If you like what your concrete or pavers look like when wet, then you want a wet look sealer. Wet look sealers are designed to darken the surface of the substrate and enhance it with a low to high gloss finish.
The best wet look sealer is a solvent based acrylic sealer. Water based acrylic sealers will provide a low to high gloss finish, but they won’t darken the surface. It is the resins in the solvent based acrylic darken the surface to make it look wet.
Wet Look Sealer Reviews
- 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)
Choosing the Best Wet Look Sealer
Not all wet look sealers are the same. In fact, they differ greatly in quality, life, and performance. When choosing a wet look sealer, there are a few things to consider:
- Acrylic Resin: The acrylic resin is perhaps one of the most important factors when looking for a wet look sealer. Acrylics are made from recycled resins or non-recycled resins. Acrylics made from non-recycled resins are pure and will outlast and out-perfom acrylics made from recycled resins. Take for example the Eagle concrete sealer and the Armor AR350 wet look sealer. The Eagle concrete sealer is made from China imported recycled resins while the Armor AR350 wet look sealer is made from US manufactured non-recycled resins. The Eagle sealer will break down faster than the Armor AR350 because the chemicals used in recycling the acrylic break down the sealer and its additives. The Armor AR350 will get at least 1 year more of life and performance than the Eagle sealer because there are no added chemicals working against the sealer.
- Formula: You want to avoid acrylic latex sealers. This is a fancy way of describing a latex paint. Acrylic latex sealers won’t provide a true wet look, and they hard to repair and maintain. You want a pure acrylic lacquer or an acrylic co-polymer.
- Solids Content: Most acrylic sealers are made up of a 20-30% solids solutions, but some contain as little as 8-15%. Low solids solutions are known to break down faster and usually require an annual re-coat.
Wet Look Sealer Problems
Wet look sealers are very predictable in terms of functionality. When you choose the best wet look sealer for your application, and apply it properly, you can get years of life and performance out of it. Here are a few of the most common wet look sealer problems and how to avoid them.
- Blushing/White Haze: This is a sign of delamination. This occurs during the time of application, or sometimes down the road. The number one cause of delamination is moisture. Acrylic sealers are very sensitive to moisture. If moisture is present during the time of application, or if moisture becomes present (rain or snow storm), the acrylic can lose its bond and turn white. Another cause of blushing/white haze is over application. Acrylic sealers are meant to be thin coatings. They are not high build coatings and when over applied can result in delamination. Solvent based acrylic sealers can easily be repaired with Xylene.
- Discoloration: If you notice that some areas are lighter than others and the wet look doesn’t look consistent, you may need another coat. Most acrylic sealers require two coats, especially if it is the first time being sealed.
- Bubbling and blistering: This can be caused from a few things. The most common reason is applying the product to a hot surface, or when applying it during the hottest part of the time. You want to apply an acrylic sealer in the late afternoon or early evening to avoid this from happening. A second cause of bubbling/blistering is the formula. Cheaper acrylic sealers may use a solvent that causes the solvents to release quickly, resulting in bubbling/blisters on the surface. If bubbling/blistering does occur, solvent based acrylic sealers can easily be repaired with Xylene.