Concrete is not only one of the oldest types of construction materials in use, but it is also the most commonly used man-made material. Concrete can be manufactured for use in a wide range of applications, including floors and countertops. One of the best benefits of concrete is the wide range of surface finishes that can be applied before or after it hardens. Concrete with either a smooth or a decorative finish can be painted or stained, but the final touch is the application of a concrete sealer. The sealer not only protects the beauty of the concrete, but will also enhance the painted or stained appearance.
The Benefits of Concrete Sealer
There are a variety of concrete sealers to choose from for painted or stained concrete, each of which will provide its own unique finish to the concrete. Some of the benefits you can expect from concrete sealer include:
- Enhanced color intensity of the concrete
- Various sheen options ranging from a satin to high gloss
- Concrete sealers block the penetration of grease, dirt, oil, chemicals and other items that may stain the concrete
- A sealer makes the concrete easier to clean and maintain
- Provides protection against abrasion and wear
Choosing the Appropriate Concrete Sealer
Using the wrong sealer may ruin your decorative concrete installation and it is important to choose the type of concrete sealer that is compatible with the concrete surface being sealed. Make sure to check the sealer manufacturer to verify it is compatible with the decorative concrete you are putting it on. For example, some sealer's may interact with certain coloring agents in the paint, which could cause bubbling, blistering or bleeding of the color.
The VOC Content
If you intend to use a sealer that is solvent based, make sure to check the volatile organic compound (VOC) content to ensure it doesn't exceed the acceptable levels in your area. State, Federal Government and local agencies have mandated a specific allowable level of volatile VOCs for concrete sealers. Not all sealer's that are solvent based contain the same amount of VOCs. For example, some sealers contain xylene, while other solvents may contain acetone, which not produce any VOCs.
Where Will the Concrete Sealers be Used?
It is important to choose concrete sealers that will provide the best protection for the conditions that the concrete will be exposed to. For example, if you are sealing a stained concrete driveway, you will need a sealer that is designed to repel grease and oil stains as well as prevent the penetration of water or chemicals. Typically, a solvent or water-based acrylic sealer is used for exterior concrete. If you prefer less sheen and a more natural look, a penetrating sealer is excellent for outdoor stained/painted concrete. For decorative, stained/painted interior concrete, a polyurethane or epoxy concrete sealer will provide excellent protection and will be easy to maintain. When using a sealer indoors, water-based is typically safer, especially in areas without ventilation.
When choosing concrete sealers, the finish and the surface appearance are as important as the protection. If you want a wet look for your painted/stained concrete, choose a medium to high gloss sheen. A solvent based acrylic sealer will typically enhance the color and you can add an extra boost of color by adding a tint to some acrylic sealers. If you prefer a matte or low-gloss finish, you can use either penetrating concrete sealers or a flattening agent can be added to some sealers. Keep in mind that if the decorative concrete is in a high traffic area, it is important to use a slip resistant sealer.
If you need advice on which type of sealer you should use for your concrete project, contact the experts at Increte of Houston. We will be happy to help you in any way that we can. You can send us an online message or call us at 281-499-3990.