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Different Concrete Sealer Types 4/5 (4)

Update May 2017

As of 2017, there have not been any major updates with the different sealer types for concrete available on the market. 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!

Concrete Sealer and Water Repellent Types

Sealing concrete will protect the surface from elements, deicing salts, spills, mold/mildew infiltration, and freeze/thaw damage. Knowing this, many homeowners have elected to seal their concrete surfaces. Whether it is a driveway, sidewalk, pool deck, or patio these surfaces can benefit greatly from being sealed.

There are many concrete sealer types and it can be a bit confusing deciding which product is best for your concrete. A general description of the most common concrete sealer types will make your buying decision a little easier.Penetrating Concrete Sealers

Penetrating sealers react chemically with the concrete to shield against moisture. These sealers can dive up to a ½” into the surface and are normally used when repelling water is critical such as in horizontal surfaces. These types of concrete sealers provide excellent protection from salts, efflorescence, and freeze/thaw damage. Penetrating sealers in general do not affect the appearance of the concrete surface and are a matte finish.

Filming Concrete Sealers

Like their name suggests, filming concrete sealers form a thin protective film on the concrete surface and are typically very breathable.  The most common type of film forming sealers are the acrylics. This film provides a layer of protection on top of the concrete. Filming concrete sealers can alter the appearance of the concrete. Depending on the type (water based or solvent based) the concrete may appear darker and/or have a shiny appearance.

Enhancing (Wet Look) Concrete Sealers

These types of sealers are generally used to enhance the appearance of the concrete hence their name. They form a thicker film atop the concrete than the thinner film created by the filming sealers. Enhancing concrete sealers come in a wide range of sheens. They can be glossy, semi-gloss, satin, matter, or no shine. Pigment can be added to some of these sealers if additional color is desired. The thick, durable, abrasion resistant finish repels water and provides a long lasting finish.

Gloss and “Wet Look” Concrete Sealers

These types of concrete sealers have a high percentage of solid contents. They are great for darkening brick pavers, exposed aggregate or stamped concrete surfaces. The surface darkens as if wet once the sealer is applied and it stays that way. Many homeowners like the “wet look” of this type of high gloss sealer. It can restore the original color of faded surfaces while providing adequate moisture protection.

Knowing about the most common concrete sealer types can help you in your buying decision. The most important factor is to protect your concrete with some type of quality concrete sealer to either enhance its beauty, increase longevity or both.

Any Questions on the Different Types of Sealers for Concrete? Please Ask Below.


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56 responses to “Different Concrete Sealer Types”

  1. Harry Pantelas says:

    I have approx. 7000 sq. ft. of stamped concrete and stone (sweet water) mix. I've tried water base sealers in the pass however it did not last long (approx. 6 months). I'm looking for a sealer to enhance and protect the deck. I do not want a high gloss look –semi gloss would be ok. I have not considered the lacquer base sealer because I heard they have a tendency to peel. Please advise. Thank You

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Harry, for a water based try: Masonry Saver Decorative Concrete Sealer. For solvent based: SuperSeal Matte

  2. chuck says:

    what is best for concrete porch in north carolina

  3. Concrete Sealer Help says:

    Sorry but not sure if there is a product for this.

  4. sara says:

    Colorado
    Exterior
    Horizontal
    Wet Gloss
    Stamped Colored Concert (100% Sunlight Exposer all Year, High Altitude, Dry Weather)

    Unfortunately 1) Concert was poured as a grey mix then 2) Powder color was sprinkled on top 3 )Stamped 4)Sealed with a poor sealer bubbled with in hours 5) Scrap the bubbles out 7) Fired the professional 8) Hired new Professional 6) Sand blasted the top surface 7) Sealed with a nice finish. Yes, I hired a professional to do this work!
    Now it has a dusty look even thought it is clean, also loosing color.
    Should I have the top surface colored then sealed or have it

  5. Greg says:

    I have a concrete slab -apron that we be 2yrs old come sept it was never sealed. It is flaking all over from MN salt what can I do to this now ?

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Try sealing to cure internally with the SuperSeal M Water Repellent for this plain poured concrete slab.

  6. Becky says:

    I have an approximately 70 year old, attached, concrete garage with a concrete slab patio on top of it. Half of the garage is built underground and the patio opens into our house. The garage has been leaking for years, growing worse every year. We cannot replace it at this time. 5 years ago, a company applied a new slab with a membrane barrier to stop the leaks and it was not done properly and it did not work. We were told recently that perhaps an industrial strength sealer with "expansion" ability (to seal up the cracks in the joint lines) would work. We have tried 'home repair store' water sealers that do not work AT ALL. Really need to seal this concrete so the garage stops leaking underneath the patio as we are growing an increasingly dangerous mold farm out there!

