Penetrating Concrete Sealer Review
Penetrating concrete sealers are designed to penetrate into the surface of the concrete and chemically react below the surface to protect the concrete from within the pores. Penetrating sealers do not leave behind a visible surface film, nor will they change the look or color of the concrete.
Under the category of penetrating sealers there are Hardeners and Densifiers, and Water Repellent Sealers. Hardeners and Densifiers will increase the strength and density of the concrete while Water Repellent Sealers will cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface. Which penetrating sealer is best for your concrete application will depend on where the concrete is located, the condition of the concrete, and the reason for sealing.
Penetrating Concrete Hardeners and Densifier Sealers
Concrete Hardeners and Densifiers chemically react below the surface to form a permanent Calcium Silicate Hydrate barrier below the surface in the pores of the concrete. The two most popular types of concrete hardeners and Densifiers are Sodium Silicate sealers and Lithium Silicate sealers. Both silicate sealers will form the same CSH structure below the surface, the primary difference being that Lithium Silicates tend to react faster making them a better sealer for dense concrete. Surfaces sealed with a silicate based sealer can experience an increase in strength of up to 45%. For a sodium silicate sealer consider the Armor S2000, and for a Lithium silicate sealer consider the Armor L3000.
Concrete Water Repellent Sealers
Water repellent sealers chemically react below the surface to form a long lasting hydrophobic barrier within the pores. The most common types of water repellent sealers are Silane sealers, Siloxane sealers, and Silane-Siloxane blend sealers. While Silane sealers and Siloxane sealers offer many benefits, a Silane-Siloxanesealers offers a more powerful combination above and below the surface. Silane sealers are known for reducing penetration while Siloxane sealers are known for their surface bead. Using a Silane-Siloxane blend gets you a reduction in penetration and water absorption on and below the surface. Water repellent sealers are designed to reduce the damage caused by water absorption such as staining, cracking, spalling, pitting, freeze thaw damage, salt damage, and the growth of mold and mildew. Water repellent sealers can be used alone, or apply to concrete previously sealed with a concrete Hardener or Densifer Sealer. For a SilaneSiloxane sealer consider the Armor SX5000, DOT approved Silane-Siloxane water repellent.
While Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealers are popular in the commercial market, Siliconate water repellent sealers are starting to get more recognition. They are a cost effective alternative to SilaneSiloxane sealers and often only require one coat. If you are a homeowner looking for a cost effective solution, or a contractor looking for a one-coat sealer, a Siliconate sealer may be a great choice. For a siliconate sealer, consider the Armor SC25.