush, spray, or roller and can be used for indoor or outdoor and vertical or horizontal concrete, stone, wood, or masonry. The sealer is non-toxic, has low VOCs, and is very safe to use. The sealer offers coverage of between 200 and 500 square feet per gallon; however, this depends on the porosity of the surface.

Features

  • Acrylic-urethane low-gloss sealer
  • Quantity: 1 gallon
  • Standalone sealer or protective topcoat
  • Clear, self-cross-linking sealer
  • Covers around 200 to 500 sq. ft. per gallon
  • Non-yellowing formula
  • 5-year warranty
Pros
  • Dries clear with a low-gloss finish
  • Easy to apply, does not require premixing
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Quick-drying
  • Suitable for use on various surfaces and ideal for both residential and commercial usage
Cons
  • Surface turns milky if it is wet for too long
  • Concrete becomes slippery when wet

Best Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to acrylic concrete sealers

Foundation Armor AR500 High Gloss Acrylic Sealer

Armor AR500 Concrete Sealer

Source: foundationarmor.com

OUR RATING

If you are looking for a high-quality acrylic concrete sealer, then the Armor AR500 is the best product in this category. This product seals the concrete well and safeguards against the weather and external elements. The strong formula of this product does not stick to the surface; rather, it penetrates the concrete deeply through the pores and bonds chemically to it.

The formula of Armor’s AR500 sealer is non-yellowing and long-lasting. It produces a breathable finish that restores dull and faded surfaces, giving them a high-gloss finish and making them look fresh and new. Armor AR500 is very easy to apply and you can use a roller or a sprayer for the application. The Armor AR500 sealer consists of top-quality resins and has a non-toxic formula making the sealer very safe to use.

You can use Armor AR500 sealer on all interior and exterior surfaces and the multipurpose sealer can be used for your garage floors, sidewalks, patios, pool decks, basement floors, etc. This concrete sealer is durable and offers around 2 to 5 years lifespan on a 2-coat application before you need to reapply the sealer. Around 5 gallons of the product covers up to 500 square feet with two coats; however, the coverage depends on your method of application and the porosity of the concrete surface.

Armor AR500 sealer can be used on stamped concrete, poured concrete, aggregate, concrete pavers, etc. and it can also be used on unsealed concrete areas that have been sealed using a solvent-based acrylic sealer previously. So, if you are looking for a professional-grade sealer to seal your concrete structures, the Armor AR500 is a great choice that delivers robust protection against UV rays, cold and hot temperature, hot tire pickup and abrasion resistance.

Features

  • Acrylic, solvent-based sealer
  • Quantity: 5 gallons
  • Long-lasting, breathable finish
  • High-gloss finish
  • Lasts up to 5 years
  • Suitable for use on different types of unsealed surfaces
  • Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
  • Covers around 500 sq. ft. with 2 coats
  • Made from resins
Pros
  • Improves the color of the concrete
  • Enhances faded and dull surfaces
  • Makes the concrete durable
  • Protects the concrete from abrasion, UV rays, water, and extreme temperatures
  • Bonds with the concrete underneath the surface
Cons
  • Produces strong fumes
  • Expensive

Best Epoxy Concrete Sealer/Coating

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to epoxy concrete sealers

Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield Professional Floor Coating Kit

Rust-Oleum 238467 Professional Floor Coating Kit

Source: rustoleum.com

OUR RATING

If you are looking for the best epoxy concrete sealer/coating for the money, then the Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield probably the perfect one for you. Designed for use on garage floors, the garage floor coating contains a high-solid epoxy resin which offers excellent durability and gloss to the concrete surface.

The coating is not water-based and so, you can use it as a waterproofing agent; however, before using the coating, you should ensure that the floor is completely dry. Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield coating is completely resistant to contaminating and organic corrosive materials such as oil, gas, grease, water, and other chemicals, which are ever present in garages and if you do not have a strong and durable coating on the concrete floor, it will turn dark quickly.

Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield not only helps to resist these materials but also enhances the shine of the concrete and keeps it that way for a long time. You can get coverage of around 200 square feet at a very affordable price. The coating dries and hardens very quickly and within just 1 day, you can walk on the surface and in just 4 days, it is traffic-ready.

