Stained concrete could transform an old, drab and monotonous patio, sidewalk or driveways into fabulous works of art. Stained concrete provides a great new look, which you can show off as it enhances the value and appearance of your home. Stained concrete is the best alternative to give your house a facelift without having to replace the old concrete you have.
When you decide or already have stained concrete in your house, stained concrete sealers is a must. Stained concrete sealers intended for exterior applications must be acrylic so that moisture would be able to escape from the slab. Acrylics, which are solvent-based, usually work better for outdoor use than those that are water-based. The silicone-based and penetrating sealers are more advisable for those applications in which a wet look or a shiny look is not desired. One good indoor application would consist of a coat of a solvent-based acrylic, which is followed by a water-based acrylic topcoat application. Floor maintenance can also be done through the application of some water-based acrylic waxes or sealers.
For the interior slabs, there are three kinds of sealers that can be used: epoxies, urethanes and acrylics.
Epoxy sealers are a lot harder than the acrylic sealers. The epoxy sealers, which are water-based, are able to bond well to the concrete surface and also give a clear finish. However, they are not porous so trapped moisture is not allowed to escape. Epoxies could probably well be the best choice for food preparation areas and concrete countertops. Some disadvantages of using this kind of stained concrete sealer are that they are not resistant to UV rays and reapplication requires a more elaborate preparation compared to acrylic sealers.
Although the urethane sealers are the most expensive give the finish, which is most resistant to abrasives. However, urethanes do not perfectly bond with concrete so they need to be applied on top of the applications of the water-based epoxy sealers. Reapplication could get quite expensive as well and are not UV stable.
Acrylic sealers are the most inexpensive and can easily be applied and reapplied as needed. They are also UV stable. However, acrylic sealers offer the softest surface among the three sealer types and need the most maintenance. The solvent-based acrylics are relatively softer than the water-based products. The look of colored finishes can also be enhanced by the wet look acrylics can provide.