While the concrete sealer market is roughly divided into the two categories of penetrating versus surface sealers, how do you tell which surface sealer is right for your particular project. While there are not a lot of different types of surface sealers, it is important to be knowledgeable of the differences in order to choose the appropriate product.
Acrylic sealers are probably the most common type of sealer. Used for lightweight projects and surface touches, acrylic sealers are solutions comprised of large particles of acrylic sealant suspended in either water or some sort of solvent, depending on if you opt for a water- or solvent-based product. Once applied to the concrete surface, the large particles remain on the surface to be spread out evenly.
Acrylic sealers offer a general level of protection: nothing too comprehensive, but nothing to sneeze at either. An acrylic sealer is a great choice for decorative concrete that is more delicate that poured or stamped concrete, as well for surfaces that do not see a large amount of heavy traffic and risk of abrasions or spills. The better acrylic sealer products offer UV protection, slip resistance, and will resist the passage of water into the concrete. Instead of penetrating within the concrete to chemically react, an acrylic sealer will act more like a raincoat to block the entrance of water at the surface.
Epoxy sealers, on the other hand, are another extremely popular concrete surface sealer. These products are significantly stronger than acrylic sealers, featuring a high level of adhesion to the concrete substrate. Once applied to the substrate, epoxy sealers offer excellent wear and abrasion resistance, all while effectively protecting the surface of the concrete from extreme chemical spills.
Due to their inherent strength, especially compared to an acrylic sealer, epoxies are the sealer of choice for projects that do not require a penetrating sealer. As a surface sealer, their strength, reliability, and longevity cannot be beat. You will commonly find epoxy sealers in industrial warehouses, large retails stores, and even airports – all of these places feature a high level of traffic that can lead to disastrous wear. Epoxies, like acrylics, are surface-level concrete sealers that are the right choice for more in-depth projects requiring a more comprehensive level of protection, while acrylics are better for residential and lighter applications.