The epoxy coating has excellent adhesion power, which makes it resistant to peeling and scratching and its high-temperature resistance allows you to park your car with a hot tire after a long drive without any problems. So, overall, Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield is very durable and offers excellent resistance against contaminants and corrosion, making it among the best concrete floor epoxy coatings.

Features

  • High-solid solvent-based epoxy coating
  • Semi-gloss finish
  • Covers 200 sq. ft.
  • Hardens in just 1 day
  • Compatible with decorative chips
Pros
  • Offers excellent resistance to wear, standing water, and chemicals
  • Excellent adhesion and durability
  • Easy to apply
Cons
  • Color consistency may be a problem
  • Expensive

Best Water-Based Concrete Sealer

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to water-based concrete sealers

Foundation Armor SX5000WB Water-Based Sealer

Armor SX5000 Water-Based Concrete Sealer

Source: foundationarmor.com

OUR RATING

Foundation Armor SX5000WB is a silane-siloxane water-based concrete sealer that penetrates deeply. This product forms a chemical barrier that is water repellent in nature and also reduces the amount of water absorbed by the concrete. Upon application, Foundation Armor SX5000WB sealer does not change the appearance or color of the concrete surface, nor does it leave a film on the surface.

Foundation Armor SX5000WB sealer prevents any damage to the concrete caused by salt, efflorescence, mold and mildew, cracking, spalling, and pitting. This sealer is suitable for application to different types of interior as well as exterior areas such as concrete, natural stone, brick, pavers, and aggregate and is a great solution for patios, pool decks, concrete floors, basement walls, and driveways.

The Foundation Armor SX5000WB sealer offers easy application with a pump sprayer or roller and the coverage depends on the applicator and the porosity of the surface. Armor SX5000WB contains around five times more active ingredients compared to other products and helps to reduce damage and deterioration caused by cracking, staining, spalling, and pitting. It also reduces concrete dusting that is caused by the movement of water and moisture intrusion through the pores of the concrete and surface abrasion.

Foundation Armor’s SX5000WB sealer offers a natural unsealed look to the concrete and the product is breathable and provides 10 years of lasting performance. This sealer has low VOCs and is approved by the DOT. Not only has the Armor SX5000WB sealer been approved by the DOT but also it has been used by the department in many states to protect roads and bridges against staining, mold and mildew growth, and freeze thaw protection.

Features

  • Water-based silane-siloxane sealer
  • Breathable sealer with high solid content
  • Water-repellent
  • Does not change the surface appearance or color
  • Not made with imported or recycled resins
  • Approved by DOT
  • Made in the USA
Pros
  • Works completely beneath the surface and does not leave a visible film
  • Offers an unsealed, natural look
  • Easy to apply using a pump sprayer
Cons
  • May leave dark spots on the surface

Best Solvent-Based Concrete Sealer

Is this the right type of sealer for your project? Find out in our guide to solvent-based concrete sealers

EnduraSeal Solvent-Based Concrete Sealer

EnduraSeal Acrylic Solvent Base Semi-Gloss Concrete Sealer

Source: enduracoat.net

OUR RATING

Made of 100% acrylic, the EnduraSeal Concrete Sealer is a high-quality solvent-based sealant. It produces a semi-gloss finish for a decorative finish and is suitable for any kind of concrete and can protect colored, stained, exposed, or stamped concrete; stained pavers; stones; and terrazzo. The non-yellowing sealer is highly durable and not only works well as a sealer but also enhances the look of the concrete.

Upon application, it penetrates deep into the concrete and when it dries, it produces a semi-gloss finish. When you apply the EnduraSeal Concrete Sealer, not only does it seal the pavers but also it stabilizes the paver joints. EnduraSeal must be applied in thin coats and you must wait for at least 48 hours before you can step on the surface safely.

The sealer darkens the concrete slightly; however, you get a smooth, polished feel. After sealing the concrete with EnduraSeal Concrete Sealer, you can wipe off the grease, oil, deicing salts, etc. easily just by using soap and water. Five gallons of this sealer covers around 150 to 300 square feet. depending on the porosity of the surface. Overall, EnduraSeal is an extremely durable product, which is much more affordable compared to urethane and epoxy sealers.

