Concrete sealers are designed to alter the appearance and material qualities of the concrete surfaces that they are applied to. However, there are a wide variety of different concrete sealers on the market, each of which possesses a different set of qualities and is best suited for unique purposes. Understanding the differences between the four main variants of concrete sealers can help you pick the sealant that is the right fit for your needs.
Penetrating sealers are designed solely for use on exterior concrete surfaces, and are designed to help protect the concrete that they are applied on from moisture and freeze damage. This can help prevent cracks developing over time due to weather exposure, extending the lifespan of your concrete surfaces. Further, penetrating sealants, like their name would seem to suggest, work by penetrating into the surface of concrete, which means that they do not alter the appearance of the concrete that they are applied to.
Acrylic sealants, on the other hand, are applied on top of the concrete. They are designed for both interior and exterior use and come in a wide variety of different shades, colors, and sheens. Acrylic based sealants can be both water and solvent based: water based sealants are cheaper, but solvent based sealants can stand up to more wear and tear. Finally, while acrylic sealants do provide some moisture protection, they will need to be maintained to a much higher degree than penetrating sealants and do not protect concrete from freezing temperatures.
Polyurethane sealants operate in much the same way as acrylic sealants, and sit on top of the concrete surface they are applied on. However, they are much thicker than acrylic sealants, providing a much better degree of physical and moisture protection. The finish of polyurethane is much more durable, and will not require as much maintenance or regular reapplications, and can even withstand chemical staining. However, polyurethane sealants take more effort to install, as they take some time to cure.
Epoxy sealants are applied in a thick surface layer over concrete surfaces and come in a primer and sealant pairs, which makes the application process a little more involved (though some store-bought brands will be mixed together). They provide the most durable surface level finish of all the sealants and are able to withstand moisture and wear and tear without fading. Like polyurethane and acrylic, epoxies can come in a wide variety of different shades and colors. However, epoxies are limited to interior use, as extended UV exposure can alter and fade the color of the sealant.
Contact a company like Burns Brothers Concrete Construction Corporation for more information and assistance.