There are several factors that contribute to how long a concrete sealer actually lasts for, but the life of many types of concrete sealers will fall into a very specific
- Silicate Concrete Sealers: Silicate concrete sealers never break down. They spark a chemical reaction in the concrete in order to form a calcium silicate hydrate structure within the pores. Once that structure is formed, it can only be removed if the concrete itself is removed.
- Silane Siloxane Water Repellent Sealers: Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealers will last anywhere from 6 months to 10 years depending on the quality of Silane-Siloxane sealer used, and the percent solids. Most low solids solutions found in store will last 6 monts to a year, while higher solids solutions, like the Armor SX5000 and SX5000 WB will last for up to 7-10 years.
- Siliconate Water Repellent Sealers: Like with Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealers, Siliconate sealers will last anywhere from 6 months to 10 years. Most low solids solutions found in store will last 6 monts to a year, while higher solids solutions, like the Armor SC25 will last for up to 7-10 years.
- Acrylic Concrete Sealers: Acrylic sealers last 1-5 years before they need to be re-coated.
- Epoxy Coatings: Epoxy coatings last 5-10 years before they need to be re-coated.
- Urethane Coatings: Urethane coatings last 5-10 years before they need to be re-coated.
- Paint: There are too many variables to set an estimate on how long paint will last. Paint will always peel, but it could be 1-10 years before peeling.
There are several factors that contribute to the actual life of a concrete sealer:
- The quality of the product applied. There is a large difference in quality from one product to the next. The percent solids, the source of the raw materials, and the actual formula will have a large impact on how well a product performs and how long it lasts.
- The amount of coats applied. This is actually a very important factor. Unless the sealer specifically requires 1 coat, most sealers should be applied in two coats. The first coat tends to soak up in to the surface of the substrate, leaving minimal surface protection. The second coat will bond to the first coat, allowing for better protection on the surface. Silane-Siloxane sealers, acrylic sealers, epoxy coatings, and urethane coatings should always be applied in two coats to achive the longest life.
- How the product was applied. Penetrating sealers should be applied with a sprayer, and coatings should be applied with a roller. If you apply a penetrating sealer with a roller you risk applying too much or not enough sealer, and if you apply a coating with a sprayer you run the risk of not applying enough product.
- The current condition of the substrate. If there are issues with the substrate it can shorten the expected life of the sealer. For example, deterioration, old sealer, water or moisture - those can all play into reducing the life of a sealer. Porous substrates require more material and dense requires less. You need to be able to adapt to the substrate in order to provide the appropriate amount of material.
- The environment in which the sealer was applied. This is a key factor, especially when applying sealers to an exterior surface. If you apply a sealer in the morning, dew can be present on the concrete. If you apply a sealer in the middle of the day, the concrete could be hot and cause issues with curing. The best time to apply a concrete sealer outside is in the late afternoon or early evening.
- The suitability for the project. Choosing the right sealer is one of the most important factors in achieving optimal life. If you apply a urethane or epoxy coating to exterior brick, expet that it will fail. If you apply a silicate sealer to stone, expect to get white crystal formation on the surface. Sealers have very specific uses and applying them outside of their suggested uses can result in sealer or coating failure.
- Not properly prepairing the surface. The surface of the concrete should be clean, dry, and properly prepaired. If a coating requires you to grind the concrete, it should be ground. If you are applying a penetrating sealer, there shouldn't be a coating down. Surface prep is very important.
Are you protected by product warranties?
No, you aren't. We have a saying in this industry: warranties aren't to protect the consumer, they are to help the manufacturer close the sale. Sounds terrible, but it is true. If you read the "fine print" on any concrete sealer warranty, you may be surprised to find out the types of hoops you need to jump through in order to get a refund, or product replacement. We went through a few different product warranties, and here are some of the things that need to be done in order to just qualify for a refund:
- Moisture tests to prove there was no moisture in the concrete during the time of application.
- Photos and videos of the concrete before being sealed, during the sealing process, and after being sealed.
- Photos proving the outside temperature during the application and cure time.
- Proof there wasn't a rain or snow storm 1-3 days before and after the sealer was applied.
- Proof the concrete was never sealed before.
- Proof you applied the correct amount of material.
- Proof of the square footage.
- Proof you hired a licensed contractor to apply the material and proof that he was qualified to apply it.
At Foundation Armor, we don't offer warranties. It isn't because the product doesn't last - customer reviews, third party testing, and certifications have proven the quality and life of our product. We don't offer warranties because we prefer to be up front in how long a concrete sealer will last, and the factors that determine the actual life. We don't just sell products, we offer solutions. We prefer to work with the customer to make sure that they choose the best product for their application, that they understand the best way to apply that product, and that they understand how to maintain their sealer. We provide real information for real-life applications, and to us, honesty is more important than labeling a product with a warranty that is impossible to cash in on.