Sealed Concrete Vs Epoxy: Based on 3 Factors [Differences]

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

The advancement of concrete sealers and epoxy coatings has revolutionized the way that concrete is used for commercial, residential, and industrial applications.

Concrete sealers provide a protective layer that helps to prevent damage from wear and tear, moisture damage, staining, and more. Epoxy coatings can add further protection in addition to aesthetic appeal.

To determine which system is the best choice for a given project there are several factors to consider including the types of sealers and epoxies available on the market today, their respective benefits, drawbacks, cost-effectiveness, long-term durability, maintenance requirements, and overall aesthetics options.

In this blog post we will go over each type of system in detail so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to choose. 

Sealed Concrete 

Types of Sealers Used

1. Acrylics: 

Are a popular type of sealer used on concrete surfaces due to their low cost and easy application. However, acrylics don’t last as long as some of the other types of sealers and don’t provide the same level of protection.

2. Silicates: 

Silicates penetrate deep into the concrete surface to provide long-lasting protection from weathering, staining, and wear. They also help to increase the strength and durability of concrete surfaces.

3. Urethanes: 

Are a top choice for sealing concrete surfaces due to their high level of protection and durability. They are more expensive than other types of sealers but they will last longer and provide better protection.

Benefits of Sealed Concrete 

1. Durability and Strength: 

One of the benefits of sealed concrete is that it is more durable and stronger than unsealed concrete. The sealer helps to protect the surface from weathering, staining, and wear. This can prolong the life of your concrete surfaces and help them to look new for longer.

2. Aesthetics and Color Options: 

Sealed concrete can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of your surfaces with its glossy finish and wide range of color options. You can choose a color that complements your home or business’s exterior or interior design scheme.

3. Easier Maintenance Requirements: 

Another benefit of sealed concrete is that it is easier to maintain than unsealed concrete. The sealer helps to resist staining and fading, so you won’t have to clean as often. Plus, if you do need to clean your sealed concrete surfaces, it’s easier because the sealer provides a barrier against dirt and grime build-up.

Drawbacks to Sealed Concrete Systems

1. Higher Upfront Costs for Materials and Installation

One of the main drawbacks to sealed concrete systems is the higher upfront cost associated with materials and installation. Sealed concrete systems typically require multiple layers of specialized products, including sealers, joint fillers, and other materials that are used to create a complete system.

These materials are more expensive than basic paint or concrete sealers and require extra labor for proper installation. On top of the costs associated with materials, labor costs can also be quite high due to the need for specialized professionals who understand how to properly apply the necessary products and techniques for sealed concrete systems.

Therefore, it is important for potential customers to understand that there will be higher upfront costs associated with this type of system compared to other options such as paint or interior flooring.

2. Susceptible to Moisture Damage, Staining, and Wear Over Time

Another drawback of sealed concrete systems is their susceptibility to moisture damage, staining, and wear over time. Despite having a protective layer on top of the concrete slab or foundation, water can still penetrate through small cracks in the sealant over time or when pressure is applied from outside sources such as heavy furniture or equipment being moved across it too frequently.

This can cause staining and weakened areas where water has been accumulating which can lead to further deterioration over time if not addressed quickly enough. In addition, because of its sealing nature, dirt and grime can become trapped in between the seals which makes them difficult to remove without professional help or special cleaning solutions designed specifically for sealed concrete surfaces which can be costly both financially and time-wise.

Epoxy Coating Systems

Epoxy Coating Systems

Types of Epoxy Coatings Available on the Market Today

Water-Based Epoxies

Epoxy coating systems have become popular for a wide range of applications due to their superior protection, durability, and strength. Water-based epoxy coatings are among the most commonly used epoxy systems because they provide an ideal balance between performance and cost efficiency.

They can be applied as a single layer or multiple layers depending on the desired level of adhesion and protection. Water-based epoxy coatings offer excellent barrier properties against moisture, stains, chemicals, and abrasion while also remaining flexible enough to expand and contract with movement in the substrate.

These coatings cure quickly and form a hard film that resists chipping, cracking, peeling, or flaking. They are formulated with combinations of resins and hardeners that create strong crosslinks between molecules that create a protective seal over the substrate surface.

In addition to being used for floors and walls, water-based epoxies can also be used on roofs, decks, driveways, tanks and pipelines in industrial settings as well as swimming pools in residential settings. 

Water-based epoxide coatings contain low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) making them safe for indoor use without ventilation or masks usually required for solvent based products.

This low VOC content also helps reduce environmental impact when compared to solvent-based products which release VOCs into the atmosphere upon application.

Furthermore water based products can be safely disposed of in normal waste streams whereas solvent based must be treated as hazardous waste due to their higher VOC levels. 

The main disadvantage of water-based epoxies is that they require multiple coats to achieve maximum performance compared to similar solvent based products which often require only one coat.

