Concrete Sealer VS Waterproofer: 10 Factors [To Decide]

Last Updated on January 20, 2023

When it comes to concrete surfaces, there are many choices when it comes to protection from the elements. Sealers and waterproofers are two types of products that offer a range of benefits for all types of concrete surfaces.

While both products can help protect against water and other elements, there are key differences between a sealer and a waterproofer that need to be taken into consideration before making your decision.

In this blog post, we will explore the different types of concrete sealers and waterproofers, how to choose between them and the application process for each product. 

Types Of Concrete Sealers vs Waterproofers

Types Of Concrete Sealers and Waterproofers

Acrylic Sealers  

Description and Uses 

Acrylic sealers are a type of sealer used to protect and waterproof concrete surfaces. They are primarily composed of acrylic polymers that form a protective film when applied to the surface. The film is durable, resists UV rays, and can last for several years before needing to be reapplied.

Acrylic sealers are used on both interior and exterior concrete surfaces to prevent water damage, staining, and discoloration. Some varieties contain additives such as silicone or aluminum oxide that increase their durability and water resistance. Acrylic sealers can also be tinted in order to achieve a desired color on the surface.

Benefits, Drawbacks, and Cost

The primary benefit of using acrylic sealers for concrete surfaces is their ability to protect against water damage, staining, and fading due to UV exposure. They also provide an extra layer of protection against dirt and debris buildup.

Additionally, acrylic sealers have excellent longevity – typically lasting between 5-7 years before needing to be reapplied. On the downside, acrylic sealers do not provide any waterproofing properties beyond just preventing water from entering the surface; they must be supplemented with a waterproofing membrane or product in order to ensure full waterproofing capability.

In terms of cost, acrylic sealers tend to be more expensive than other types of sealers due to their durability and long lifespan; however they can still offer significant savings in overall maintenance costs over time compared with other materials such as paint or stain.

Epoxy Sealers

Description and Uses 

Epoxy sealers are a type of concrete sealer designed to protect and enhance the appearance of both interior and exterior masonry surfaces. They are typically composed of a two-component epoxy resin system that forms an impermeable membrane on the concrete surface.

Used primarily as a protective coating, epoxy sealers can also act as a waterproofer, strengthening the concrete’s resistance to water penetration and damaging freeze/thaw cycles. Additionally, they are highly resistant to chemicals, which makes them ideal for use around areas subjected to oil or other solvents.

Epoxy sealers can be applied to new or existing concrete surfaces with either brush or roller application methods. Once cured, they provide an attractive and durable finish that lasts for many years.

Benefits, Drawbacks and Cost

The primary benefit of epoxy sealers is their durability. If properly maintained by periodic cleanings, the sealed surface will remain in excellent condition for much longer than unsealed surfaces. They also offer excellent protection against water damage and weathering elements such as UV rays and salt air corrosion.

In addition, they can improve the overall look of a space by adding color and texture to concrete surfaces while providing superior stain resistance due to their extremely tight bond with the underlying substrate. 

Although epoxy sealers have several advantages, there are some drawbacks associated with them too. For one thing, they require more preparation than other types of coatings prior to application; this includes thorough cleaning and priming of the substrate in order for the material to properly cure and adhere properly.

Also, because epoxy is a permanent coating once cured it cannot easily be removed or altered without damaging the underlying surface; so it’s important that careful consideration be given beforehand in order ensure proper application techniques are used from start to finish.

Lastly, epoxy coatings tend to be quite expensive compared other types of sealants available on the market today (e.g., acrylics) making them cost prohibitive for some homeowners or businesses looking for an economical alternative when protecting their concrete surfaces from damage caused by harsh weather conditions or aggressive solvent exposure over time.

Polyurethane Sealers

Description and Uses 

Concrete sealers and waterproofers are products that protect concrete surfaces from damage caused by weather, water, air, or other environmental conditions. They work by forming a barrier between the surface of the concrete and any potential sources of damage. These products are available in a variety of forms, including films, sprays, or pastes. 

The most common type of concrete sealer is an acrylic-based film. These films form a protective membrane over the surface of the concrete that prevents absorption of dirt and moisture while allowing vapor to escape.

Acrylic films are typically clear and provide excellent protection against UV light, making them ideal for outdoor applications. Other types of sealers include epoxy coatings, urethane coatings, silicone sealers, and penetrating sealers.

Epoxy coatings provide strong protection against wear and tear, while urethane coatings provide superior resistance to oil and grease stains. Silicone sealers offer excellent adhesion capabilities while also providing durability against all types of weather conditions. Penetrating sealers are designed to create a water-resistant barrier within the pores of the concrete that allows water to drain away from the surface instead of being absorbed into it. 

Benefits, Drawbacks & Cost

The primary benefit of using concrete sealers is that they can help extend the life span of a concrete surface by protecting it from damage caused by weathering or environmental conditions such as moisture or cold temperatures.

