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The Difference Between a Water-Based and a Solvent-Based Acrylic Concrete Sealer

Acrylic sealers are available in water based and solvent based formulas. One type of acrylic sealer isn’t necessarily better than the other, but there are several differences between them that will impact look, life, application, and maintenance. Which type of acrylic sealer is best for your application will depend on your preferences and application environment.

Look: Solvent based acrylic sealers will darken the surface of the concrete to make it look wet, while water based acrylic sealers will provide little to no change in the color of the concrete. If you like what your concrete looks like when wet, and want a color enhancement, a solvent based acrylic sealer is the best option. If you like what your concrete looks like now and want little to no color enhancement, a water based acrylic sealer is the best option.

Odor: Solvent based acrylic sealers have an odor during application and until fully cured, while water based acrylic sealers have little to no odor. If you are sensitive to odors or live in an area where odors will bother your neighbors, a water based acrylic sealer is the best option.

Repair: Solvent based acrylic sealers can easily be repaired with Xylene or the Armor Blush Repair, but water based acrylic sealers can’t. If issues arise during application or after, water based acrylic sealers need to be removed and reapplied.

Maintenance: If issues arise during the life of a solvent-based acrylic sealer, such as bubbling or hazing, solvent based acrylic sealers can be repaired with Xylene or Armor Blush Repair. If issues arise during the life of a water-based acrylic sealer, the water-based acrylic sealer can’t be repaired and will need to be removed and reapplied.

Re-Application: When it comes time to reapply a solvent based acrylic sealer, you simply put a fresh coat onto a clean and dry surface. When it comes time to reapply a water based acrylic sealer, there are 3 likely scenarios.  Re-application of water-based acrylic on a surface that is degraded to the point where you can no longer see any sealer, simply apply 2 new coats of sealer.  For smooth flat surfaces you may be required to screen-sand the surface before applying a new coat of water-based acrylic.  If the water-based acrylic sealer is failing or delaminating it is suggested to remove the old sealer before applying.

If you are looking for a water based acrylic sealer, consider the Armor WB15 or Armor WB25. If you are looking for a solvent based acrylic sealer, consider the Armor AR350, Armor AR500, or Armor AX25.

For help with choosing the best acrylic sealer for your application, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Foundation Armor technician.

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The Armor AX25 is a solvent based siloxane-infused high gloss acrylic sealer. It offers superior water repellency benefits, making it the perfect sealer for pool decks and areas constantly exposed to water.

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