Additionally water based epoxies may not be suitable for certain applications such as seals around pipes where flexibility is not required since they tend to remain slightly flexible even when cured completely due to their molecular structure. However with proper preparation they can provide excellent adhesion and protection even in challenging environments.. 

Solvent-Based Epoxies

Solvent-based epoxies are typically more expensive than their water-based counterparts but offer superior performance benefits in many applications including industrial flooring systems.

Solvent based coatings cure faster than water based systems; this allows them to form a high build film with fewer coats required for full thickness coverage than would otherwise be necessary using a standard multi-coat system.

They typically have higher levels of chemical resistance at reduced film thicknesses allowing for greater protection per volume applied than comparable non solvent formulations without sacrificing quality assurance standards or safety regulations . 

In addition , solvent based formulations offer improved elasticity allowing them to accommodate greater levels of expansion and contraction while still providing outstanding adhesion when applied properly over properly prepared substrates such as concrete or metal surfaces .

Similarly , these products are often far more resistant to chips , cracks , peels , etc., making them ideal protective finishes on items requiring additional strength such as machinery components or structural steel beams .

Lastly , unlike water based products these formulations typically do not require additional curing time after application meaning there is no wait time between coats potentially reducing job site downtime associated with multi – layer application processes . 

Overall , both types of epoxy coating systems provide outstanding performance benefits depending on the needs of the specific application .

Understanding their various qualities will help contractors choose the best option available for each project . It is important however that all safety precautions are taken prior to usage regardless of whether it is a water or solvent based product being utilized .

Benefits of Epoxy Coating Systems


One of the main draws to using epoxy coating systems is the cost-effectiveness they provide compared to other options. Epoxy coatings can be applied quickly by professionals with minimal labor costs, making them an excellent choice for both commercial and residential applications with tight budgets or limited resources.

The materials themselves are also relatively inexpensive when compared to more durable options like titanium or stainless steel. Additionally, it’s possible to save money on labor costs since there is no need for specialized equipment or trained personnel for installation; even DIYers can apply epoxy coatings successfully with just basic tools and knowledge available from tutorial videos online or from local hardware stores.  

Durability Against Wear & Tear, Stains & Moisture Damage 

The durability provided by epoxy coating systems makes them one of the top choices for industrial settings that require long-term protection against wear and tear as well as water damage caused by humidity or spills.

Not only do these coatings offer superior strength when compared to conventional paints; they also come with strong adhesion properties that help keep surfaces looking new even after years of exposure to dirt and dust particles along with environmental elements such as UV rays and saltwater spray that could otherwise cause fading or discoloration over time.

Additionally, epoxy coatings are highly resistant to common household chemicals such as bleach or acids found in cleaning products which is important when applied near kitchens or bathrooms where spills are likely to occur more often than elsewhere in the home. 

Easy Cleanup Maintenance Requirements 

Another benefit offered by epoxy coatings is the fact that they don’t require much maintenance outside of occasional cleaning throughout the year which makes them an ideal option for homeowners who don’t have much time on their hands but still care about keeping their surfaces looking nice all year long.

The majority of stains can be easily wiped away with a damp cloth while tougher spots may require a bit more elbow grease along with some light abrasives such as baking soda paste if necessary; however these methods should only be used sparingly so as not to damage the protective layer applied during installation otherwise reapplication may be necessary in order to keep your surfaces looking pristine over time.  

Wide Range Of Available Colors And Finishes 

Epoxy coating systems come in a wide range of colors ranging from deep blues and greens that go well with pool decks or outdoor areas exposed to sun all day long up through subtle neutrals perfect for interior walls that need something simple yet effective when it comes down it providing additional protection against scratches or moisture damage caused by everyday tasks like cooking dinner or washing dishes around the sink area without taking away too much attention from other design elements within any given space such as furniture pieces complimented by wall art hanging up nearby .

Furthermore , these systems can also come in various finishes depending on what kind of look you’re interested in achieving whether you want something glossy like diamond floors typically seen inside large retail stores where foot traffic is highest all day every day or maybe something matte designed Soley designed To resist oil stains found in kitchens near stove tops where greasy messes occur most frequently

Drawbacks to Epoxy Coating Systems

Susceptible to Cracking When Not Properly Installed:

Epoxy coatings systems are prone to cracking when not properly installed, leading to a costly repair or replacement process. This is due to several factors such as inadequate preparation of the surface, incorrect mixing of the epoxy components, improper curing and drying times, and insufficient protection from environmental factors such as temperature and humidity changes.

To properly install an epoxy coating system, all surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned and prepped, the epoxy components must be mixed correctly per manufacturer instructions, and conditions must be adequately controlled during installation to allow for proper cure times.

If any of these steps are not completed properly or neglected altogether, then the resulting coating can become cracked or otherwise compromised over time leading to expensive repairs or replacements. 

