When it’s about choosing the best stamped concrete sealer, the first question that comes to anyone’s mind is – should I go for the water-based sealer or the solvent-based sealer?
Here is why.
Water-based sealers don’t form a continuous film. Consequently, it lets the liquids go through the surface, which is something you don’t expect. It’s because that makes it fail to make a shielding wear coat.
On the other hand, the solvent-based sealer with high-quality resin makes a continuous protective film that protects the concrete surface from wearing, hazing, scratching, etc.
No matter which type of sealer you choose, it’s quite an overwhelming task to pick the best one as the market is overly saturated with so many brands and models.
Let me solve the puzzle.
In this article, I will review the three best concrete sealers for stamped concrete mentioning all the upsides and downsides of each of them.
Without any further ado, let’s begin.
Top 3 Best Stamped Concrete Sealer Reviews
#1. Foundation Armor AR350 Solvent Based Acrylic Sealer Review
- The Armor AR350 is a breathable, non-yellowing solvent based acrylic that will darken concrete and pavers to make them look wet, and provide a long lasting, durable low gloss finish.
- The Armor AR350 is manufactured in the US and made from non-recycled resins.
- The Armor AR350 is self-priming and can be applied to unsealed concrete and paver surfaces, as well as surfaces previously sealed with a solvent based acrylic sealer.
- The Armor AR350 will help to reduce damage and deterioration caused by surface abrasion such as dustring, cracking, spalling, and pitting.
- The Armor AR350 can last up to 1-3 years on exterior surfaces and up to 3-7 years on interior surfaces before the need for a recoat.
- It’s pretty straightforward to apply with a sprayer or roller.
- An easy to understand instruction manual is included.
- AR350 shines in providing excellent protection.
- Its ability to penetrate the surface is worth noting, and it seems durable.
- The coverage per gallon per coat is quite substantial.
- It gives enough shine to make the surface stand out.
- Not harmful to the environment and humans.
- Quick-drying time.
- You can apply it on the surface previously sealed with an acrylic solvent-based sealer.
- Non-yellowing contains low VOC, breathable, UV resistant.
- The price is quite acceptable.
- Slightly strong fumes.
- If the surface is smooth, then you should add an anti-slip additive to get extra grip.
- Not ideal for clay brick, flagstone, slate, or other sorts of natural stone.
This Armor AR350 solvent-based acrylic sealer is quite an expert in giving the desired protection to the concrete surface.
While this sealer enhances the color, it doesn’t give a high gloss. So, if you are looking for a high gloss solution, better choose some other sealer.
However, if you are looking for a wet look, then this one is one of the best bets for you as it darkens the surface in a way so that it gives a wet look.
It covers about 175 square feet per gallon per coat, which I believe is quite standard. The coverage varies on the porosity of the surface, though.
Pro Tip: Search “Mike Day concrete sealing” on YouTube. You will get to see a handful of video tutorials on applying a concrete sealer.
Overall, this Foundation Armor AR350 solvent-based sealer does what it’s supposed to do to provide excellent protection to the stamped concrete surface. The price shouldn’t hurt your pocket too.
Moreover, as Foundation Armor is a US-based company, it knows what it takes to make the USA law compatible sealer.
#2. Foundation Armor AR500 Acrylic Sealer for Concrete Review
- Penetrating high solids, breathable solvent based acrylic coating with unmatched bonding characteristics.
- Durable, long lasting. Stands up to abrasion, UV rays, hot tire pick up, hot and cold temperatures.
- Long lasting high gloss finish provides up to 2-5 years of life on a two coat application before the need for a recoat. Will bring out color in dull and faded surfaces.
- Can be used on poured concrete, stamped concrete, concrete pavers, aggregate, and more.
- Can be used on unsealed surfaces, or on surfaces previously sealed with a solvent based acrylic.
- Easy to apply. Best with a roller.
- An easy to follow instruction manual comes with the package.
- It gives quite an extensive coverage even if it’s a porous surface.
- Relatively quick drying time.
- It brings back the surface color and gives a wet look with some high gloss finish.
- AR500 starts working right after applying on the surface.
