What is the best penetrating concrete sealer?
If the primary concern for your concrete is to protect it, waterproof it, prevent concrete dusting, and resist staining without worrying about having the latest cosmetic finish, then a penetrating sealer may be what you are looking for. Why do you ask? Well, it is assumed that the main reason people want to apply a coating or covering to an interior or exterior floor is to make it look nice. But if you are not concerned about how nice it looks, but rather how well it performs without a lot of expense and preparation then a penetrating sealer is your best bet.
What makes silanes, siloxanes, and siliconates different than other coatings is the fact that they actually penetrate (hence the name) into the concrete to create a protective barrier. Other sealers such as acrylic, epoxy, and polyurethanes are topical in nature. Which means they sit on the surface and form a protective film or coating. A silane, siloxane and siliconate sealer works by impregnating the concrete forming a hydrophobic surface barrier. In essence, water and liquids will bead and resisting stains and the concrete surface also becomes more resistant to wear.
Additional benefits to consider include resistance to mold and mildew and protection from deicing salts. A penetrating sealer also has the added benefits of freeze thaw protection, pitting and spalling. Since the sealer is clear with a natural looking finish without any sheen, it has the same anti-slip protection as bare concrete.
Other factors to consider about a penetrating sealer are expense and ease of application. These sealers are usually priced quite reasonable and since they are long lasting (10 years or so) sealers. Also application of a penetrating sealer is much easier than applying a coating or even painting for that matter.
Our take: If you want to protect your concrete with minimal preparation and expense, then a silane/siloxane, or siliconate penetrating sealer is definitely worthy of your consideration. We like this one from HomeDepot.com.