  7. Jill says:

    We have a new exposed aggregate driveway in coastal California. It had to be sandblasted to expose the aggregate and we are unsure of the best sealant choice at this time. We do not want a shiny/glossy surface and also want to avoid a sealer that will peel or turn yellow. Although we are in a drought/limited rainfall area we do get morning dew/ salt water exposure.
    Any suggestions? Thank you.

  8. Manny says:

    I've approximately 7,560 sq ft of concrete paved driveways, patios and walkways poured in 2006 and located in Colorado at an elevation of 9,300 ft where the UV is pretty brutal. The concrete is colored through and through with a light pinkish tan tint mixed in during its original mixing process. It is subjected to low traffic so it is still in good shape but the color has faded somewhat over the last 8 years. Also, we get a good bit of snow every year and numerous freeze/thaw cycles.

    I am looking primarily to protect the structural integrity of the material but would also like to restore some of the color. I'm not necessary looking to get a wet or glossy look. I would appreciate some advice on the type of sealer to use, application method and quantity to cover the area involved.

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Manny, for an enhancement to the color with no shine you should try the Surebond SB-6000. It will also seal and protect the surface. It can be rolled on sprayed on. You will need a decent amount. At least 10 of the 5 gallon pails.

  9. Gayle Thieman says:

    We have approximately 1000 sq ft of concrete pavers installed one year ago. The efflorescence is gone, and we are ready to clean and seal the pavers. The building materials company recommended Paver Guard which will seal the pavers and leave a wet look. However, the info sheet says not to use around a pool due to potential slipperiness when wet. We don't have a pool but we live in the northwest where it rains much of the time from October to May, and we walk across the patio multiple times/day to get to our workshop. Will this type of product cause us to slip especially when it rains and then the temperature drops below freezing (typically a few weeks of the year).

  10. Jason S. says:

    I have a driveway poured in February of 1998. The top surface is now crumbling. Most likely because it was poured in winter months and didn't dry properly. I've powerwashed it clean and now I'm looking for the best product to prevent further freeze/thaw damage…

  11. Ken H says:

    I have a 24' X 24' boathouse; the roof structure is 4" of concrete atop galvanized steel atop steel trusses spanning the boathouse. The boathouse is built into a steep slope going down to our lake so the concrete roof also serves as my deck. The structure is old & the concrete has thin cracks in it, which leak severely into the boathouse when it rains. I spent many hours one summer filling the cracks with SikaFlex, which worked well for the first year, but after 3 years the roof is leaking badly again; no new visible cracks & the SikaFlex is firmly in place.

    Is there a concrete sealer I can apply to gain a few more dry years out of this roof before tearing it down & rebuilding?

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Sealers will not stop the leaks as they will not fix the issues which is the cracks or something else. It would help if the water is seeping all the way through the 4\” of concrete but that would be very rare. It most likely is coming in from somewhere else.

  12. Ashley Scoggins says:

    I live in a 50 year condominium in Houston Texas. The patio's around the building have some cracks and are leaking into the basement directly below these patios. Is there a product to seal the cracks and to generally seal the surface of the patios?

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      You cannot seal cracks with a sealer. You can fill cracks with a crack filler then seal the surface.

  13. DannyT says:

    I have a stair case build with large concrete pavers (2.5 inches thick, 12×24, two wide) grouted with what looks to be typical mortar. Underneath is a storage room. I don't believe it was ever sealed. Water is currently getting through cracks (1/8) in the mortar. I want to seal it and stop all water penetration, so I considered using silicone in the mortar cracks rather than mortar (attempting to match may prove difficult) and then use a silicone based sealer. The steps lead to pool, and I am concerned about making them slippery… can you provide guidance?

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Using a silane or siloxane based sealer will help prevent seepage through the pavers and is not slippery. Try the SuperSeal-M. The issue is the cracks in the mortar. Not sure of you can stop here as water will find a way through.

  14. Michael says:

    I have just moved into a house that has a brick patio and driveway that was likely built in 1990. Some of the mortor is starting to decay in spots, and the surface has a good bit of mold…. In general, the patio is in descent shape. the driveway has a few cracks that have been sealed, and also has a good bit of mold.

    Will a sealant help to prolong the life of both? Will pressure washing significantly damage the surfaces?

    Lastly, are sealants easy to apply for a do-it-yourselfer? Do you recommend professionals?

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Are these regular bricks with mortar between or brick pavers with joint sand? Washing should not damage the bricks and sealing should help to reduce further decay and damage to the bricks.

      • Michael says:

        The patio is regular bricks with mortar between… the driveway is just cement.

        Your recommendation on which sealant for the brick patio?