- It withstands motor oil spills.
- This sealer performs well irrespective of the weather conditions.
- Non-yellowing boasts low VOC, breathable, UV-resistant.
- It’s quite reasonably priced.
- It’s slippery when wet. Use this Foundation Armor non-slip additive to get rid of this problem.
- Smells a bit strong. However, the smell doesn’t stay too long.
- Gasoline can blemish the surface that is sealed with this sealer.
Armor AR500 is another quality solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer that gives high gloss finish with an improved bonding.
It gives coverage of 175 square feet per gallon per coat for a porous surface and 200-250 square feet per gallon per coat for a smooth surface.
If you plan to seal your motor garage with this sealer, keep in mind that gasoline could soften the sealed surface. Motor oil spills won’t cause any issue, though.
Pro Tip: Give the surface at least 24 hours of drying time after cleaning it for the first time before applying the sealer. It’s best to apply AR500 in the early evening or late afternoon so that the surface gets enough sunlight for drying before you apply the sealer.
If you are looking for a high gloss look after sealing the concrete surface without spending too much, this one is probably the sealer you should get your eye in.
I think it’s a way better decision to use this sealer instead of those pricey epoxy coating considering the price, performance, and durability.
#3. Masonry Defender Water-Based Stamped Concrete Sealer Review
- Do It Yourself - Easy to Apply With a Paint Roller, Dries Quickly
- Clear Concrete Sealant Leaves an Attractive, Durable, Semi-Gloss Finish
- Protects Against Color Fade on Stained Concrete, Stamped Concrete Or Patio Paver Floors
- For Both Interior & Exterior Use - Can Be Applied Over Previous Concrete Sealer Applications
- Eco-Friendly, Water-Based Formula Is Easy to Cleanup and Safe for Surrounding Vegetation
- Non-yellowing, Non-toxic, entirely safe for the environment, humans, and pets.
- Easy to apply, best with a nap roller.
- Quick-drying time.
- You can apply it over the previously sealed surface, and it will work like a charm.
- It can protect the concrete from dimming, UV, spills, stains, etc.
- This sealer shines in performing equally on both interior and exterior concrete surfaces.
- It covers a large area.
- The rainwater beads on the surface remarkably to ensure the sealer’s existence.
- It’s relatively easy on the wallet compared to the other items I’ve listed here.
- Although it’s not that slippery, it’s not entirely slip-resistant either.
- As it’s a water-based sealer, it doesn’t work too well similar to other solvent-based sealers on the concrete.
This Masonry Defender stamped concrete sealer is a water-based sealer that gives a semi-gloss look once it dries.
When it’s about resealing a stamped concrete surface, this very sealer works second to none.
It covers about 400 square feet per gallon per coat, which I believe is quite broad compared to the other options on my list.
As it’s not entirely slip-resistant, so, better mix some anti-slip additive with the sealer before applying it on surfaces around the pool deck.
Pro Tip: When applying on any exterior concrete surface, make sure to clean the surface properly with the MasonryDefender all-purpose concrete cleaner before applying this sealer.
Considering the price, performance, and coverage, you should give this sealer a try.
With that said, remember, this one is a water-based sealer. I always prefer a solvent-based sealer to a water-based sealer when it’s about getting the best results on a stamped concrete surface.
Nonetheless, you will want to apply a water-based sealer instead of a solvent-based sealer when getting a rapid drying time is your topmost concern.
Stamped Concrete Sealer Buying Guide
To choose the right sealer for the stamped concrete surface, you must consider the following parameters –
Solvent Based Vs Water-Based
When it’s about sealing a concrete surface, it’s wise to choose the solvent-based sealer instead of the water-based sealer.
The sealer needs to provide a continuous film to prevent liquids from going through the concrete surface. Usually, a water-based sealer lacks in performance to make this sort of wear coating. But the solvent-based sealers excels in performing a quality wear coat.
On top of that, you can’t fix a surface sealed with the water-based sealer. You must have to remove the old sealer and apply a new sealer for resealing or fixing.
However, if you are looking to get rapid drying time, then the solvent-based sealer is the one you should get your eye in.
