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Sealing Concrete: When and Which type

Why Seal Your Concrete?

Concrete is a porous material, meaning it will readily absorb liquids. In freeze-thaw climates, such as Canada, the expansion of frozen liquids can completely destroy the surface of unsealed concrete. A sealer will prevent water from sinking into the stone. Oil, salt, fertilizer, and other household chemicals can discolor and damage concrete if it is left unsealed.

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Prior to sealing any stone, remove all dirt, oil, grease, paint, efflorescence and any previous sealers that may not be compatible with the new sealer. This can be done with a variety of products, however we recommend Stonesaver’s Concrete Cleaner and Surface Prep.

While it may be tempting to seal your interlock immediately after it has been laid, we recommend waiting a year. The reason for this is, sealing freshly produced concrete can trap efflorescence between the stone and the sealant, creating a white foggy haze. Once this haze has been created, it is extremely hard to remove. Efflorescence is the migration of the internally held salt in the water from production migrating to the surface of the porous material, where it forms a coating. Time and routine cleaning of the stone will eliminate the efflorescence as it appears.


Efflorescence prior to sealing


Which Sealer Is Right for You?

The sealer selection for interlocking pavers, brick and other types of concrete is generally based on the desired “finished” look and the degree of stain-resistance required.

The two main options for sealing your concrete are:

  • Solvent-Based Acrylic Sealers
  • Water-Based Sealers

In this blog post we’ll give you all the information needed to decide which sealer is right for you!

Solvent-Based Acrylic Sealers

 Acrylic sealers work by forming a protective film on top of the concrete. This film then protects the concrete the same way that a raincoat protects its wearer. The sealer simply provides a barrier between your concrete and the elements such as water.

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When would you use an Acrylic Sealer?

Acrylic sealers are often recommended for when the user wants to enhance the look of the concrete they are sealing. If you want to darken the appearance of your concrete, enhance its colour, and achieve a high-gloss “wet” look – then acrylic sealer may be for you.

Acrylic sealers are often used on:

  • Stamped Concrete
  • Exposed Aggregate
  • Broom Finished Concrete
  • Some Pavers

Water-Based Sealers

Contrary to acrylic sealers, water-based sealers are not coatings. They usually contain silane, siloxane, or silicates that instead chemically react with the concrete to coat the pores with a water-repelling substance. They seal from within by creating an atmosphere that simply won’t allow water to enter. It’s similar to filling a cup with wax, then trying to add water once the wax has hardened. Since the space is already occupied with a waterproof substance, there’s nowhere for the water to get in.

When would you use a Water-Based Sealer?

Water-based sealers are often recommended when the user wants to maintain the original appearance of the concrete, while still ensuring its protection from the elements.

Water-based sealers are often used on:

  • Smooth Trowelled Concrete
  • Broom Finished Concrete
  • Natural or Manmade Stone
  • Some Pavers