Water Versus Solvent Based Concrete Sealers

Water Versus Solvent Based Concrete Sealers
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Concrete sealers are designed to protect the concrete from wear and tear, in addition to the provision of chemical and stain resistance for concrete. They are come in both water-based types and solvent-based varieties both of which act as protective and decorative coats for concrete. These sealers add to aesthetics for instance it improves long term color of concrete surface.

Both water-based
sealer and solvent based sealer may be similar in certain characteristic such
as durability, toughness, ease of application, and ultraviolet resistance. However,
they are different composition, appearance, handling, and gas emission. Contractor
shall be familiar with their differences and similarities to select the best
option for concrete surface under considerations.

Table 1 Differences between water based concrete sealer
and solvent based concrete sealer

Water based concrete sealer Solvent based concrete sealer
It contains low volatile organic compound (less than 100 grams per liter) which is desired by contractors since it release less gas compare to solvent based sealer It contains high volatile organic compound (more than 400 grams per liter) and hence release detrimental gases that might deteriorate health of occupants and animals around
Regulation trend is toward concrete sealer with low volatile organic compound that is why water based concrete sealer is desirable In contrary, this type of sealer is not desirable to high volatile organic compound
Polymer particle is dispersed in water, and the water would evaporate after the sealer is applied to concrete surface as in Fig.1, consequently polymer particles move closer together and eventually generating a continuous clear coating Polymer particles are not separate but rather both polymer and solvent create a continuous clear polymer solution, and when solvent evaporates, the polymer chains are drawn closer together and eventually intertwine.
It appears milky white upon its application, and tend to provide a lower-gloss, matte finish after curing process ended Upon its utilization as illustrated in Fig. 2, it penetrates into concrete very well and tend to wet-out. Consequently, the finish would be glossier and improves concrete color
Nonflammable, no strong solvent odor, and allow for quick and easy clean-up once the application is complete. These features are invaluable for busy contractor It is release gases accompanied by odor and its cleaning creates problems for contractor. So, it is problematic for indoor applications
It is suitable choice when restrictive regulations are applied It may not be accepted when restrictive regulations are used
It is not as slippery as solvent based concrete sealer It is considerably slippery even if grip additives are added
It is cost effective compare with solvent based concrete sealer Its cost is much higher than water based concrete sealer
Water Based Concrete Sealer
Fig. 1: Water Based Concrete Sealer
Solvent Based Concrete Sealer
Fig. 2: Solvent Based Concrete Sealer

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