More Difficult Removal Process Once Installed:

Once an epoxy coating system has been fully applied and cured it can be very difficult to remove without causing damage or creating hazardous materials in the process. This is because epoxies are very durable once fully cured and often require harsh chemicals or high powered abrasives for removal which can result in hazardous fumes that need special disposal procedures or other safety measures that may make removal difficult or even dangerous depending on the location of the epoxy coating system in question.

Furthermore, if the removal involves altering existing structures then additional costs may need to be included for reconstruction work afterward which can add significantly more expense than originally anticipated if an epoxy coating system needs replaced due unexpected circumstances such as environmental exposure damages like moisture infiltration. 

Can Off-Gas Harmful VOCs Depending Upon Type Selected:

When selecting an epoxy coating system there are different formulations with varying levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present within them which off-gas into their surrounding environment over time after application has been completed.

The amount of VOCs emitted depends on both the type of epoxy used along with its formulation specifications so it is important to consider this when choosing a product as some types can emit higher than desired levels creating a potential health risk from inhalation by those exposed in areas where ventilation is poor or non-existent such as basements and crawl spaces.

In cases where VOC emissions are a concern it may be wise to select an epoxy formulation that has low levels of VOCs present but also ensure proper ventilation either through mechanical means (fans) or natural air flow so that any potential health risks associated with VOCs can be minimized accordingly during post application curing processes until they dissipate completely from their environment.

Does epoxy keep concrete from cracking?

Does epoxy keep concrete from cracking

Yes, epoxy can help to keep concrete from cracking. By creating a strong bond between the concrete and the epoxy, it reinforces the strength of the concrete and prevents cracks from appearing. When applied correctly, epoxy can act as a shock absorber for any heavy loads placed on top of the concrete, thus preventing any fractures or other damage to occur.

Furthermore, epoxy fills any existing cracks in concrete and acts as an adhesive to further strengthen it. This significantly increases the lifespan of concrete and ensures that it remains crack-free for many years. 

Is it too late to seal concrete? 

No, it is never too late to seal your concrete! Sealing your concrete is an important part of protecting it against moisture, oil, dirt and other external elements that can cause damage over time.

In fact, sealing your concrete is one of the best ways to make sure that your flooring lasts longer and looks better for longer periods of time. Furthermore, sealing your concrete makes it easier to clean and maintain on a regular basis which helps reduce deterioration over time due to dirt build-up or other harmful elements.

Therefore, if you are considering preserving and protecting your concrete flooring then applying a sealant is highly recommended regardless of how old it may be! 

Can you permanently seal concrete? 

Answer: Yes, you most certainly can permanently seal your concrete surface! Using a high quality penetrating sealer is one way to ensure that the protective layer created by the sealant will remain intact for many years on end.

Such sealers penetrate deep into the surface pores of the cement material where they fill in any existing cavities while also forming an invisible barrier against water absorption, dirt accumulation and damages caused by external elements like UV rays or chemical compounds present in certain cleaning agents.

Moreover, these types of permanent seals will not wear off even with regular use so this makes them ideal for long-term protection for both indoor and outdoor surfaces alike! 

How long does a seal last on concrete? 

Answer: The exact amount of time that a seal lasts on a particular piece of concrete depends largely on what type of product was used when initially applied as well as how well maintained it has been since then. Generally speaking though, most types of quality penetrating seals should last anywhere between 5-10 years with proper upkeep while some higher grade versions have been known to last up 20 years or more without needing another application!

Certain factors such as exposure to sunlight or highly acidic cleaners have been known to decrease the longevity of certain types so taking proper precautions when using these materials will help ensure that your surface remains protected for much longer periods than expected.  

What is stronger, epoxy or concrete? 

Answer: It depends on what purpose they are being used for as both materials have their own unique strengths depending on application requirements. For example, when used solely in terms providing sufficient structural support then traditional poured-in-place reinforced concretes are generally considered stronger than epoxies due primarily its superior compressive strength ratings which allow it handle heavier loads better than most other construction materials available today including epoxies.

On the other hand however; when used strictly in terms providing decorative finishings then epoxies are generally favored over conventional concretes due primarily its superior tensile strength ratings which allow them resist flexing forces better than traditional concretes ever could thus making them perfect for applications such countertops or floorings where durability is key requirement!


Both sealed concrete systems and epoxy coatings offer excellent protection against wear and tear as well as providing enhanced aesthetic appeal. However, they also have their respective drawbacks such as higher upfront costs for materials and installation with sealed concrete systems as well as susceptibility to moisture damage with epoxy coatings.

Ultimately the best choice will be determined by the specifics of your project including budget considerations, desired aesthetics options, long term durability requirements etc. Be sure to research all available options carefully before making a final decision so you can get the most out of your investment in either sealed concrete or epoxies.

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