Sealers also help prevent staining from dirt or oil spills as well as make surfaces easier to clean. Additionally, most types of sealer can enhance the appearance of a concrete surface by adding shine or color to it without having to resort to costly refinishing methods such as resurfacing or staining. 

One drawback associated with using concrete sealers is that some types can be expensive depending on their composition and durability rating. Additionally, some types may require specialized application methods in order to achieve optimal results which can further increase costs associated with their use.

Furthermore, not all sealer products offer protection against all kinds of damage; certain types may only offer limited protection against certain elements such as moisture or UV light while leaving other factors unprotected leading to premature deterioration if left unchecked for long periods of time.

Silane/Siloxane Sealers

Description and Uses

Concrete sealers and waterproofers are materials used to protect concrete surfaces from moisture, dirt, abrasion, stains, and chemicals. They are applied to the surface in a liquid form that penetrates the concrete and forms a barrier against water and other contaminants.

There are two types of concrete sealers: silane/siloxane sealers and acrylic-based sealers. Silane/siloxane sealers penetrate deeply into the concrete surface providing long-term protection with minimal film formation on top. They act like a sponge to repel water but allow vapor transmission.

Acrylic-based sealers form a thick coating on top of the concrete that gives good initial protection but breaks down over time due to ultraviolet radiation and wear. Both types come in various sheens from matte to high gloss finish so you can choose the look you want for your project.

Benefits, Drawbacks, and Cost 

Silane/siloxane sealers offer many advantages for protecting concrete surfaces including excellent waterproofing performance, non-toxic composition that won’t harm plants or animals, very low VOCs so no special ventilation equipment is needed when applying them.

Low maintenance once applied, UV resistance which keeps it looking great for longer periods of time, long lasting protection from 7-15 years depending on the product used and environmental conditions, breathable so it doesn’t trap moisture underneath which can cause cracks or delamination of the surface.

The main drawbacks are that they can be difficult to apply without special equipment such as airless spray guns or rollers and need to be reapplied more frequently than acrylic based sealers if subject to harsh weather or frequent traffic. In terms of cost they tend to be more expensive than acrylic-based sealers but their superior performance often justifies this additional expense.

Acrylic-based sealer provide good initial protection but break down over time due their inability to withstand UV radiation or abrasive wear in high traffic areas. The benefits include easy application with brushes or spray equipment as well as being lower cost up front compared to silane/siloxane products.

They also come in various sheens from matte to high gloss finishes so you can choose the look you’re after easily enough. The main drawbacks include poor breathability which allows trapping of water underneath resulting in cracks or delamination of the surface over time as well as shorter lifespan generally less than 7 years when exposed to harsh weather conditions or heavy traffic areas.

How To Choose Between A Concrete Sealer or Waterproofer?

How To Choose Between A Concrete Sealer or Waterproofer

Assessing Your Needs

Identifying Your Location

When choosing between a concrete sealer or waterproofer, one of the first things you need to consider is the location of your concrete. If the area is exposed to extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow, then a waterproofer may be the better choice.

This type of product will help protect the surface from water damage and stop it from absorbing moisture. On the other hand, if you are looking for something that will give your concrete a glossy finish and enhance its color, then a sealer might be more suitable. Sealers also provide extra protection against UV rays, so they are ideal for outdoor surfaces. 

Considering The Type Of Concrete You Have 

The type of concrete you have should be taken into account when deciding on whether to use a sealer or waterproofer. For example, if you have recently poured new concrete, then using a sealer can help protect it from stains and dirt while also giving it an attractive finish.

However, if you have older concrete that is already cracked or damaged in some way, then waterproofing may be the better option as it can fill in any gaps and prevent further deterioration due to moisture absorption. It’s important to know exactly what type of concrete you’re dealing with before making your decision. 

Determining The Level Of Protection You Need 

The level of protection required should also be considered when choosing between a sealer or waterproofer for your concrete project. If you want maximum protection against weather elements such as rain and snow, then opting for a waterproof coating is recommended.

This will not only provide additional defense against moisture but also stop dirt and debris from being absorbed by the surface too. On the other hand, if all that is needed is some extra protection from staining and fading caused by UV rays, then using a sealer could be enough in this instance. 

Identifying Your Budget 

Lastly, when selecting between a water resistant coatings or sealers for your concrete project, budget may play an important role in your decision making process too. Generally speaking, waterproofers tend to cost more than their sealant counterparts as they offer increased levels of protection against water damage over time; however this isn’t necessarily always true depending on what product you choose.

Similarly with sealants more expensive products usually offer superior long lasting protection while cheaper ones may not last quite as long before needing reapplication again in future years – so it’s worth researching different brands before committing to one particular product type prior to purchase in order to get best value for money overall.

Analyzing Performance Characteristics

Reviewing Breathability Ratings:

When choosing between a concrete sealer and waterproofer, it is important to take into account how breathable the product is. A sealer is typically more breathable than a waterproofer, which can trap moisture within the surface and lead to decay or mold growth.

