With Spring just around the corner, it is time to starting thinking about sealing your pool deck! Sealing your concrete or pavers will make sure your pool deck is protected against damage and deterioration caused by water absorption and surface abrasion.
Why should I seal my pool deck? Water, salt, and chlorine can be very damaging to your concrete and pavers. They cause cracking, spalling, pitting, and staining. Hard rains, high winds, and even foot traffic will slowly eat away at the surface of your pool deck. If left unsealed, you will find your pool deck is harder to clean, harder to maintain, and will start to show signs of deterioration. There are many benefits to sealing your concrete or paver pool deck, including:
- Sealers can help to reduce damage, deterioration, and staining caused by water absorption and surface abrasion.
- Sealers can help to reduce the growth of mold and mildew and the surface, and make it easier to clean the pool deck and keep it clean.
- Sealers can help to maintain the natural look of your concrete and pavers, or help to enhance them depending on the sealer you choose.
What should I seal my pool deck with? Which sealer you use will depend on 1) what your pool deck is currently sealed with, 2) what you want your pool deck to look like once sealed, and 3) what you want the sealer to offer in terms of life and performance.
First, let’s tackle unsealed surfaces. If your concrete or pavers are currently unsealed, you are free to use the sealer of your choosing. The two most popular categories of sealers for pool decks are penetrating water repellent sealers, and acrylic sealers.
|Type of Sealer||Appearance||Benefits||Life||Products||Non-Slip?|
|Silane-Siloxane Sealer||No Change||Reduces water absorption through concrete pores.||7-10 Years||Armor SX5000 WB, Armor SX5000||Yes|
|Solvent-Based Acrylic Sealer||Wet Look, low to high gloss, clear and color options||Enhances and protects concrete||1-3 Years||Armor AR350 (low gloss), Armor AR500 (high gloss), Armor WL550 (matte)||Non-Slip Additive Suggested|
|Water-Based Acrylic Sealer||Low to high gloss, clear||Enhances and protects concrete||1-3 Years||Armor WB25 (high gloss), Armor WB15 (low gloss)||Non-Slip Additive Suggested|
Let’s go over the above chart in more detail. If you want a sealer that works entirely below the surface without changing the look or color, and one that won’t leave behind a surface film, then you want a Silane-Siloxane sealer. Silane-Siloxane sealers work entirely below the surface. They reduce water absorption by up to 95%, reducing the damaging effects of water absorption. They don’t leave a surface film so the surface traction will remain the same. Silane-Siloxane sealers are a great sealer for those looking for a little adding protection without the maintenance. A third option under this category is a sealer like the Armor WL550. Unlike the SX5000 and SX5000 WB which don’t change the look or color, the Armor WL550 will slightly darken the surface to bring out any dull and faded coloring. It won’t leave behind a visible surface film, so surface traction will remain the same. This is a great option if you are looking for the benefits of a water repellent sealer, but you also want a wet look.
If you aren’t happy with how your pool deck looks and want a deeper wet look or low to high gloss finish, then you want an acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealers are designed to enhance the surface and provide a protective surface film. The coating takes the abuse so that the concrete or pavers don’t. Now, like with anything that leaves a surface film, acrylic sealers will be slippery when wet. For that reason it is suggested you add a non-slip additive, like the Foundation Armor Non-Slip Additive, to the topcoat. The non-slip additive is a plastic-like polymer (about the size of sugar or salt depending on which one you choose). The tiny crystals will create more traction on the surface to help reduce the slipperiness of the coating.
Solvent based acrylic sealers and water based acrylic sealers are slightly different from each other. If you want a gloss but you don’t want the surface to be darkened, then a water based acrylic sealer is best. If you want the surface look wet and you want a gloss, then a solvent based acrylic sealer is best. There are several other factors to take into consideration when choosing the best type of acrylic sealer, but it starts with knowing what you want your pool deck to look like once sealed.
Both silane-siloxane sealers and acrylic sealers are very popular options for pool decks. If you can’t decide which is best for you, you can talk to a Foundation Armor technician, or apply a few samples to your pool deck.
Before sealing your pool deck, it is also important to take into considering the sealer that you currently have down. Typically, if your pool deck is currently sealed with a water based acrylic sealer, you want to recoat with a water based acrylic sealer; if your pool deck is currently sealed with a solvent based acrylic sealer, you want to recoat with a solvent based acrylic sealer. If you want to switch from water to solvent, or solvent to water, you will need to use a coating stripper first, like the Armor CR100. If it has been years since you last sealed and there isn’t any acrylic sealer left on the surface, you may be ok to switch without using a remover, but you would want to talk to a Foundation Armor technician before doing so and they will be able to help you determine the best steps.
If you previously sealed with a water repellent sealer, you have a little more freedom. Most surfaces that were sealed with a water repellent sealer can be sealed with a solvent based acrylic sealer without issue. If the water repellent sealer is still present in the pores however, it may “bead” the water based acrylic sealer and prevent it from being able to bond.
If you have any questions about which sealer to use, or if you have compatibility questions, contact a Foundation Armor Technician and they can help determine the best pool deck sealer for your pool deck.