The versatility and durability of decorative concrete makes it one of the most suitable surfaces for a multitude of environments.
And just as each environment is different, so too are the sealers that are required. Consideration should be given to the look you want to achieve, location, abrasion and chemical resistance, maintenance limitations, site access challenges and slip resistance.
As a long term leading supplier to the industry, CCS are very familiar with these requirements. We are continually researching, testing, modifying and adding sealers to our range - to meet the ever changing needs of the concrete industry throughout Australia and overseas.
Why Seal Coloured Concrete?
- Dramatically improves the appearance of concrete by adding luster and richness. Natural finishes are available as an alternative.
- Protects decorative concrete from the harsh Australian weather.
- Resists the marking effects of dirt, grime, salt, moss and oils.
- Makes concrete much easier to wash and clean.
- Seals the pores in the concrete to restrict flow of lime to the surface.
Sealed vs Unsealed
The above photo demonstrates the difference between an unsealed (right hand side) and sealed section (left hand side) of the same concrete surface after several years of weathering. The sealed section of the concrete remains clean after many years whereas the unsealed section (with the pen) is dirty due to the accumulation of grime and dust.
Types of Sealers
There are four main types of sealers that are applied to concrete. Each of these sealers has different features which make them suitable for particular situations.
- Acrylic Sealers (all purpose coatings)
- Urethanes (extremely tough and durable)
- Penetrating Sealers (penetrates into surface and provides a natural look)
- Epoxy Sealers (for internal use)
Go directly to our Low VOC, environmentally friendly CCS Sealers
1. Acrylic Sealers (all purpose coatings)
Acrylic sealers, such as CCS Hardseal and CCS Hi-Build Enduro, are the most widely used and preferred coating in the concrete industry. They are UV resistant, relatively easy to apply, can be applied soon after concrete installation, are economically priced and have excellent recoating abilities.
Acrylic sealers are ideal for exposed aggregate, full depth coloured concrete, stencil concrete, pattern concrete and Stylepave resurfacing systems.
- CCS Hardseal Advanced
- CCS Hardseal Matt
- CCS Hi-Build Enduro
- CCS Same Day Sealer
- CCS Colour Master Sealer
- CCS Petrol Resistant Sealer
Please refer to product data sheets for further information.
2. Urethanes (extremely tough and durable)
CCS Urethanes are available in both water based or solvent based formulas. Urethane sealers such as CCS Armourthane and CCS Decrathane, are much thicker than acrylic sealers and are extremely resistant to physical and chemical attack and will usually last several years before needing reapplication.
Their abrasion resistance is approximately 3 to 4 times greater than acrylic sealers. Consequently, they are the ideal sealer for indoor and outdoor areas such as shopping centre walkways, cafe floors, amusement parks and other areas subject to constant pedestrian or light vehicular traffic.
CCS Urethane Sealers are ideal for polished and honed concrete and are an integral component of the CCS Platinum Polished Concrete System.
- The emission of a strong odour during application.
- They are relatively sensitive to airborne moisture and therefore need to be applied during daytime.
- When renewing the sealer (after several years), the surface will require sanding to ensure an effective bond to the new coating.
- They are more expensive than acrylic sealers.
3. Penetrating Sealers (penetrates into surface and provides a natural look)
In contrast to the three other sealers, silane and silane siloxane sealers such as CCS Natural Seal Supreme HV, CCS Streetscape Sealer and CCS Stain Block do not create a coating and are therefore good for surfaces where slip resistance and retaining a natural look may be issues. They are often referred to as 'penetrating' sealers because they absorb into the concrete to repel the ingress of moisture while allowing vapour to escape from the inside of the surface.
For larger pedestrian and public eating areas, where staining may be an issue, CCS Streetscape Sealer and the premium CCS Stain Block offer excellent resistance to oil based stains. CCS Stain Block also offers excellent resistance against food stains and marks left from chewing gum residue.
Although they can be used for horizontal surfaces, silane based sealers such as CCS Natural Seal Supreme HV are most commonly used for coating exterior vertical walls - to stop wind driven rain and salt from penetrating the concrete and causing the reinforcing steel to rust and eventually spall the concrete.
Also in the CCS penetrating sealer range is the water based CCS Densifier. CCS Densifier works to harden, densify and dustproof concrete floors. When applied, the sealer imparts a low sheen which enhances the appearance of the concrete while retaining a natural look.
Because of their excellent penetrative nature, CCS penetrating concrete sealers will not alter the general appearance or texture of decorative concrete (Note:- CCS Streetscape Sealer and CCS Densifier will impart a low sheen which may make the surface slightly darker). Hence, if you want to gain the benefits of sealing concrete but desire the natural look, CCS penetrating concrete sealers are ideal and in many cases, they can also be used for protecting and sealing concrete pavers, natural stone and porous tiles.
Please refer to individual data sheet links below or call your nearest office for further information.
4. Epoxy Sealers
Providing approximately twice the abrasion resistance of acrylic sealers, epoxy sealers are designed for internal flooring applications. CCS Ultra Epoxy WB (water based and low VOC) and CCS Ultra Epoxy High Build provide long term durability, as well as excellent stain and chemical resistance and can be used in the following situations:-
- Decorative and flake flooring (such as CCS Galaxy Epoxy Flooring).
