To get the scoop on choosing the right sealer, we ed Dave Barnes, president of Saver Systems Inc., a manufacturer of concrete sealing/waterproofing products. Here’s what we learned about the pros and cons of each concrete sealing technology.
Four types of sealers
Film-forming acrylic, epoxy and polyurethane products seal the concrete pores and impart a sheen or “wet-look” gloss to the entire garage floor for a really sharp look. These coatings are easy to clean, but they require more rigorous surface preparation. They’re also slippery, especially when wet.
Silane/siloxane formulas penetrate the concrete and react with minerals to form a “hydrophobic” surface that repels water, road salt and other deicing chemicals. The product won’t darken the concrete or look shiny, so your garage floor will still look like dull concrete.
We chose silane/siloxane
This garage is in Minnesota, so preventing damage from freezing water and road salt was critical. We didn’t care about gloss, but we wanted to avoid two steps that are required for many film-forming sealers: acid etching and roughening the surface. We chose MasonrySaver All-Purpose Heavy Duty Water Repellent, a water-based silane/siloxane. It took 5 gallons (about $30 per gallon) to seal the floor of this three-car garage.
It’s all about the surface prep
Always start by cleaning the floor with a concrete cleaner and power washer (Photo with step 1). If you have oil stains, treat them before you power wash (see how to remove oil stains here). Then apply the sealer with a paint pad to get an even application and avoid puddles (Photo with step 2). After it dries, fill floor cracks with a polyurethane crack filler (Photo with step 3).
1. Apply the cleaner, scrub and power wash
Mask the walls with poly. Then use the power washer to apply concrete cleaner. Scrub garage floor with a push broom. Then rinse with high pressure and a 40-degree nozzle. Squeegee and let dry.
Caution: To avoid electrical shock or carbon monoxide poisoning, always locate your power washer in an open area outside the garage (as demonstrated in photo above).
2. Apply garage floor sealer and spread onto garage floor
Dip the paint pad into the garage floor sealer of your choice (we chose silane/siloxane) and spread it evenly across the garage floor to avoid puddling. Let the product soak in and dry.
3. Force filler into the cracks
Cut a small opening in the tube tip (we used urethane caulk). Then hold the caulk gun perpendicular to the floor, pressing the tip into the crack. Squeeze the trigger and force the crack filler deep into the crack.