        Re the driveway, some cracks have been filled… assume its best to re-fill the cracks, then seal. Can you recommend a sealer for the driveway too?

        BTW, I am located in Atlanta GA.

        • Concrete Sealer Help says:

          Try a water repellent sealer like the SuperSeal-M or Masonry saver Heavy Duty. You can use the same sealer for both.

  15. Brenda says:

    My cats have decided to pee on the rough concrete floor in the basement. I bought an enzyme cleaner to lift the urine out of the concrete. After this, I want to seal the floor to discourage more peeing and to be able to wipe any pee up.

    Would a penetrating sealer be the best?
    Any suggestion as to a particular kind?
    How long after the application of the enzyme cleaner (which is liquid) do I have to wait before I can seal?

    Thanks!

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Yes a penetrating sealer will work but a filming sealer will make it easier to clean up. Both will work. Do you care on the appearance?

  16. Rob says:

    I'm in northern Utah. I have a flat 20' x 29' concrete slab patio (six sections), a flat sidewalk, a flat 16' x 9' slab where we're going to install a shed, and a sloped driveway. All basic concrete. We're planning to cover the back patio with an awning soon, but it may not happen until next year, we'll see. I want it to look good, but ultimately I care more about protection and low maintenance than I do about it looking fabulous. What kind of sealer would you recommend? Reading this article, it sounds like maybe I want a penetrating, but maybe a polyurethane? Is a penetrating alone good enough? And how often can one expect to reapply each of these? I'd love to get my hands on the longest-lasting thing. Thank you!

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      You cannot apply a poly to concrete. Use a penetrating siloxane based sealer like Super Seal-M or Masonry Saver Heavy Duty Water Repellent.

  17. Jana says:

    I live in Northern Kentucky and am sealing a 15 year concrete driveway that has not been sealed before. The driveway has a brushed texture to it I am going to powerwash/clean the area. I will also be filling in cracks and doing some minor repairs. What is your recommendation on the product I should use. Thank you, jc

  18. Lyla says:

    Home is in Washington State…about 10 years old…architecturally designed by previous owners.

    There is a considerable amount of concrete brick pavers interlaced with decorative concrete borders about 3 feet wide.

    I don't know what the previous sealant was nor, if, in fact, it was sealed. My mention of the 'architecturally designed' aspect is relative to my assumption that it would have been.

    What product should I use on these varying surfaces without knowing this history?

    Thank you for your help!

  19. James V. Lamb says:

    Which type sealer is best for a patio (outdoor) with a freshly applied concrete dye?

  20. Panacal says:

    Greetings. Could you please tell me what you currently recommend as the best water based wet look sealer for concrete driveway pavers in a cold climate with lots of freeze/thaw and road salt. Thank you.

  21. Diana Solano says:

    I just got new concrete paths in my garden. Unfortunately, the contractor made a big mistake. It was supposed to be lovely aggregate to match my driveway. He poured plain concrete. Can you please advise what kind of concrete sealant I could use to make it look better? I don't want stamped concrete. I wanted something that will look natural/ go some way towards matching the existing aggregate. I would be very grateful for your advice. It's a lot of concrete, so it has to look good.
    Diana

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      It is not possible to make regular concrete look like the aggregate. Sealing it with a wet look sealer will not work either for plain poured concrete. It dries blotchy and uneven. Looks bad.

  22. Murray King says:

    I have a concrete deck around my in-ground pool in western PA. Concrete was poured containing a tan dye, 6 years old and beginning to fade. Want to seal it with a sealer that allows pigment to be added.

  23. Linda B. says:

    I have a 7 year old home with an aggregate driveway. A section of it had to be repoured during construction due to cracking and the color has never truly matched. Is there a product I can apply to make all the sections match without a drastic color change?

  24. Markus says:

    Good afternoon,

    Last year we pressure washed our driveway.. sat to dry for 5 hot days.. then applied the primer .. sat for 5 days … then applied 2 coats of the Behr concrete stain (off white) — it looks wonderful a year later.

    I would like to apply a sealer to it to avoid potential stains, friends with leaky vehicles, weather issues…. what would you recommend.?

    • Concrete Sealer Help says:

      Hello, you cannot apply a sealer over a concrete paint.

      • Markus says:

        Good morning,

        The corporate officer from Eagle recommended using EAGLE ARMOR SEAL…. it's on the shiny side, but it won't have any problems collaborating with the Behr concrete stain(according to him)

        — your thoughts.?

  25. Becky Chao says:

    Can you tell me how the Ghostshield Siloxa-tek 8500 compares to these other products for concrete and brick coping pool deck with a saltwater pool in los angeles, ca

    Thank you
    Becky

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