Sealer Selection for Dyes & Stains
Selecting the right sealer for your stained and/or dyed concrete flooring project can be crucial to long-term success. It can also affect the color and look of the finished floor.
There are several factors you need to consider when selecting a sealer, including:
How much traffic will the floor be exposed to?
What is the desired look of the floor?
Are there any VOC or odor restrictions on the project?
Will the end user be using a sacrificial wax or floor finish to maintain the floor? If so, how often?
What is the budget?
If your floor will have a lot of foot traffic, I would recommend you avoid solvent and water-based acrylic sealers. They donít hold up!
In a perfect world Ė if your customer waxed and maintained the floor all the time Ė they would have a floor that looked great for a really long time. However, you and I both know that rarely happens. In this scenario I recommend using a two component urethane or the combination of an epoxy primer with a urethane top coat. I have found that solvent and water-based acrylics are best suited for residential projects. If they are used in commercial projects, the contractor should be clear about setting a realistic maintenance schedule for resealing.
The sealer you select will also play a role in the final color of your project, so take that into account when creating any mockups and samples for approval. As rule of thumb, water-based acrylics and epoxies will produce a lighter color, and solvent acrylics, urethanes and 100% solids epoxies will darken the concrete and give it a wet look. You will also want to determine whether you prefer a gloss or satin finish. I personally prefer using a satin finish because it looks more natural and will wear better because it doesnít show scratches as easily as a gloss finish.
For some projects you may need a low VOC or low odor sealer, such as LEED projects or in situations where you will be working in or around occupied spaces. There is nothing worse than getting back charged because you shut down the restaurant next to the project you are working on due to the smell of your sealer.
Lastly, consider whether your customer has the budget for a high performance sealer. If the cost of the finished floor is so tight that there isnít an extra $0.20 to $0.40 per square foot, this may not be possible. As much as I hate to admit it, price can sometimes be the deciding factor when selecting a sealer. I always urge my customers to use products that are most appropriate for their projects, but you canít always get the best of the best. Sealers are such an important part of what we do. This blog can barely scratch the surface of the subject, so I can promise you more to come.
Related Product & Resource Links:
Pros & Cons of Acid Stain
Pros & Cons of Concrete Dyes
Acid Stains vs. Concrete Dyes: Which is Right for the Job?