Natural look concrete sealers, also known as penetrating concrete sealers, maintain the natural, unsealed look of the concrete. Concrete sealed with a penetrating sealer will look exactly as it looked before being sealed.
If you want to maintain the natural look of your concrete, there are two types of concrete sealers that can be applied. The first type of concrete sealer is a concrete densifier, and the second type is a water repellent sealer. Both types of penetrating concrete sealers will keep the concrete looking natural.
Concrete densifiers are chemically reactive sealers that reduce the size of the pores and increase the surface strength of the concrete. They reduce dusting and deterioration caused by surface abrasion, and help to strengthen concrete.
The two main types of concrete densifiers are sodium silicate sealers and lithium silicate sealers. Both types of natural sealers product the same chemical reaction, and offer the same benefits in terms of life and performance. Where they differ is in their molecule size. Lithium silicate sealers have a smaller molecule and tend to penetrate through dense surfaces very easily, while sodium silicate sealers have a larger molecule and tend to fill in porous concrete well. Lithium silicates have a slightly faster reaction time, but the same calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) structure will form in the pores as a result of the silicate reaction in the concrete.
Best Concrete Densifiers:
- Armor S2000 Concrete Sealer Review (concentrated)
- Stone Technolgies X-1 Concrete Sealer Review (pre-diluted)
- Ashford Formula Concrete Sealer Review (pre-diluted)
- Armor L3000 Concrete Sealer Review (concentrated)
- Lion Hard Concrete Sealer Review (pre-diluted)
Concrete densifiers are not water repellent sealers so when water is spilled onto the surface of concrete sealed with a densifier, the water will be instantly absorbed into the concrete. If you don’t want water to be absorbed into the surface, then you want a water repellent sealer. Water repellent sealers are also natural concrete sealers, and they won’t change the look or color of the concrete. When water is spilled onto the surface of concrete sealed with a water repellent sealer, water will bead off the surface and sit there until it evaporates.
Water repellent sealers are used to reduce staining, damage, and deterioration caused by water absorption such as cracking, spalling, pitting, efflorescence, freeze thaw damage, salt damage, mold and mildew.
The two most common types of water repellent sealers are siliconate water repellent sealers and silane-siloxane concrete sealers. Siliconate water repellent sealers are best when used on white or light concrete because when applied to dark concrete, can leave behind a white surface residue. Silane-Siloxane concrete sealers can be applied to virtually all types of concrete and masonry and will not leave behind a surface residue.
Best Water Repellent 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)
Need a densifier and a water repellent sealer? It is very common to combine penetrating sealers because it is impossible to achieve both an increase in strength and water repellent with a single product. There are hybrid products on the market that claim to offer both, but the benefits are severely diluted and you won’t get as high of an increase in strength, or as aggressive of a water bead as you would if you used two separate products.
If you want to increase the strength of your concrete in order to reduce dusting and deterioration you want to apply a concrete densifier. Let the densifier react for at least 7 days before applying a water repellent sealer. Densifiers can take up to 90 days to fully react! Once 7 days has passed, you can then apply a water repellent sealer. Once dry, your concrete will remain protected for up to 7-10 years before the need to reseal. Densifiers only need to be applied once, but water repellent sealers need to be resealed.