Your newly paved sidewalk might look like a million bucks, but is safe? Once the concrete is poured and the project is almost complete, it's time for the sealer. Yet, not all kinds are created equal.Many concrete sealer products contain chemicals that can harm both the environment and your loved ones. That's why it's important to do your homework when selecting materials for the job.Today, we're taking a look at a few different types of concrete sealers and explaining why an eco-friendly product is the way to go.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started!
Understanding the Different Types of Concrete Sealers
When you're looking for a concrete sealer, you'll have four main options:
- Penetrating sealers
As their name implies, penetrating sealers penetrate deeper than the top surface of the concrete. Their components react chemically with the concrete's capillaries to offer a deep bond that shields against moisture. Their invisible protection works best on exterior surfaces that are subject to corrosion or damage from freezing and thawing.
Acrylic sealers create a thin, protective film on the surface of the concrete. Useful in both interior and exterior environments, they're cost-effective and easy to apply. Drying within the hour, they're also ideal for time-sensitive projects and can be used to add dimension and beauty to stamped or colored concrete. You can find both solvent-based and water-based types of acrylic concrete sealers.
Like acrylics, polyurethanes form a protective film on the surface of the concrete. Yet, this film is almost twice as thick, meant to protect high-traffic areas that are susceptible to stains and scuffs. The result is a transparent finish that's resistant to both chemicals and abrasion. You can also find these sealers in both solvent-based and water-based formulations.
Meant to form a high-build film on the concrete's surface, epoxies are long-wearing and abrasion-resistant. Their finish is more on the glossy side and may turn yellow when exposed to UV rays. For that reason, they're often used in interior environments such as concrete countertops or cement-based overlays. Most epoxies consist of two or more components that are mixed together before application.
Dangers of VOCs
While there are a variety of concrete sealers on the market, it's important to understand the ingredients in the solution that you buy. Solvent-based sealers contain harmful fumes and vapors that can be harmful to your skin and eyes. Known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), these chemicals are emitted as gases from certain substances, including sealers. For that reason, you should take precautions to wear protective gear when handling them, especially if you're working in an indoor area with poor ventilation. Items to keep on hand include:
- Long sleeves
- Long pants
- Protective eyewear
In addition to surface-level irritation, exposure to VOCs can also lead to long-term damage to your central nervous system, in addition to other vital organs. Some VOCs can even cause cancer. Other health risks include:
- Loss of coordination
- Skin reactions
- Liver and kidney damage
- Memory loss
- Visual disorders
A few other ways to protect yourself and limit exposure when you're around VOCs include:
- Increase ventilation to the greatest extent possible
- Read and understand all label precautions
- Follow all manufacturer's guidelines for use
- Safely discard unused or little-used containers
- Select products certified for low chemical emissions
Sound like a lot to remember? It is. On the other hand, when you work with an eco-friendly, water-based sealer, you can rest assured that you're protecting yourself, those around you, and the environment.
Why Use an Eco-Friendly Penetrating Concrete Sealer?
Unlike harmful solvent-based sealers, eco-friendly sealers are water-based. This means they have little to no VOC content, nor do they release as many chemicals into the air. This makes them safer to handle and also reduces the number of harmful gases ejected into the environment.
Plus, no strong fumes mean you don't have to worry about headaches, nausea or any of the other symptoms that accompany exposure to VOCs and other harmful chemicals.Yet, going this route doesn't have to mean sacrificing quality. There are many eco-friendly concrete sealers available that are equally as durable, long-lasting and protective as their solvent-based counterparts. For instance, check out Trojan Masonry and Concrete Sealer. This is a penetrating concrete sealer consisting of a polyester polymer and water-borne polyurethane. It works to permanently waterproof and preserves the following surfaces:
In just one easy spray-on application, it can transform and improve both residential and commercial properties ranging from entire buildings to sidewalks and driveways. In addition to being non-toxic, this sealer is also non-flammable and non-caustic. Featuring a very low VOC count, it's safe to use in both interior and exterior environments and is safe for both old and new masonry work. Drying clear, the final product is built to last with a minimal sheen, backed by a 15-year waterproofing guarantee. This product is proof that you can still get a high-quality, waterproof seal on your concrete or masonry without risking your health and harming the environment with VOC-laden, solvent-based sealers. As you look around for the best products for your project, be sure to read the labels and understand the ingredients so you know what you're putting in and around you.
Shop Our Selection of Eco-Friendly Concrete Products
Whether you're looking for a concrete sealer, cleaner or coating solution, you've come to the right place. We offer a wide selection of products designed to deliver maximum impact with minimal risk. We believe quality and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, and we're out to help you make a more informed choice for your next concrete project. We use only state-of-the-art ingredients to formulate our products and we stand behind their effectiveness. Gentle enough for your home and strong enough for a commercial application, they're ideal for a range of uses.
Contact us today to learn more about our entire line and what sets us apart.