This post was most recently updated on January 19th, 2022
Which Concrete Sealer to Use – Updated 2022
As of 2022, we remain a go-to source for information on Concrete Surfaces and Which Sealer to Use. See below for a guide on Concrete Surfaces and Which Sealer to Use. If you have any questions as to the best type of concrete sealer for your project, please ask below in our Q&A area. We are here to help!
Different Concrete Surfaces and Best Sealer to Use
Decorative Concrete–This is any concrete surface that is not simply a means of construction, but that is also altered to enhance its beauty. While still serving as an integral part of the building process such as floors, walls, driveways, or patios the concrete is also transformed into a decorative piece. The altering of concrete to enhance its beauty is accomplished through a number of procedures such as stamping, acid staining, polishing, coloring, overlaying, and more.
Sealer Type to use: Use a sealer that enhances the color tones with a wet look. Typically, these are Acrylic sealers in either water or solvent-based. If solvent, use a “styrene” acrylic to allow moisture to escape. These come in a Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, and No Gloss.
Stamped Concrete–Concrete that is altered to look like another material such as brick, stone, slate, flagstone, tile, and wood. To achieve this look, the concrete is normally patterned, textured, or embossed. In addition, a base color is used along with an accent color. Stamped concrete is generally used for driveways, patios, sidewalks, pool decks, and flooring.
Sealer Type to use: Use a sealer that enhances the color tones with a wet look. Acrylic-based solvent-based are best, but there are some good water-based versions on the market. If solvent, use a “styrene” acrylic to allow moisture to escape. These come in a Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, and No Gloss. Sand grip can be added to increase the traction if needed.
Stamped Concrete Sealer Photos
Acid Stains–Acid stains on concrete is not a paint or coating, but rather a coloring process that involves a chemical reaction. Acids and salts react with the concrete minerals to create a color change. Acid stain can be used to enhance both interior and exterior concrete surfaces. Once the color change has occurred, the surface can be sealed to protect the finish.
Sealer Type to use: Wet look with a Gloss sheen is most common. Solvent “styrene” or water-based Acrylics. If indoors, you can maintain acid stains with a high-grade concrete floor wax as needed. Grip traction can be added if needed.
Pavers–Concrete brick pavers, more commonly known as “pavers” are a special dry mix of pre-cast concrete that is designed to interlock. Pavers are generally used in exterior hardscape applications. The interlocking pavers are installed on a compacted bed of sand. Sand is also used to create joints much like mortar joints in brickwork. A paver sealer can be applied to lock in the sand joints and harden the entire structure.
Sealer Type to use: Wet Look with or without a gloss shine. No wet look (no change in appearance) is okay as well. Acrylic-based in either water or solvent-based. If solvent, use a “styrene” acrylic to allow moisture to escape. These come in a Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin, and No Gloss. Many of the sealers will also harden or stabilize the joint sand to prevent erosion.
Brick Paver Sealer Photos
Exposed Aggregate–This is a type of concrete finish achieved by increasing the amount of aggregate (stone) in the concrete mix before it is poured. Once partially set, a surface retarder is sprayed on. This allows the concrete underneath to harden, but not the surface. Once the underneath concrete is hardened, the top layer of concrete is washed away, exposing the internal aggregates of the concrete mix. Exposed aggregate hides stains, cracks, and overall weathering much better than regular concrete due to the busyness of the appearance. Yet exposed aggregate is a very aesthetically pleasing finish. Older exposed aggregate surfaces can look just as good as the day they were poured.
Sealer Type to use: Acrylic solvent or water-based with a glossy shine is the most popular. Tints (usually brown) can be added to enhance the appearance even more.
Poured Concrete – A composite mix of cement and other materials like fly ash, slag, limestone, water, and chemicals. It is mixed to meet the needs of a desired concrete slab or other surfaces. It is typically brought in and poured using a cement truck. Concrete can take on many shapes, sizes, and functionalities depending on the job. Forms are set to help the concrete take its shape while a sub-base of granular fill or road base is used. Once poured, the concrete surface is smoothed, leveled, and finished to the desired look. Poured concrete is most commonly used for driveways, sidewalks, patios, pool decks, foundations, and retaining walls.
Sealer Type to use: Penetrating Sealers and Water Repellents that do not change the appearance with a shine enhancement are best. Siloxane or silane-based sealers. These vary in performance but a good quality sealer will last 5-7 years. The Siloxane will chemically react with the alkali in the concrete, creating an internal barrier to water and stains.
Penetrating Concrete Sealer Photos
Brick Walls–Brick walls are constructed using bricks and mortar. This type of brick wall construction is commonly referred to as masonry construction. The bricks are normally made of concrete, ceramic, or calcium silicate. Bricks are coated with a cement mix called mortar and stacked on top of one another in layers to create a wall or some other type of building structure. Brick walls can be used for the construction of entire buildings or houses. They are also commonly used for chimney construction, foundations, and more.
Sealer Type to use: Similar to poured concrete in that you would want a penetrating sealer that does not change the appearance. Typically, the higher the concentration of Siloxane as bricks can be very porous. The Siloxane will chemically react with the alkali in the concrete, creating an internal barrier to water and stains.
Questions on your Surface and What to Use? Please ask Below
The Best Concrete Sealers Review Video
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing, concrete sealing, and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior restoration. Scott and his restoration Michigan company have restored over 10,000 projects in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the restoration industry and has contributed to numerous restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.