There is a lot of debate online about which sealer is the best sealer for a garage floor, but which sealer is best for your neighbor’s garage may not be the best sealer for your garage. In order to choose the best sealer for your garage floor you need to answer the following questions:
- What do you want the garage floor to look like once sealed?
- What do you need the sealer to offer in terms of performance?
First, think about what you want the garage floor to look like once sealed. If you want the garage floor to look exactly like it looks no, and don’t want to see a change in color, and don’t want a visible surface film, then you want a penetrating concrete sealer. Penetrating concrete sealers work entirely below the surface and won’t change the look or color of the concrete. They are cost effective, easy to apply, and provide years of life before the need for a recoat. The surface of the concrete is still exposed, so you won’t get protection against oil and gas spills, but penetrating sealers will help with dusting and deterioration caused by surface abrasion and water absorption.
The two best penetrating sealers for garage floors are concrete densifiers and water repellent sealers. Concrete densifiers chemically react to form a calcium silicate hydrate barrier within the pores that will increase the surface strength and density of the concrete, and water repellent sealers will chemically react to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores that will cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface. While both types of concrete sealers are classified as penetrating sealers, they couldn’t be more different. This is why you now need to consider WHY you want to seal your garage floor.
- Issues with dusting and deterioration caused by weak concrete or surface abrasion: Densifier.
- Issues with staining and deterioration caused by water absorption, snow and ice: Water Repellent.
- Efflorescence: Densifier first, followed by a water repellent 5-7 days later.
- Dusting, and issues with staining caused by water absorption: Densifier first, followed by a water repellent 5-7 days later.
A quick summary, densifiers increase strength and water repellent sealers increase water repellency. Sealers are designed to reduce damage and deterioration caused by surface abrasion and water absorption, but because the surface of the concrete is still exposed, they won’t stop damage, deterioration, and oil stains. Sealers are the best sealer to use if you want to increase the strength of the concrete, or reduce deterioration, without changing the look or color of the concrete.
If you want to stop damage and deterioration, and want to completely protect your concrete against oil and gas stains, then you need an acrylic sealer or a concrete coating.
Acrylic sealers are easy to apply garage floor coatings. They penetrate in order to bond, but leave behind a visible, protective surface film. Garage floors sealed with an acrylic sealer will have a low to high gloss clear or colored finish. Acrylic sealers can typically be applied to clean and dry concrete, without having to acid etch or grind the surface. They are a great choice for homeowners looking to protect or enhance their garage floor with an easy to apply and easy to maintain product.
- Eagle High Gloss Sealer (average 4.6 star review)
- Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer (average 4.8 star review)
- Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer (average 4.9 star review)
- Enduraseal SB Acrylic Sealer (average 4.5 star review)
Acrylic sealers are great for residential garage floors, but long term exposure to oil and gas will cause the acrylic sealer to break down. While the acrylic sealers are very easy to repair, they should not be used on garage floors where oil and gas will be constantly spilled and left on the floor for long periods of time. If you use your garage to work on cars, and constantly spill oil and gas onto the garage floor, you want an epoxy coating, or even better, a urethane coating.
Garage Floor Sealer Comparison
Still not sure which sealer is the best for your garage floor? Use this comparison chart to compare the types of garage floor sealers.
|Silicate Concrete Sealers||Water Repellent Concrete Sealers||Acrylic Concrete Sealers|
|Won’t change the look of the concrete||Won’t change the look of the concrete||Enhances with a wet look or gloss|
|Works entirely below the surface||Works entirely below the surface||Leaves a visible surface film|
|Lasts forever||Lasts 7-10 years||Lasts 1-5 years|
|Increase strength of concrete||Repels surface water||Protects surface against staining|
|Reduces dusting and spalling||Reduces staining and deterioration||Stops dusting, staining, deterioration|
|Can only be used on cured concrete||Can be used on cured and uncured concrete||Can be used on cured and uncured concrete|
Combining concrete sealers – should you do it? You can, but it isn’t always needed. It is very common to combine a densifier and a water repellent sealer because they are both penetrating concrete sealers, and work in very different ways. You would first combine the concrete densifier and then wait at least a week before applying a water repellent sealer. If you are using an acrylic sealer or a concrete coating however, it is usually not necessary to use a sealer first because the coating alone will protect the surface of the concrete. If you put down a sealer first, there may also be additional prep work required in order to apply the coating. If you are considering multiple products, contact the manufacturer first to see if they recommend it. Again, in most cases, you use either a sealer or a coating, not both.