Concrete Sealing FAQs
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Concrete Sealing FAQs

Older concrete buildings sooner or later will need to be sealed. Areas to consider before going forward with concrete sealing include the best sealer to use, how to apply it, and suitable applications.  In this article, we’ll provide you with the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding concrete sealing.


concrete sealing

What surfaces should be sealed?

Exterior concrete surfaces in colder climates that are subject to freeze-thaw cycles should be sealed. Also, concrete may be sealed for specific purposes such as stain repellency, dust reduction, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, or to maintain an attractive appearance.



What happens if concrete is not sealed?

Concrete is a porous material that readily absorbs liquids. In freeze-thaw climates, the expansion of frozen liquids can destroy the surface of unsealed concrete. Oil, salt, fertilizer, and other chemicals can discolor and damage unsealed concrete.



How will the sealed surface look?

Depending on the type, most chemically reactive sealers are nearly invisible. However, solvent-based acrylic resin sealers and epoxies provide significant color enhancement while giving the concrete a high-gloss appearance. Water-based acrylic resin sealers provide moderate color enhancement with a satin finish whereas urethanes come in a wide range of finishes from matte to gloss. Many sealers can also be colored with translucent or opaque tints.



How is sealer applied?

Many sealers are applied using basic tools, such as paint rollers or pump-up sprayers. These include acrylic-resin sealers, reactive penetrating sealers, 50%-solids epoxies, and 50%-solids urethanes. However, high-performance sealers such as 100%-solids epoxies, polyaspartic urethanes, and polyurea require professional installation.


What will the sealer repel?

Again, that depends on the product you use. To repel water and deicing salts, use an acrylic-resin or reactive penetrating sealer. If you also want to repel oil stains, bet to use a siliconate.  Be aware that acrylic-resin sealers may be weakened by petroleum distillates. Acidic chemicals that chemically etch concrete generally weaken reactive penetrating sealers. For resistance to these substances, use a high-performance epoxy or urethane system.



How long does the sealer last?

Because they penetrate the concrete, reactive chemical sealers will last the longest and generally only wear away if the surface itself wears away, which may be 10 years or longer. You can get similar performance by using an epoxy or urethane system, which generally lasts 5 to 10 years, depending on exposure. Acrylic-resin sealers offer the shortest performance life — generally 1 to 3 years.



Is sealer environmentally friendly?

Concrete is typically locally made and can last for many decades with proper care. As sealers extend the useful life of concrete, they are an essential component of “green” building. As for the sealer itself, water-based products are generally considered the most environmentally friendly. Some solvent-based sealers cannot be sold in certain states, but new environmentally friendly solvents are now available.


For more information on concrete sealing or repair services, contact the team at Abbot Building Restoration (617) 445-0274 or

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