- As a low odour, hard wearing, chemically resistant coating for industrial, commercial and hygiene areas subjected to rigorous cleaning and high wear.
- As an abrasion and solvent resistant floor coating.
- Can be used in wash rooms and shower cubicles.
- For industrial use in facilities such as hospitals, schools and kitchens.
Penetrating Sealers such as CCS Natural Seal Supreme HV, CCS Streetscape Sealer and CCS Stain Block are silicone based and protect concrete by penetrating into the capillaries of the concrete - rather than lying on the surface. Penetrating sealers repel moisture and at the same time allow the transmission of vapour from within the concrete or structure. Penetrating sealers are used on both floors and vertical walls of concrete buildings. Often a penetrating sealer is applied to vertical concrete walls, to protect them from the ingress of driving rain and airborne salts which can ultimately attack the steel reinforcing contained in the concrete.
Because they don't alter the texture of the concrete, penetrating sealers such as CCS Streetscape Sealer and CCS Stain Block are ideal for horizontal surfaces where slip resistance may be an issue. These two products also contain special fluro polymers and additives which effectively protect the surface from the ingress of water and oil based stains.
Coating Sealers effectively cover as well as penetrate into the surface of concrete. Coating sealers are usually diluted in solvent, which ultimately helps them to seep into the concrete. The solvent soon evaporates allowing the residual resin to dry anchor into the concrete surface.
Sealers that coat rather than penetrate, generally provide better resistance against abrasion and the ingress of dirt. Many of the 'coating sealers' create a 'wet look'. If the 'wet look' is not desired then the penetrating sealers are the best alternative.
In general, the application of a sealer will reduce the slip resistance of the surface it is coating. The overall slip resistance of the concrete however, is far more dependent on the profile and texture of the concrete surface than the coating that is placed on it.
As a guide, in-house slip resistance tests on broom finished concrete were evaluated in accordance with AS/NZS4586.1999 (Slip Resistance Classification of New Pedestrian Surface Materials Appendix A - Wet Pendulum Test Method). The tests showed a reduction in slip resistance from a rating of 56 MBPN (mean British Pendulum Number), before sealer application, to 54MBPN after application of two coats of CCS Hardseal (two coats typically only produce a film thickness of 0.04mm).
Slip Resistance of Concrete Finishes Table
|Concrete Finish||Mean BPN Value||Contribution to the risk of slipping when wet|
|Broom finish||66||Very Low|
|Broom finish with sealer||65||Very Low|
|Hard steel trowel with sealer||26||High|
|Smoothly honed finish with sealer||33||High|
|Machine polished with sealer||26||High|
|Exposed aggregate finish||56||Very Low|
|Exposed aggregate with sealer||54||Low|
|Acid etched and sealed||60||Very Low|
|Salt rock finish and sealed||56||Very Low|
|Stamped concrete and sealed||39||Moderate|
|Stencil concrete, broom finish, sealed||59||Very Low|
|Resurfacing compound, sealed||58||Very Low|
Results from in-house tests on different floor surfaces evaluated in accordance with AS/NZS4586.1999 (Slip Resistance Classification of New Pedestrian Surface Materials Appendix A - Wet Pendulum Test Method)
If slip resistance is a key issue, the concrete must be finished in an appropriate manner - so that, regardless of whether a sealer is applied, the surface maintains an adequate slip resistance level for the purpose it is being used for. Because they don't alter the texture of the concrete, penetrating sealers such as CCS Streetscape Sealer are ideal for horizontal surfaces requiring effective slip resistance.
As concrete is a custom made product, on-site trials and the production of samples are the only way of ensuring that a project meets slip resistance guidelines.
Additives to Enhance Traction / Slip Resistance
To assist in aiding traction, crushed glass or specially manufactured synthetic powders such as CCS Sealer Grip can be used with most sealers. Additives however cannot be used in conjunction with non-film building, penetrating sealers such as CCS Streetscape Sealer.
With crushed glass the applicator broadcasts the material into the first coating of sealer while it is still wet. As a rule, crushed glass such as CCS Glass Beads are used in Epoxy and Urethane Coatings only. A second coating of sealer is then applied to lock the grit into the surface.
In contrast, special additive powders such as CCS Sealer Grip are mixed with Solvent based sealers such as the range of CCS Acrylic Sealers, prior to the final coat. The degree of slip resistance is directly relative to the amount of additive per litre of sealer mix. Therefore, it is recommended that a sample be specified prior to commencement of the project.
Please Note: The above additives will only aid traction. Existing smooth surfaces that do not satisfy Australian Standards for slip resistance cannot be rectified by adding CCS Sealer Grip. It is also important to note that as the sealer wears, the traction additives will also diminish in effectiveness.
Before choosing the correct sealer for your project, you may wish to consider aesthetics, cost of the product and application, surface usage (ie:- the type and quantity of traffic), lifespan and maintenance.
Note:- For adequate traction enhancement you must ensure your concrete surface has a textured profile before you add a coating to it. As a general statement, the application of a coating to concrete will reduce the existing slip resistance of that surface.
For more information, please phone 1800 077 744 or 07 3287 6444