A concrete surface is capable of giving decades of use--provided you protect it adequately. One of the best ways to do this is through regular applications of concrete sealer. If you are aware of the benefits of sealing concrete, but don't know how to choose between water- and solvent-based sealers, read on. This article will discuss how they differ and how they are alike in four key categories.
The lifespans of water and solvent based sealers tend to fall into more or less the same range. Whatever variations exist have more to do with differences from manufacturer to manufacturer than they do with whether the sealer has a water or a solvent base. For that reason, it is important to carefully look over the warranty information for different sealers before selecting one from a company like EZ- Concrete Supply.
It is also important to consider that the durability of a sealer is in direct proportion to its thickness. You see, all sealers work by forming a hard, water impermeable barrier. Over time, this layer of sealer will be worn down by abrasion, traffic, etc. In other words, the thicker the sealer, the longer its effective lifespan. For this reason, it is important to always apply the recommended number of coats.
UV Light Resistance
A concrete sealer that will be regularly exposed to sunlight is at risk of damage resulting from ultraviolet light waves. UV light can easily weaken the chemical make-up of a sealer, making it more prone to chipping, cracking, and other forms of damage.
As with durability, however, there is no clear advantage for either solvent- or water-based sealers. What you'll really need to pay attention to is whether a particular sealer's base. There are two main types of sealer base: acrylic and polymer. Of the two, acrylic provides a much greater degree of protection against UV light.
Appearance is where the differences between a solvent- and a water-based sealer become more pronounced. Water-based sealers are characterized by the fact that they result in a much more opaque top layer. They tend to have a somewhat milky appearance, and are more matte than they are glossy.
Solvent-based sealers, on the other hand, yield clear and glossy results. This makes them more appealing for those who are looking to seal a decorative or colored concrete surface. The opacity of a water-based sealer can hide or even mute such underlying decorative features.