How Long Does Concrete Sealer Last?
Hi, welcome to the Childers Brothers blog. Today we’re here to talk to you for a couple minutes and answer this question a lot of homeowners ask:
“How long does concrete sealer last?”
As long-time Concrete Coating specialists with close to 50 years of experience working with these materials, we’d like to help you understand the basics.
First, while there are a zillion sealer products on the market, you really only need to know the three core types:
- Acrylic Resin-Based Sealers
- Epoxy Or Polyurethane Sealers
- Penetrating Sealers
Let’s look at each, step by step.
Acrylic Resin-Based Sealers | 6 Months To 3 Years
When you deal with an acrylic sealer (water or solvent-based), you’re basically applying a film atop the concrete. These are ‘film-forming’ products that don’t penetrate into the material. As you shop around, you’ll find acrylic sealers in a variety of blends – epoxy, polyurethane, silicone, etc.
This is to increase durability and extend the service lifespan of the seal. Some add coloring.
- With water-based acrylics, you get tamer coloring with a moderately glossy finish.
- With solvent-based, the finish will generally be darker and shinier with high gloss.
- Solvent-based lasts longer, but these sealers don’t tend to go beyond a few years. Because of this, they are less desirable for decorative purposes.
Like with any other home improvement product or tool, you’ve got to consider the cost-to-value ratio. There are different acrylics out there, so read labels and consider whether your particular project needs a sealer on the lower end (typically a styrene-acrylic that can yellow) or a quality pure acrylic resin on the higher end.
Speaking of costs, the following kind will usually have a much higher price tag.
Epoxy Or Polyurethane Sealers | Up To 10 Years
These are much harder, thicker layers that sit atop your concrete, providing protection against pretty much everything: chemicals, grease, gas, acids, abrasions, heavy traffic, water, and the whole nine yards.
Sounds great, right? Indeed, but there is one consideration. Because epoxy sealers are so thick, they don’t let any moisture escape the concrete. The water-based epoxies create a strong bond with older concrete, but they aren’t porous. They don’t let it breathe as it ages, which is why they aren’t typically installed on new slabs.
- Epoxy sealers can be more decorative through flakes or chips.
- The surface can be slippery, but you’ll find it incredibly easy to keep clean.
- Polyurethanes are fast-drying, and provide a cloudy or shadowing wet look.
Two other significant considerations here are the state of the concrete before the epoxy or polyurethane is applied, and how well the surface was prepared beforehand. With good preparation, these sealers can easily last a decade.
To learn more about what we do with different kinds of epoxies, visit our Concrete Coatings page.
Penetrating Sealers | Lasts The Life Of The Concrete | No Gloss
By the name, we’re betting you understand the difference: penetration. No more glossy films and shiny coatings. Penetrating sealers get into the concrete and bond with it.
Afterward, you never have to worry about re-sealing like you do with acrylics or epoxies. These last the life of the concrete. In order to remove it, you have to chip out and remove the entire treated layer.
Now that you have an idea of the main types of sealers, here’s a wrap up:
- Acrylics Need To Be Reapplied Every 1-3 Years
- Epoxies & Polyurethanes Last Between 5-10 Years
- Penetrating Sealers Can Last 25 Years
If we turn to one of the nation’s largest manufacturer of these products concerning driveways, for example, here’s how they summarize:
“Ultimately, longevity depends on the specific sealer you choose, the climate, the surface type, and the amount of pressure the surface experiences over time. If you notice even the slightest cracking in your driveway, you’ll generally want to seal immediately.”
Here at Childers Brothers, we serve a large area of northern Texas — basically anywhere within 300 miles of Amarillo. So, our freeze-thaw cycle may be different from yours. It’s just something to be aware of relative to any outdoor concrete slabs you’re maintaining.
The last part is the different kinds of penetrating sealers. Just to be thorough, here they are in brief. In all honesty, you should really think about talking with professionals before attempting any DIY concrete sealing projects.
- Silane (10-25 Years): The most expensive and deepest penetrating option.
- Silicate (10-25 Years): These also last, and are typically best for polished concrete.
- Siliconate (10-25 Years): These are ideal for blocking moisture and/or curing new concrete. Residential driveways are a typical application.
- Siloxane (3-5 Years): These have the shortest lifespan and provide the least penetration.
It really comes down to water, and wear & tear. You can find lots of opinions on how often to reseal residential concrete, or even commercial concrete, but no one can deny their levels of protection!
Wrapping Up: Need Help? Call Professionals
Some people are handier than others, and some folks prefer to hand home improvement projects to the professionals. If you’re in our part of the country, don’t hesitate to call Childers Brothers. We can answer your questions, address any concerns you might have for your concrete, and talk solutions. Thanks for your time today, and we look forward to hearing from you.