Acrylic concrete sealers are very popular in the concrete industry. They do what they are supposed to do when used correctly. It is like putting down a sheet of plastic over the concrete, but in a liquid form and then it dries.
They are usually applied immediately after the freshly placed concrete has been finished. This sealer has the ability to maintain the moisture content of the concrete so it cures properly. If the concrete loses the moisture from the slab too fast or too soon, then you are open to more concrete curling, shrinkage, cracking and hazing. The concrete strengths typically can be lower also if you do not properly cure the concrete. Quality acrylic concrete sealers are breathable but only allow moisture transmission at a controlled rate. That is the key to these sealers for curing the concrete. You need to have enough moisture in the concrete that it fully hydrates (absorbs and reacts to) the cement properly, but not trap the excess moisture so it causes other problems.
They can also be applied to existing or older concrete when the surface is properly prepared. The surface needs to be clean and have the ability to absorb.
Benefits of acrylic concrete sealers;
* easy to apply
* relatively inexpensive - about five cents per square foot
* goes down white - can see evenness of application
* dries clear - lets the substrate shine through
* can be put into service in 24 hours depending on product and conditions
* can be re-coated fairly easily in 3-5 years
* good abrasion and protection
* will assist in curing the concrete properly
* additive can be supplied to increase slip resistance
* available in different grades, qualities, colors and shine
* stops the concrete from dusting - forms a hard surface
* limits porosity of concrete - increases stain resistance and water repellency
* not as durable as some coatings like epoxy or urethane
* not as chemically resistant as epoxy and urethane
* not meant for thick installations
* most commonly only available in clear
It is important to apply the material at the proper application rate and do not apply too thick. It is always better to apply two thins coats of material than to apply one heavy coat of material. Most of the water-based sealers go down white in color and then dry clear. The sealers have water and solvents in them that need to escape the sealer once it is applied. So if you apply it too heavy, you end up trapping the solvent and water in between the sealer and it does not escape. This causes problems.
The life expectancy for commercial use of acrylic sealers is probably 3-5 years. Residential use could be as high as 10 years. It will depend on how much traffic and abrasion it receives. For residential use, the life expectancy is typically longer just because of lack of abrasion. They provide good repellency to water, oils and some mild solvents. They seal the concrete pours and prevent the concrete from dusting.
Urethane and epoxy coating are more durable, but also much harder and complex to install. Most homeowners should not attempt to apply epoxies and urethanes. There are just too many areas that this application can go wrong. They should probably hire a professional.
Overall, acrylic concrete sealers do a very good job if used and applied correctly. They can last for many years of protection to your concrete and are a good value.