Features

  • 100% pure acrylic solvent-based sealer
  • Quantity: 5 gallons
  • Covers around 150-300 sq. ft.
  • Produces semi-gloss finish
  • Non-yellowing formula
Pros
  • Dries very quickly
  • Durable, non-yellowing formula offers semi-gloss finish and makes the surfaces brand new
  • Easy maintenance
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Cannot be applied with a sprayer as it can clog the nozzle
  • Slippery when applied to wet areas

What is a Concrete Sealer and Why is it Important?

New concrete is easily damaged - water penetrates into the pores of the concrete, taking along with it, dirt and other debris. This not only makes it difficult to clean the concrete but also reduces the life of the concrete, which is why concrete sealing and choosing the right product to seal concrete is very important.

To preserve your concrete, it is recommended that you use a concrete sealer. Concrete sealers applied to the surface help to protect it from staining, surface damage, and corrosion.

Construction Supplies

Concrete sealers are chemical compounds that offer an additional layer of protection for concrete and other structures by either forming an impenetrable layer that prevents water and salts from passing through the concrete or by blocking the pores in the concrete surface, thereby reducing the absorption of these materials.

Sealing concrete has several advantages. It helps to protect the concrete from staining, oil spills, and harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. The sealer helps to lock out moisture and prevent any moisture damage, which in turn will help to make the material stronger and more durable. Concrete sealers can help increase the longevity of the concrete and also preserve the color and shine of the concrete.

Most importantly, using a sealant helps to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. In short, sealing concrete can help in many things such as protecting the concrete from stains, cracks, weather damage, and deicing salts.

Glass Window and Sealed Concrete Wall

Concrete Sealant Types and Their Uses

As we have already discussed, sealing concrete has several advantages and it will protect the concrete from various types of damage. Using concrete sealers to seal old or new concrete is a good idea and the process of curing the concrete and sealing it will not only help to protect the concrete but also help to enhance its appearance.

So, whether it is a concrete patio, driveway, sidewalk, or pool deck, sealing these surfaces can benefit them greatly. However, choosing the right kind of concrete sealer for a specific application can be quite challenging.

Furniture on concrete patio

For instance, if you have got your concrete floor acid-stained and you want a scratch-resistant concrete sealer that offers durability and will also enhance the color of your floor or if your patio has a stamped concrete floor and you want to know which sealer will protect it best from freeze-thaw cycles—knowing the various types of sealers, what each compound can do, and how you can pick the right one for your project can help you make the right choice easier.

As we already know, there are many different types of concrete sealants and it can be quite confusing to pick the best concrete sealer that is ideal for your concrete areas. Here is a general description of some of the most common compounds and let us look at each of them in greater detail:

  • Penetrating Sealers: Silane, silicone, and silicate sealers come under the category of penetrating concrete sealers and have varied uses. Penetrating concrete sealers are essentially used on bare concrete to protect them from various factors such as straining, UV rays, erosion, weather, and extreme temperatures. These compounds chemically react with the concrete and help to protect against moisture.
    Penetrating sealers can penetrate up to around half an inch into the concrete and are usually used in applications where repelling water is extremely important, especially on horizontal surfaces. Penetrating sealers offer excellent protection from moisture, salts, freeze thaw, and efflorescence damage. In general, penetrating concrete sealers do not modify the concrete appearance and offer a natural, matte finish.
  • Film-Forming Sealers: These compounds form a thin, protective, and breathable film on the surface of the concrete. The most common type of film-forming concrete sealers are acrylics, which are available in both water- and solvent-based formulations and are also available in different sheen levels. The film that forms on the concrete offers a layer of protection. This compound modifies the concretes appearance and texture and depending on whether you are using a water- or solvent-based sealer, the concrete may have a shiny and/or darker appearance.
  • Gloss & Wet Look Sealers: These compounds have a high solid content and are perfect for darkening stamped concrete, exposed aggregate concrete, and brick pavers. When high-gloss sealer is applied to the concrete, it turns dark, and leaves a shiny finish that remains that way. They offer moisture protection while restoring the original color and shine of faded concrete.
  • Enhancing (Decorative) Sealers: Enhancing sealers are usually used to improve the concrete’s appearance. This compound forms a thicker film on the concrete surface compared to film-forming sealers. They are available in a range of sheens: high gloss, satin, semi-gloss, no shine, or matte. If you want additional color, you can add pigment to these sealers also. The finish that you get is thick, abrasion resistant, and durable, which helps to repel water and also offers a finish that is long-lasting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Concrete Sealer Do?

