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Design Ideas: Concrete Floor Info

No decorative concrete floor installation is complete without the application of a sealer. Taking the time to put down this final layer of protection not only prolongs the life of your floor, but can also enhance and preserve its appearance. Here's a list of common questions about concrete sealers and how they work to protect your floor.

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COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT CONCRETE FLOOR SEALERS

  • What does a concrete sealer do?

    A concrete floor sealer will beautify and preserve your floor. Sealing brings out the beauty of a concrete floor by enhancing the color and adding sheen. Sealing also preserves the decorative treatment by protecting the floor surface from abrasions and stains. Some floor sealers form a protective film on the surface of the concrete, while others penetrate into the floor.

  • What types of sealers are used on interior concrete floors?

    Film-forming sealers (those that form a protective film on the concrete surface) are the type most often used for interior decorative concrete work. In the category of film formers, however, you'll find several different types, each with advantages and limitations. Learn more about the types of concrete sealer.

  • Is the sealer compatible with my decorative treatment?

    What will the sealer be applied to? Stained concrete, a floor overlay, a polished and dyed floor? Be sure to check with the sealer manufacturer to verify the compatibility of its product with the decorative surface it will be put on. Some sealers may interact with certain overlays or coloring agents, resulting in unwanted side effects such as blistering, bubbling, or bleeding.

  • Which sealers will protect my floor from scuffs or stains?

    For a decorative interior floor, a high-build sealer with good resistance to scuffs and staining, such as a polyurethane or epoxy, will generally provide the best protection and be easier to maintain, especially in a high-traffic retail environment. Softer acrylic sealers usually require regular maintenance with several coats of a sacrificial floor finish, or wax, to prevent wear and black heel marks. View this comparison chart of concrete sealers.

  • Are concrete sealer fumes toxic?

    When working indoors, it's usually safer to use a water-based rather than solvent-based sealer, especially if the area can't be ventilated. Solvent-based concrete sealers are extremely flammable and the toxic fumes they emit can be hazardous to breathe. They also may contain volatile VOCs. Learn more about checking the VOC content.

  • How do I know which sealer will provide the right sheen that I want on my floor?

    If you're after the look of polished marble, choose a sealer with a medium- to high-gloss sheen. Most acrylic sealers are available in a range of sheen levels. For applications where a high shine is not desirable, you can also find film-forming sealers with matte or low-gloss finishes.

  • How long will the sealer last on my floor?

    The life expectancy of a sealer depends, in part, on exposure conditions and how well the floor is maintained. In general, epoxies and urethanes deliver the best long-term performance and can last years before the need for reapplication. When it comes to sealers, you get what you pay for, says technical expert Chris Sullivan. Avoid the temptation to pinch pennies. You don't want a protective finish that will wear away after only a year or so. See Sullivan's advice on sealer selection.

HOW TO SEAL CONCRETE FLOORS

  1. Allow recently poured concrete to cure fully
  2. Let stains or overlays dry thoroughly before sealing
  3. Remove baseboards or cover them for protection
  4. Clean the concrete floor and wait for it to dry
  5. Wear protective gear and clothing
  6. Open doors and windows for proper ventilation
  7. Apply a thin coat of concrete floor sealer and let dry
  8. Apply a second coat in the other direction, let dry
  9. Wax the surface of the floor to prolong the life of the sealer
  10. Reapply the sacrificial wax as it wears off
  11. Reseal your concrete floor every few years
Floor Sealer Videos

Why Use a Sealer on Your Concrete Floor?
Time: 01:30
Using a sealer on your new concrete floor prevents a variety of costly problems from occuring.

Sealing Your New Concrete Floors
Time: 01:49
Find out when sealer should be applied and how to select the right sealer for your new floor.