Breathable concrete sealers are concrete sealers that allow for water and moisture to move through the concrete. While breathable concrete sealers may reduce the movement of water and moisture through the pores, they will not stop sub-surface water and moisture, and they won’t trap water or moisture below the surface.
The three most common types of breathable concrete sealers are silicate concrete sealers, water repellent concrete sealers, and acrylic concrete sealers. The best breathable concrete sealer for you will depend on what you want your concrete too look like once sealed, and your reason for sealing the concrete. The main differences between each type of sealer can be found on the comparison chart below:
|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|
The most common type of breathable concrete sealer is a water repellent sealer, simply because it offers the most benefit above and below the surface. By reducing the absorption of water and other liquids, staining and deterioration caused by water absorption will be reduced. The concrete will also be easier to clean, and mold, mildew, and efflorescence will also be reduced. Water repellent sealers are very easy to apply, and will provide up to 7-10 years of life.
Best breathable water repellent concrete sealers:
- Eagle Natural Seal (average 4.0 star review)
- Armor SX5000 Concrete Sealer Review (average 4.8 star review)
- Siloxane PD Concrete Sealer Review (average 4.5 star review)
- Okon S-20 Concrete Sealer Review (average 4.0 star review)
- Thompson’s Water Seal Concrete Sealer Review (average 3.2 star review)
Water repellent sealers and concrete densifiers are both penetrating concrete sealers, but they are very different in terms of performance. Densifiers are great for reducing concrete dusting by increasing the surface strength and density of the concrete. They will not cause water and other liquids to bead off the surface, and won’t reduce damage and deterioration caused by water absorption, or the growth of mold and mildew. If you use a concrete densifier, you should also consider applying a water repellent sealer a week or so later.
If you don’t like the look of bare concrete, and you want a wet look, low gloss, or high gloss finish then you want an acrylic sealer. Pure acrylic lacquer sealers and acrylic co-polymer sealers that contain 15-25% solids are breathable. Once you start getting up into 30% solids the breathability is reduced so those should be avoided. You should also avoid acrylic latex sealers as they contain latex and latex isn’t breathable.
Best breathable acrylic concrete sealers:
- 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)