Concrete is commonly used in building structures and as you already know, concrete is very porous and absorbs liquids easily. Oil, grease, salt, household chemicals, fertilizers, etc. can discolor unsealed concrete and damage it. Also, freezing and thawing can cause frozen liquids to expand and destroy unsealed concrete.

It is a good idea to seal all the concrete structures in your home by using a good concrete sealer.

Pool with Concrete Decking

Concrete sealers, when applied to concrete, helps to protect the concrete from staining, corrosion, and damage. Concrete sealers either block the capillaries in the concrete to prevent the absorption of water, chemicals. and salt or they form an impervious layer that prevents these materials from passing through the concrete.

Concrete sealers not only protect the concrete surface from wear and damage but also enhance the color and shine of the concrete. Whether it is your patio, stamped pool deck, paver driveway, exposed aggregate walkway, an acid-stained floor outside your home, or any concrete areas such as concrete floors or countertops inside your home, the best concrete sealer will extend the service life and keep your surfaces looking spectacular for several years to come.

And if any concrete starts showing signs of wear after years of exposure to the elements and traffic, you can restore its original beauty with a coat of high-quality sealer.

How Long Should Concrete Cure Before Sealing?

Once the cement mixture is poured, the most delicate part of the process is the curing of concrete. The poured mixture must sit for a specific period before it hardens fully. Constant temperature and moisture levels must be maintained. If the moisture is too less, then the concrete will get too dry and crumble and if the moisture is too much, then the concrete will crack and this is not very good in the future. So, the curing of concrete is a vital part before it sealed.

Usually, concrete takes around 30 days to cure completely before you can walk on it, use it, or uncover it without causing harm to its strength. This is the same reason why concrete sealers cannot be applied to a concrete surface before the 30-day curing period. If the concrete is not fully cured and you apply the sealer to it, then it can harm the potential strength of the concrete. However, if the sealer is applied once the process of curing is complete, then the concrete will be strong, durable, and protected through its lifetime.

Does Sealing Concrete Change Its Appearance?

Sealing concrete may or may not change its appearance and all of it depends on the kind of concrete sealer you use. Most of the penetrating or chemically reactive sealers are almost invisible because they enter into the pores of the concrete. On the other hand, solvent-based epoxies and acrylic resin sealers provide the concrete with significant color improvement and give the concrete a wet and high-gloss look.

Acrylic resin concrete sealers of the water-based variety enhance the color of the concrete surface moderately and provide a satiny appearance. Polyurethane concrete sealers, which are usually applied over epoxy as a topcoat, are available in a range of finishes, ranging from a gloss to a matte finish. There are many sealers that are colored with opaque as well as transparent tints.

How Much Concrete Sealer Do I Need?

The quantity of sealer you need depends on several factors such as the type of sealer you are using, the type of concrete surface you are sealing, and the number of coats you will be applying.

As you already know, penetrating sealers penetrate the concrete and offer protection inside out. They do not form a film on the surface and also do not provide any enhancement. However, penetrating sealers are long-lasting. They are watery in terms of consistency and because their viscosity is close to water, penetrating sealers can cover between 100 and 400 square feet per gallon.

Usually, two coats of concrete sealer are recommended and so, for two coats, you can get a coverage of around 50 to 200 square feet per gallon.

Epoxy and polyurethane sealers or coatings have a thicker viscosity and so, their coverage rate depends on the mils (1/1000th of an inch) thickness of application. Some of the sealers or coatings are applied around 20 mils thickness and are considered a high-build system, while other coatings are applied at around 5 mils thickness, which is considered to be thin-build systems.

From a gallon of durable coating/sealer, you can get around 100 to 600 square feet. Usually, a coat of primer and topcoat are applied.

Usually, decorative concrete sealers and coatings are applied in one coat and the amount of sealer depends on the porosity, type of cement, and if the concrete has been sealed previously. For instance, concrete pavers are more porous compared to hand-troweled concrete and will require more square feet per gallon of sealer.

Also, if the concrete has never been sealed before, it will be very porous and will need additional coats. Typically, decorative sealers can cover between 100 and 400 square feet per gallon.

A good tip to save money is that it may be more economical and cost-effective to buy 5-gallon pails rather than buying five 1-gallon pails. This can be quite handy if you run out and need to do some resealing later on.

How Long Do Concrete Sealers Take to Dry?

