Acrylic Sealers: Topical and Penetrating

example of acrylic sealers for concreteDecorative concrete is a porous material, and it needs to be sealed to maintain its beauty. Selecting a suitable type of sealer for your specific application can ensure that your decorative concrete will last for years to come. There are currently several concrete sealing products available.

Because each sealer has different strengths and weaknesses, it is important that the correct sealer is chosen for your application. Unfortunately, a sealer that is not appropriate for your needs can be very difficult (and expensive) to remove without damaging the floor. Our consultants can work with you to help you choose the correct sealer for your floors.

Below are the most common types of concrete sealers. Note that the two main types are topical and penetrating sealers.

Topical Sealers

Topical or surface sealers protect the surface and resist penetration from chemicals, rust, oils, salts, water, and many other stains. Topical sealers generally provide visual color enhancement as well as topical protection. Each of these sealers needs reapplication at varying lengths of time.

Acrylic (available in high gloss and matte finish) – $

An acrylic concrete sealer is the most common type of topical sealer used today. It is generally used in residential or light commercial applications. Acrylic resins are somewhat softer compared to the other types.

Acrylics are also appropriate for outdoor applications due to their UV resistance and breathability. Acrylic sealers will require reapplication more often than the other sealers.

Epoxy (available in high gloss and matte finish) – $$

Epoxy concrete sealers are frequently used in commercial and industrial settings. They are applied much thicker and have greater scratch and abrasion resistance compared to an acrylic sealer. Epoxy, however, does not allow moisture to escape. They should not be applied over slabs with moisture problems. These sealers require more floor preparation, which increases the cost, but they have a longer time between reapplication.

Urethane (available in high gloss and matte finish) – $$$

A urethane concrete sealer is the most durable and the most expensive of the concrete sealers. Urethane sealers are usually meant for very high traffic or industrial uses. They are the most scratch, abrasion, and chemical resistant topical sealers available. These sealers also have the longest life cycle before reapplication is required.

Penetrating Sealers

Penetrating sealers sometimes referred to as “impregnating” sealers, go into the concrete pores to form a barrier beneath the concrete’s surface. They are commonly used in conjunction with diamond polished concrete.

These sealers do not offer as much protection against chemical intrusion as topical sealers do. When used with concrete polishing, however, they offer the highest scratch and abrasion resistance possible.

The main types of penetrating sealers are:

  • Silicates (Lithium, Sodium, and Potassium)
  • Silanes
  • Siliconates

Penetrating sealers generally do not significantly modify or enhance the concrete’s appearance.

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