Choosing the best basement floor sealer for sealing your basement floors can be done in a few simple steps.
- Repair Cracks: Sealers can’t repair cracks. Silicate sealers, water repellent sealers, and even coatings, should not be used to repair cracks. Dry cracks should be repaired with a flexible repair material, wet and actively leaking cracks should be repaired with a hydrophobic polyurethane. If you have tiny hairline cracks that show no signs of water or moisture, you can seal the floor without repairing cracks, but if water ever becomes an issue, a crack repair material will have to be used.
- Seal the Floor: When it comes to sealing the floor you have two options. You can use a penetrating concrete sealer or a concrete coating. Penetrating sealers work within the pores to reduce water and moisture without changing the look or color of the basement floor, while concrete coatings bond to the surface and leave behind a visible surface film. Sealers are used to reduce, coatings are used to stop.
Penetrating Basement Floor Sealers
The two most common types of basement floor sealers are silicate sealers and silane-siloxane sealers. Silicate sealers are used to reduce water, while silane-siloxane sealers are used to reduce moisture.
- Silicate Concrete Sealers chemically react with the free lime and the calcium in the concrete to form a calcium silicate hydrate barrier within the pores. The reduce the size of the pores and therefore reduce the movement of water and moisture through the pores. Typically only two coats are required, but problematic concrete may require addional coats. View our Silicate Concrete Sealer article to view ratings and reviews on the best silicate concrete sealers.
- Silane-Siloxane Concrete Sealers chemically react below the surface to form a water repellent barrier within the pores. Silane-Siloxane sealers won’t reduce the flow of water that comes up from below the concrete floor, but they will help to reduce moisture by up to 2 LBS. View our Water Repellent Sealer article to view ratings and reviews on the best silane siloxane concrete sealers.
Sealers are great to use on basement floors that need a reduction in the movement of water and moisture through the pores. The results of the sealers can’t be predicted because it is the chemical reaction that determines the results, not the sealer. Sealers should not be used as vapor barriers. If you are considering finishing your basement, or applying flooring, a moisture test should be conducted on the concrete first. If the floor has little to no moisture, a sealer may be sufficient. If the floor has 2-3+ LBS of moisture, a coating should be considered.
Basement Floor Coatings
Basement floor coatings serve two purposes: they can change the look and feel of the basement, and they can significantly reduce moisture.
The two most common types of basement floor coatings are acrylic sealers and epoxy coatings. Epoxy coatings are used to significantly reduce moisture, and some even classify as a Class 1 Moisture Vapor Barrier. If you have moisture, or are considering installing flooring, an epoxy coating should be used. If you have little to no moisture but want to lighten up or change the look of your concrete floor, you can get away with using an acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealers are easy to apply, can be applied in clear or a color, and will bond to concrete that has not been acid etched or diamond ground.
Best Acrylic Concrete Sealers
- Armor AX25: (average 5 star review)
- Eagle High Gloss Sealer (average 4.6 star review)
- Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer (average 4.9 star review)
- Enduraseal SB Acrylic Sealer (average 4.5 star review)
Best Epoxy Coatings for Moisture
- Armor Epoxy Coating: Water based 2-part epoxy primer and top coat in one. Will reduce moisture in concrete, and protect the concrete surface against staining and deterioration caused by surface abrasion. A higher solids version is available for consumers that need more moisture protection, or want to apply the epoxy in a color.
- Laticrete Epoxy: 2 part epoxy primer and top coat in one. Will reduce moisture in concrete and protect the concrete surface against staining and deterioration.