It is important to consider the climate of the area as well as any potential sources of moisture in order to determine which type of product will work best. In areas with high levels of rainfall or humidity, it may be necessary to use a waterproofer in order to protect the surface from water damage, whereas in dry climates, a sealer may be sufficient for most applications.

Comparing Resistance To UV Rays:

Another factor to consider when selecting between a concrete sealer and waterproofer are their resistance ratings against UV rays. Both types of products will offer some form of protection against UV rays, but the level of protection can vary significantly between brands and formulas.

Concrete sealers tend to do a better job at blocking out UV rays due to their thicker consistency, while waterproofers usually have lower ratings due to their thinner consistency. It is important to check these ratings before purchasing in order to ensure that you are getting the best protection possible against harmful UV radiation. 

Checking Chemical And Stain Resistance Ratings:

Finally, it is also important to consider the chemical and stain resistance ratings when deciding between a concrete sealer or a waterproofer. Generally speaking, sealers are more resistant against chemicals and stains than waterproofers due to their thicker consistency.

However, this does not mean that all sealers are completely impervious; different formulas may provide varying degrees of protection depending on their ingredients and concentration levels. Furthermore, some formulas may even be formulated specifically for staining or sealing certain types of surfaces such as porcelain tiles or wood floors.

Checking these ratings prior purchase can help you make an informed decision about which type of product will give you the best results for your specific application needs.

Researching Different Brands / Manufacturers 

When choosing between a concrete sealer or waterproofer, one of the most important things to do is research different brands and manufacturers. This can be done by looking at customer reviews, reading product specifications and researching company backgrounds.

By doing this, it will give you an idea of what products are available, their quality, as well as how reputable the manufacturer or brand is. Additionally, it will also help you determine which product is best suited for your application. Furthermore, customer reviews can be especially helpful in determining whether or not a concrete sealer or waterproofer is worth considering.

Reading what customers have to say about a particular product can provide insight into whether or not the product performs up to expectations and if it offers the desired effect. 

Application Process For Concrete Sealers Or Waterproofers

Application Process For Concrete Sealers Or Waterproofers

Preparation Steps Before Applying A Product 

Before applying a concrete sealer or waterproofer, the first step is to make sure the surface is clean and dry. This can be done by using a pressure washer, scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush, or using an industrial strength cleaning product.

The next step is to repair any damage on the surface such as cracks, chips, or breaks. It’s important to use a patching agent that is compatible with the type of sealer that will be applied. After this, any existing coatings such as paint and oil should be removed with a chemical stripper or sandpaper.

Finally, it’s recommended to test for adhesion on a small area before applying sealant over the entire surface. This will help verify if there are any additional steps needed before proceeding with application process. 

Application Steps After Preparing The Surface 

Once the surface has been prepared for application process of concrete sealers or waterproofers, an appropriate brush or roller should be chosen depending on the size of the coverage area necessary. It’s important to use equipment that’s specifically designed for this purpose as using regular household brushes and rollers can cause streaks and uneven distribution of sealant when applied.

Once ready, carefully apply one thin coat of sealant according to manufacturer’s instructions over entire surface being sealed. Make sure not to miss any spots or corners and avoid flooding as it can lead to bubbling on final finish once dried.

Depending on temperature and humidity levels in surrounding environment it may take up to 24 hours for complete drying so try not to disturb area until specified time passes before adding another layer if needed or exposing sealed area again for regular use.

Can sealant stop water leaks?

Sealants can help prevent small water leaks on a pre-existing surface but are not designed to completely eliminate large existing leaks or cracks in your walls or ceilings. Additionally, applying a sealant will only work if all areas needing repair are properly sealed and allowed enough time to cure before being tested for leaks again. 

Is Concrete Sealer Permanent?

No, Concrete Sealer is generally not considered permanent as over time weathering can break down its protective properties leaving you with an unprotected surface that needs constant maintenance or re-coating every few years depending on environmental conditions like temperature and humidity levels in your area.  

Can I Seal My Concrete Myself?

Yes, you can definitely apply a concrete sealant yourself by following manufacturer’s instructions carefully but you must ensure that all surfaces needing protection have been thoroughly cleaned before application begins.

Doing this yourself may take longer than hiring a professional contractor but will still save you money overall if done correctly for larger surfaces like driveways or patios where multiple coats may be necessary for lasting protection against water damage caused by rain or snow.


Choosing between a sealer and a waterproofer is an important decision when it comes to protecting your concrete surface. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; rather, it’s important to take into account the type of surface you’re dealing with as well as the environment in your area to determine which product is best suited for your needs.

With its unique benefits, either product can provide excellent protection from the elements to ensure your concrete lasts longer than expected. From understanding the types of sealers and waterproofers available to knowing how they differ in application processes, this blog post has provided you with all the information needed for you to make an informed decision about which product is right for you!

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