There are several basement walls sealers that can be used to seal a basement wall. The best basement wall sealer to use to seal a basement wall will depend on the type of basement wall, the condition of the basement wall, and your reason for sealing.
The most common type of basement wall sealer is a sodium silicate concrete sealer. It penetrates into the concrete where it chemically reacts to form a permanent calcium silicate hydrate structure within the pores. It reduces the size of the pores, therefore reducing the movement of water and moisture through the pores. Sodium silicate concrete sealers are breathable sealers. While they will reduce the movement of water and moisture, they will not stop it. They will also not stop water coming through a crack in the wall. Cracks should be repaired with a crack repair kit. Dry cracks require a flexible silicone or epoxy based repair kit, while wet and leaking cracks require a hydrophobic polyurethane injection kit.
Sodium silicate sealers perform best when used on poured concrete basement walls. They can be used on cinderblock and concrete block walls, but usually cinderblock and concrete block walls require additional steps for waterproofing. Cinderblock and concrete block walls have issues with water accumulation inside of the block, as well as grout lines. If you have a cinderblock of concrete block wall, you should consider the manufacturer of the product you are consideration and seek advice from their technical staff.
When applying a sodium silicate concrete sealer to a poured concrete basement wall, you want to make sure the wall is clean, dry, and free of any other sealers or coatings. Silicate sealers can’t penetrate through other sealers or coatings. Once the wall has been prepped, the silicate sealer can be applied with a low pressure pump sprayer. A roller should be kept handy to roll out any dripping material. Multiple coats may be required to reach desired level of densification.
Best sodium silicate concrete sealers for basement walls:
- Armor S2000 Concrete Sealer Review (concentrated)
- RadonSeal Concrete Sealer Review (pre-diluted)
- Stone Technolgies X-1 Concrete Sealer Review (pre-diluted)
- Ashford Formula Concrete Sealer Review (pre-diluted)
The second type of basement wall sealer is a water repellent sealer. This isn’t as common as a sodium silicate sealer because not all water repellent sealers yield the same results. Foundation Armor is one of the few manufacturers that promote their water repellent sealer as a basement wall sealer (Armor SX5000 Concrete Sealer Review ) because of its high solids formula. They claim that after two coats, moisture can be reduced by up to 2 LBS. They suggest the Armor S2000 densifier to reduce water, and the Armor SX5000 to reduce moisture.
The use of penetrating sealers for water and moisture control is great for basements with little to no moisture. Sealers do not stop water and should not be used on problematic concrete, or on concrete walls that are going to be finished. While they can and have been used in those circumstances, it isn’t worth risking wet wood or drywall. If you are thinking of finishing your basement walls and the basement has known issues with water or high moisture, a coating would be a better choice.
Third on the list are basement wall coatings. Unlike sealers, coatings leave behind a visible surface film. There are several types of coatings that can be used on basement walls, but the most common are paint, acrylic sealers, and epoxy coatings.
- Paint: Paint on concrete makes be cringe. It is affordable and easy to apply, but it is impossible to maintain and remove when water or moisture become an issue. Further, paint doesn’t aggressively bond to the concrete so when water or moisture becomes present it will cause the paint to peel off.
- Acrylic Sealers: Acrylic sealers are great for basement walls that have little to no moisture. They are breathable so allow moisture to pass through, but they reduce musty odors and can make dark and dingy basements feel like new.
- Epoxy Coatings: Epoxy coatings are great for basement walls with known moisture issues. Not all epoxy coatings are the same however. Check with the manufacturer as to whether or not their coating is rated for moisture. Some epoxies can be used on concrete with less than 10 LBS of moisture, while others can be used on concrete with as much as 24 LBS of moisture.