Concrete countertops are one of the most versatile counter fixings that are fast outpacing granite as the countertop of choice. In order to protect the countertops from oils, water, acids and heat you need to seal them with a countertop sealer. We prefer a penetrating countertop sealer over an epoxy/urethane/polyaspartic countertop sealer since they are easier to apply, less toxic and keep a natural, scratch free finish.
Most Important Features When Purchasing a Countertop Sealer:
- Resistance to acids, oils, wine and water, non-porous
- Resistance to heat, abrasions and etching, scratch proof
- Food safe formulation, non-toxic
Most Popular Countertop Sealer Brand Reviews:
Cheng : By far the most popular countertop sealer but we found the application process to be very labor intensive. Provides adequate protection yet we found liquids started to seep through after a few months thus forcing us to apply another coat.
V-Seal : Stonelok is an epoxy system originally used to seal floors was not originally designed for use on countertops. Claim you can use their penetrating sealers on countertops but they will not provide heat, acid and oil resistance.
enCounter : Offer either an epoxy or polyaspartic system, long dry time, concrete needs to have a rough surface porosity in order to be applied
CounterForm : Slightly glossier than expected since product claimed it would leave a natural finish. Sealed out stains yet we had to apply two additional coats in order for liquids to be sealed out.
Countertop Sealer 660 : We like that it is a sealer designed for use on countertops, formulated to specifically combat acids, oils, water and heat. It is non-toxic, completely food safe and meets the three most important features listed above while being very easy to apply. Product is sold as a concentrate so you are able to control the dilution ratios; left the natural looking finish we desired.
If you own a home or a building, it is almost a certainty that you have used concrete in the construction. Concrete is the most common man-made material on Earth, as well as being one of the strongest. Without concrete, there would be no foundations for buildings, no bridges, no sidewalks, to name just a few of the inconveniences. However, we often do not take the appropriate steps and measures to protect our concrete investments for the long term.
While concrete is strong and durable, it is a fallacy to believe that it needs no protection. In fact, without proper protection, concrete will not even be that strong or that durable. Just look at cracked sidewalks, crumbling bridges, and leaky foundations if you need further proof. Concrete can degrade due to the elements, wear, or really any number of reasons. While it has the potential to last for tens of thousands of years (theoretically), it can degrade over the course of a decade if the proper care isn’t taken.
The most cost effective way to protect concrete is to use a concrete sealer as soon as the concrete has finished curing. Without a concrete sealer, the concrete will be vulnerable to damage that could cost incredible amounts of money to repair – as many home and building owners have found out the hard way, it is a lot cheaper and easier to just prevent the damage by using a concrete sealer. Even if you move into a home or acquire a building that has not ever been sealed, it is not too late.
Concrete sealers come in a variety of types. Topical sealers like acrylics are excellent choices for decorative concrete to enhance the color, add a high gloss shine, or matte finish while protecting from sun, rain, mold and mildew. There are other surface sealers, like epoxies, urethanes, and polyaspartics, that should be used for high traffic/high chemical risk concrete surfaces that are found in places like industrial warehouses, retail stores, and even airports. There are penetrating sealers, like silicates that chemically react to densify and increase the concrete’s strength and penetrating waterproofers that create a hydrophobic barrier to prevent moisture and vapor transmission.
Basements: If you are looking to seal your basement floor look for a penetrating waterproofing sealer that will reduce hydrostatic pressure and vapor transmission. Do not use an epoxy, acrylic or latex based sealer that will peel, flake and delaminate at the first sign of water. If you are looking to seal concrete block walls or cinderblocks use a silane/siloxane blended sealer to fill the pores of the extremely porous blocks.
Patios: If you are looking to seal your patio of pavers look for a non-yellowing acrylic sealer; one that will hold up to wind driven rain and UV light. Acrylics are extremely common sealers with every manufacturer offering their version of an acrylic. Look for an industrial grade formulation, they might be pricier but they will last longer than a garden variety sealer. Acrylics are available in high gloss or a low sheen, solvent based and water based respectively. Water based versions are excellent for their low VOCs while solvent based acrylics will last a little longer.
Driveways: Look for a penetrating silane/siloxane sealer that will hold up to water, and salt degradation. Used by the Department of Transportation on all bridges and roadways, silane/siloxanes are excellent choices. Look for a silane/siloxane with a high percentage of solids since they will last longer and provide better protection.
Garages: The best garage sealers are epoxies and/or urethanes that are cyclo-aliphatic and aliphatic respectively. With these durable coatings oil and fluids have no chance to penetrate and they are easily cleaned up. Long lasting, look for a coating that will resist hot tire pickup.
Floors: For interior floors and warehouse floors look for a concrete silicate densifier that will create a smooth look after polishing. Lithium silicates are more reliable densifiers especially for densifying, hardening and increasing compressive strength.
With the extreme popularity of concrete sealers that enhance and add a wet look or high gloss shine to concrete, acrylics are the most popular and cost effective concrete sealers available. If an extreme gloss is wanted choose a solvent based variation, just make sure the VOC content is legal for your state. If a slightly less shiny finish is wanted, a matte, water based acrylic will be your best bet with low VOCs and ease of application. Solvent based sealers are usually rolled onto the surface with a nap roller, while water based sealers can be sprayer with a pump sprayer.
Best applications for acrylics include patios and pavers. Enhancing and protecting from rain, weathering and sun choose a high quality acrylic over a cheaper one. There is a reason they are more expensive, their higher percentage of solids, which aids in durability and longevity. Solvent based acrylics typically last longer than water based versions which need to be reapplied every 1-3 years, solvent based 2-5 years respectively.
Our Take: If you are looking for enhancements, wet looks or a matte finish acrylics are the way to go. Some of the longest lasting acrylics we have tried and that have stood the test of time are Cryli-Tek 5500 and Euclid’s Everclear.