There are two types of sealers that can be used to achieve a wet look finish. The first type of sealer is an acrylic sealer and the second type of sealer is a color enhancer. Acrylic sealers have been used to seal red clay bricks, but the failure rate of acrylics on brick is around 95%. Acrylics are sensitive to moisture and bricks are very porous. The bricks will absorb water and moisture and as the moisture escapes the surface of the brick, it can cause the acrylic to delaminate (turn white and peel). The second type of sealer is a color enhancer. Color enhancers are usually silicone based, and many of them double as water repellent sealers. These are the best types of sealers to use on brick to achieve a wet look finish.
Acrylic sealers will darken the surface more than a color enhancing water repellent, but a color enhancing water repellent will darken the brick and provide years of life without delamination issues.
There are very few manufacturers that offer a non-acrylic based wet look sealer. Foundation Armor released the WL550 earlier this year and the product is proving to be a great option for sealing brick. The Armor WL550 is a pro-grade wet look water repellent sealer with an average 5.0 star review.
Despite the warnings, there are still many homeowners that want an acrylic sealer. If you decide to go with an acrylic sealer, apply it to a small test area first. If the acrylic is going to fail it will normally fail anytime between the day of application and the first two months, or after a heavy rainstorm. Again, while it is not suggest to apply an acrylic sealer to red clay bricks, you can view our article on Wet Look Sealers to browse top rated acrylic sealers.
Now, it is important to understand that red clay brick and concrete bricks are very different. Concrete bricks, more commonly known as pavers, can be sealed with a water repellent color enhancer or an acrylic sealer. Red clay bricks, or Chicago bricks, should only be sealed with a color enhancer. If you have any questions, drop a comment below and we would be more than happy to clarify! If you are sealing concrete pavers, view our Wet Look Paver Sealer Review article.