Sealants applied to a decorative concrete surface provide multiple uses.
- They seal and protect the floor from sun and fading
- Make for easier cleanup
- Add a chemical resistant barrier and protect against staining
- Create the desired level of shine
- Enable the addition of Anti-slip additives
- Protect the surface against wear and abuse
- Allow for easy maintenance or recoating
- Bring out the colors of the finish.
With all of this in mind it obviously not something to be taken lightly.
Because most decorative concrete finishes are designed to be seen, most sealers are clear.
Sealers are available in many forms and include but are not limited to epoxies, acrylics, urethanes, polyurethanes, silicones, and other.
Sealers walk a fine line between beauty and functionality.
Eg: A thick epoxy could add an extremely long lasting layer of protection but the plastic look and high shine may detract from a natural earthy tone finish. Whereas inexpensive water based acrylic used in a high traffic commercial setting may be cost effective but show early signs of wear.
When selecting a proper finish for your application, it is important to listen to a professional but as well, ask for documentation of the particular product being used. The technical data sheet should provide basic properties of the sealer and its uses. The technical data sheet should also provide a chemical compatibility chart to make sure it will hold up in your specific environment.
A typical way of maintaining a decorative concrete finish is to apply a floor finish or wax. Floor finishes and waxes act as a sacrificial wear surface. As the floor gets used and worn, it is only the top layer of wax that is removed. After a predetermined period of time based on traffic and usage an additional layer of wax can be applied.Waxes and floor finishes have come a long way, technologically.
Generally today’s waxes and floor finishes don’t build up and yellow over time, nor do they require regular stripping and removal. Today’s modern floor finishes are applied easily with a mop or lambs wool applicator, dry in 20-30 minutes and have no hazardous odors or chemicals.
If you won’t be maintaining the floor yourself, the best way to find someone is in the yellow pages under ‘janitorial’. They should be able to offer competitive pricing as well as regular scheduled maintenance for commercial or high traffic areas.