When applying concrete sealer, it’s always best to ensure that you get maximum coverage. This ensures that your concrete is thoroughly protected and will last a long time. But with concrete sealers usually sold by the gallon, many wonder how much it will cover.
One gallon of concrete sealer will cover around 250 to 300 square feet, on average. Penetrating sealers cover 50-200 square feet per gallon, acrylic will cover around 300 square feet, epoxy and urethane sealers cover 100-600 square feet, while decorative sealers cover 100-400 square feet per gallon.
Since there are many factors that affect the coverage of concrete sealers, it’s best to understand each of them. Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
How Many Square Feet Does Concrete Sealer Cover?
On average, a gallon of concrete sealer will seal around 250 to 300 square feet while a 5 gallon bucket of concrete sealer can cover from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet of concrete.
However, the amount of coverage for a gallon of concrete sealer will depend on several factors. These include the type of concrete sealer, how many coats will be applied, and the surface condition of the concrete. Generally speaking, the older the concrete is, the more porous it is, requiring extra sealer.
In addition, the weather and temperatures of the day you apply sealer also plays a role in coverage.
For reference, the thickness of a concrete sealer is measured in mils, or a thousand of an inch in thickness. Thin build sealers are those that are under 10 mils when applied (including acrylics and water-based sealers), while thick build sealers are applied at greater than 10 mils (including 100% solid epoxy sealers and polyurethanes).
Penetrating concrete sealers encompass many varieties including silicates, siloxanes, silanes, siliconates, and fluorinated concrete sealers. A majority of penetrating sealers are water-based, though others are solvent-based. These usually require 2 coats, the second of which is applied while the first coat is still wet.
When working with penetrating sealers, it’s not ideal to apply the second coat when the first one has already dried. It’s still acceptable to apply a second coat anytime from 1 to 15 minutes after the first. However, penetrating sealers have a watery consistency primarily because their viscosity represents water, allowing you to cover more compared to other sealers.
Penetrating sealers cover from 100 to 400 square feet in every gallon, but since two coats are typically recommended, it would reduce the actual coverage to half, cutting it down to 50 to 200 square feet in every gallon.
Acrylic sealers come in water and solvent based varieties. Two coats are always applied, and as they are thin build by nature, will cover 300 square feet in each gallon. Acrylic sealers should always be applied thin; avoid over applying this type of sealer.
When recoating solvent based acrylic sealer, it is recommended to wait around 12 hours in between coats to allow the substrate to be fully absorbed before recoating.
Epoxy and Urethane Sealers
Epoxy and urethane sealers are much thicker in viscosity. On average, they can cover 100 to 600 square feet for each gallon, though it’s highly dependent on the product and the manufacturer’s guidelines. Epoxy sealers usually require two coats as well as a top coat, while urethane sealers require 3 to 4 coats.
If you intend to use a topcoat for epoxy or urethane concrete sealers, it’s important to note that all water and solvents have completely evaporated during the curing time. You can test the coat prior to topcoating by pressing on the coat using your thumb, and if there is no fingerprint impression, then you can already apply the topcoat.
Keep in mind that some epoxy and urethane sealers are more durable than others, which means they will require fewer coats depending on the manufacturer and the formula.
Decorative concrete sealers are typically applied with just one coat, depending on the concrete’s porosity and if it’s been sealed previously. On average, it can seal 100 to 400 square feet per gallon.
For example, concrete pavers are usually more porous compared to hand troweled concrete. For this reason, one gallon won’t take you as far as using it on hand troweled concrete. If a concrete surface has never been sealed, it will be much more porous and require more coats of sealer.
It’s important to plan for sealing concrete because the weather, air, and time of day will all have an impact on how well you’ll be able to maximize the coverage of concrete sealer.
The ideal temperature for sealing concrete is from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this isn’t always achievable depending on your location or the time of year. The current temperature will indicate how quick or slow it will cure, and if you apply sealer during the hot blazing sun of the noontime, or morning, this can lead to coating failure – requiring you to add another coating or do the job all over again.
It would be best to wait until the late afternoon, or the time around 5:30 to 8PM, to apply sealer. During these hours, surface and air temperatures are already declining because the sun is setting – depending on where you are. These conditions reduce the risk for blushing, bubbling, or solvent pop.
If you aren’t sure about the temperature guidelines, it’s recommended to get in touch with the sealer manufacturer to ask about alternative guidelines that you can follow such as concrete temperature or the time of the day. However, it is never possible for sealer to properly bond with the concrete and cure efficiently if you apply it during freezing or below freezing temperatures. Solvent based concrete sealers will take days to cure, while water based sealers will end up freezing.
Acrylic sealers will only end up popping if it’s applied during the middle of the day, in hot temperatures. You’ll notice small bubbles all over the coating surface. On the other hand, penetrating sealers made of either solvent or water based formula will only end up evaporating if you apply it at noon because the sealer didn’t have ample time to be absorbed into the concrete. These are the reasons why concrete sealer should always be applied in the late afternoon or early evenings when the sun is setting.
Last but not least, remember that when sealers require two coats, the second application requires twice as much. So if your garage is 200 square feet of sealer, and the sealer covers 100 square feet in a gallon, you would need a total of three gallons of sealer.
It's always best to have more sealer than you think you may need. If you stop in the middle of the job because you’ve run out of sealer, this can cause issues with performance and appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for concrete sealer to dry?
The drying time for concrete sealers depends on the type of sealer used, temperature, and humidity.
Penetrating sealers can take from 2 up to 8 hours to completely dry. Water based acrylic sealers dry in 3-6 hours, though solvent based acrylic sealers can dry in as little as 1-3 hours. Meanwhile, epoxy and urethane coatings take the longest; it can require up to 7 full days for it to have a thorough cure. Decorative concrete sealers dry the quickest, in just 1 to 6 hours.
It’s always ideal to check for the ambient relative humidity as well as the temperature in the air before you work on applying sealer. A 50% humidity level is recommended for speedy drying of concrete while the temperatures should be around 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.