Stained Concrete Sealer Application
Surface sealers for exterior applications should be acrylic to allow moisture in the slab to escape. Solvent-based acrylics generally perform better than water-based products for outdoor use. Silicone-based penetrating sealers are recommended for applications where a shiny or wet look is not desirable. A good indoor application consists of one coat of solvent-based acrylic followed by a topcoat application of water-based acrylic. Floor maintenance can be performed with additional applications of water-based acrylic sealers or waxes.
For interior slabs, three primary types of sealers are used: acrylics, urethanes, and epoxies. Acrylics are UV stable, inexpensive, and easy to apply or reapply, as necessary. But they have the softest surface of the three and require the most maintenance. Solvent-based acrylic sealers are softer than water-based products. They also provide a wet look that greatly enhances the appearance of colored finishes.
Epoxy sealers are much harder than acrylics. Water-based epoxies bond well to concrete and provide a clear finish, but they are nonporous and do not allow trapped moisture to escape. Epoxies are probably the best choice for concrete countertops and food-preparation areas. They are not UV-resistant, and reapplication involves more elaborate preparation than for acrylics.
Urethane sealers, though the most costly, provide the most abrasive-resistant finish. However, they don't bond well to concrete, so they must be applied over water-based epoxy applications. They are not UV-stable, and reapplication is expensive.
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