The water-based sealers are more environmentally friendly than the solvent-based sealer.
But as everyone likes to apply a solvent-based sealer for the concrete surface, it must be made in a way so that it doesn’t harm the environment, humans, and pets.
The VOC level must be low to ensure environment-friendliness. All the above items I’ve listed here feature a low VOC level.
Gloss Type and Look
Some sealers provide high gloss; some provide low gloss. Some sealers provide a wet look, and some don’t.
Choose the right one based on your preference.
If the sealer doesn’t give a broad coverage, then it’s not a cost-effective solution.
The coverage varies depending on the porosity of the surface, though. The standard coverage for a porous surface is about 175 square feet per gallon per coat and 200-250 square feet per gallon per coat for a smooth surface.
Ease of Application
No matter if it’s a solvent-based sealer or water-based sealer, it must be easy to apply. Typically you will want to use a roller to apply the solvent-based sealer and sprayer to water-based sealer.
The company should provide an easy to understand instruction manual with every delivery.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question#1. How to remove concrete sealer from stamped concrete?
Answer: Removing the concrete sealer from stamped concrete is a bit tricky and tiresome task. However, it’s not an impossible task by any means.
The topmost challenge in removing the concrete sealer is to keep the concrete’s color as it is while completing the process.
That is the reason why you won’t want to go for any mechanical solution to remove the concrete sealer. Applying chemical solutions is the way to achieve the best results in this case.
It’s essential to identify the previously applied sealer type. Identify if it was the solvent-based sealer or the water-based sealer.
If the previous sealer was the water-based sealer, then first try pressure washing to remove it instead of chemical application or acid etching. Pressure washing is enough if it’s an old surface.
If pressure washing doesn’t work, then you can try acid etching. Or else you apply high-quality chemical strippers like “Aqua Mix Sealer and Coating Remover.”
On the other hand, if the previous sealer was solvent-based, you would have to use a solvent-based stripper to remove the old sealing.
The good thing is, you don’t necessarily remove the old sealing if a solvent-based sealer sealed the surface. You just remove the old flaking and peeling and reseal the surface with a new sealer; you are done in most cases.
Question#2. How long does it take for a concrete sealer to dry?
Answer: The Silicate concrete sealer starts to dry within half an hour, and you can allow foot traffic within a few hours of applying the sealer.
The Silane Siloxane water-based sealer also starts to dry within half an hour. However, it would be best if you gave it at least 36-48 hours before you allow any vehicle traffic, and 24 hours before allowing foot traffic.
The Siliconate water-based sealer also starts drying within half an hour but works under the surface for at least 24 hours to dry thoroughly. That’s why you shouldn’t allow any traffic before 36 hours or so.
The Acrylic sealer takes 4-12 hours to dry, but you should give it at least 48 hours to allow any vehicle traffic.
The epoxy coating and the Urethane coating take 10-12 hours to dry to allow foot traffic, and you should give it at least 48 hours before allowing any vehicle traffic.
Question #3. When to apply a concrete sealer?
Answer: It’s vital to apply the concrete sealer on a dry surface. On the other hand, washing the surface before applying the sealer is also essential.
So, wash the surface first and apply the early sealer evening or late afternoon to get enough sunlight to dry throughout the day.
Question#4. How to remove acrylic sealer from concrete?
Answer: To strip all the old sealers, use Brickform Strip-it stripper. Apply this stripper on the surface. Cover the surface with plastic to let the stripper work properly. Before the surface completely dries out, remove the plastic.
Continue to apply the stripper to keep things wet. Now use a floor scrubber (attach a Zim grit striping brush with it) to strip out the old sealer.
Next, use a broom to gather the stripped out sealer and garbage them properly. Keep the surface wet with water during this process.
Continue the process until you finish removing all the old acrylic sealer.
So, this is it!
In this article, I’ve reviewed three best stamped concrete sealers mentioning all the items’ highs and lows.
If you are looking for a solvent-based concrete sealer, then go for either AR350 or AR500. On the other hand, if you are looking for a water-based sealer, then Masonry defender stamped concrete sealer is the best bet for you.
Now it’s your turn!
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