What is sealer – a solvent to clog pores

Sounds gross, however, not when it comes to concrete. A concrete sealer is a protective coating that will prevent water/moisture and de-icing salt from penetrating the concrete pores. It is essential to apply the concrete sealer after the curing process is complete. A sealer will help protect against discoloration, mold, corrosion, stains and basic wear and tear, such as scrapes/scratches, spalling. A sealer will also help with keeping the appearance in excellent condition furthering its life expectancy. Therefore, saving you money which is always a bonus.


The main categories of sealers are topical and penetrating. Topical sealers provide protection from damaging chemicals and stains. Almost like a coat of paint, for appearance mostly. While penetrating sealers are more reactive, seeping through the pores and reacting below the concrete surface.


How is sealer used


You will know it’s time to seal concrete when water or other solvents soak in and no longer repelled. Choosing a sealer can be frustrating. With so many products, it isn’t easy to know which to use. It is always best to read the instructions of the product carefully. There is no use in accidentally missing important information, such as specific usage resulting in wasted time and money. 


Water-based and solvent-based sealers both protect concrete. Both solutions provide aesthetic appeal to the surface of the concrete as well. Depending on what surface area is being covered will determine which one you choose. When choosing a sealer, take note of the VOCs, which is high vapor pressure that releases into the air. Solvent-based sealer is high in VOC, providing a glossy finish and are tedious to maintain. Water-based sealers have a more matte finish, easier to maintain, and are lower in VOCs.


A sealer can be rolled or sprayed onto a concrete surface. A rule of thumb to follow, solvent-based sealers will apply better sprayed on. Water-based sealers are recommended to be rolled on. Before using any sealer, you must ensure you are working with a clean surface, free from oil or other chemical solutions. As well as removing loose debris, dirt, and grime. If any repairs need to be addressed, it is best to tend to them before you do anything else. When working with freshly poured concrete, you must wait until it is fully cured. Make sure to ask your concrete pouring professional when you are able to apply the sealer safely. The job itself may take a day or two. The drying time will vary depending on the type of sealer used. 


Typically, you can determine the amount of sealer needed by the square footage of the area needing coverage. The age of concrete should also be taken into consideration. Older concrete will require an additional coat. Always make sure to have some extra sealer on hand. A good reminder, it is best to have more than not enough.  


Sealing concrete can be a do-it-yourself project. However, if you do not know what to do, and are unsure, ask a concrete pouring professional.