The time that the sealant takes to dry depends on various factors. The most important factor is the kind of concrete sealer used. Different compounds work and react differently and also take different times to dry. Let us look at the drying times of various concrete sealers:

Concrete Wall with Planter Box
  • Silicate Concrete Sealers: This compound works completely below the concrete surface and seem to dry within just 30 minutes of application. However, silicates continue to react below the concrete surface up to around 90 days. But, after using a silicate sealer, you can walk on the concrete in just a few hours.
  • Silane/ Siloxane Concrete Sealers: Like silicate sealers, these compounds also work below the surface and while they appear to be dry in just 30 minutes of application, they react below the concrete surface for around 72 hours. While after sealing the concrete using a silane-siloxane sealer, you can walk on the concrete after a few hours, you should let the concrete dry completely for at least 36 hours to enable the sealer to react fully.
  • Siliconate Concrete Sealers: This compound also appears to be dry in just 30 minutes of application but continue to react up to 24 hours below the surface. While you can walk on the concrete after a few hours, you should let the concrete dry completely for at least 36 hours to enable the sealer to react fully.
  • Acrylic Concrete Sealers: This compound takes between 4 to 12 hours to dry before you can walk on the concrete. After being applied to the surface, the acrylic sealer will continue to harden for 48 hours and should not be used or wet for at least 36 to 48 hours.
  • Epoxy Concrete Sealers: The drying time of an epoxy concrete sealer depends on the type that is used. It can typically take between 10 and 12 hours before the epoxy dries and you can walk on the concrete, but it will continue to harden until 48 hours after application and the concrete surface should not be used or wet for at least 36 to 48 hours.
  • Polyurethane Concrete Sealers/ Coatings: These can take between 10 and 12 hours to dry before you can walk on it. However, the coating will continue to harden until 48 hours after application and the concrete surface should not be used or wet for at least 36 to 48 hours.

How Long Do Concrete Sealers Last?

How long a product will last depends on several factors and you should first determine the type of sealer being used in order to determine its longevity.

  • Decorative Sealers: These are essentially lacquer- or acrylic-based sealers and because they coat the surface of the concrete and do not penetrate the concrete, they are at a high risk of wear and degradation and so, they have the shortest life span. Water-based decorative concrete sealers last between 6 months and 3 years, whereas, solvent-based sealers last longer.
  • Penetrating Concrete Sealers: These are essentially the silane, silicate, and siliconate based concrete sealers and work by penetrating the concrete. Silicate-based densifiers do not need to be reapplied again, because once applied, they last as long as the concrete does. However, you must use a silicate densifier with a penetrating waterproofing or water repellent concrete sealer and a waterproof or water repellent siliconate or silane-based concrete sealer can last between 5 and 10 years. These sealers last much longer when compared to decorative sealers.
  • Durable Concrete Coatings: These essentially are the polyurethane- and epoxy-based products. How long these concrete sealers last depends on the preparation of the concrete. If the surface is not ground or acid etched properly before the application of these coatings, they will fail quickly. However, if you prepare the concrete properly before the application of durable concrete coatings, then they can last for 10 years or more.

Conclusion

Water, stains, cracks, and erosion can cause your concrete to deteriorate and concrete sealers offer protection not only for concrete but also for a wide range of other surfaces like cement, natural stone, granite, and wood. If you are looking for a way to reduce the repair costs in your home, then it is a good idea to invest in a professional-grade, high-quality concrete sealer.

House with Sealed Concrete Driveway

Investing in a high-quality concrete sealer is the ideal way to maintain your interior as well as exterior concrete without breaking the bank.

Until you apply a coat of sealer, your concrete driveways, floors, patios, walkways, pool decks, pavers, countertops, sinks, etc. will not be fully protected from wear and tear. Not only does a high-quality sealer ensure that your concrete lasts longer but also it helps to enhance and preserve the appearance of these structures. In this way, you can add more durability and value to your home.

As you already know, there is a wide variety of concrete sealers on the market and it is important that you buy the best sealant for your specific project. For instance, while penetrating sealers are the best to strengthen and protect concrete, if you are looking for a sealer that will add gloss and shine to the concrete, then buying a topical concrete sealer may be a better option.

In conclusion, any concrete structure is incomplete without sealing and this protective layer is worth all your time and effort in preserving your concrete for years to come.