Concrete floor sealers are a one-step, quick way to tackle multiple problems with renovated, rejuvenated or freshly laid interior concrete flooring. This covers new builds – in retail and commercial properties – and renovated properties inclusive of restaurants, garages, boutiques, showrooms, factory warehouses, loading in bays of supermarkets, and manufacturing plants. As you would imagine from the scope of property projects that would benefit from a concrete floor sealer, it does hang on using the right floor sealer and not simply the first one to hand.
If you are unsure as to which floor sealer to use for a concrete floor to waterproof it, control and eliminate dust build-up, protect it from oil and chemical spills, impact, scuffs, stains, abrasions and discolouration, this guide is for you.
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- How do I apply a floor sealer?
- Is there a difference between decorative concrete floor sealers and protective ones?
- Is a floor sealer the same as a floor paint?
- Can floor sealers be used as part of decorative rejuvenation work?
- Are toxics and VOCs hazardous to breathe in when applying floor sealers?
- How can I make sure I get the correct floor sheen finish?
- How long will a sealer protect my concrete flooring?
- Which sealer should I use for light to medium vehicular traffic?
- Which floor sealer is best for muddy pedestrian traffic?
- Can I apply a floor sealer in one coat?
- Can I pick a floor sealer colour, or will it just be a clear coating?
- What is the typical meter squared coverage on a concrete floor?
- Do I need a specialist floor sealer to treat existing damp problems?
- Are concrete floor sealers anti-slip coatings?
- Can I seal over cracks in concrete, or should I repair them first?
- Will I need a specific floor sealer for external concrete – patios, driveways, paths and walls?
- What is the best sealer for power floated concrete floors?
- What is the best floor sealer for screeded concrete surfaces?
- Further support
How do I apply a floor sealer?
A straightforward guide to applying concrete floor sealer:
- Clear the room of fixtures and equipment – leaving an empty space where the floor can be segmented into areas you want to work on first, leading back to access/entrance points
- Clear away any dust, dirt, cobwebs, insects, debris and other loose material for a floor inspection to check for any cracks and damage that will need repairing first
- Ensure the room is now clearly ventilated and entrance points cordoned off to the public and restricted access available only to workers
- Where required, using a high-quality degreaser, clean away any oil, standing water stains, or grease discolouration spots
- More stubborn stains and marks may require a wire brush to scrub them off
- Where applicable, wash the concrete floor with clean water to remove the degreasing product and any leftover dust and debris
- Leave to thoroughly dry
- Using relevant repair materials, fix and fill-in cracks, crevices, holes and divots in the concrete
- Allow the concrete filler to dry for the time specified on the product’s datasheet
- Pour the concrete sealer into a suitable application tray or in certain instances directly onto the floor and apply the sealer evenly across the floor using a brush, roller, squeegee or spray dependent upon product instructions.
- Allow the sealer to cure before trafficking and replacing equipment and machinery.
Is there a difference between decorative concrete floor sealers and protective ones?
Concrete floor sealers are clear, and certain products may be used on dyed or stained concrete floors to protect the underlying decorations. Polished concrete can be a central focus point in many public establishments – inclusive of museums, art galleries and lavish hotel lobbies – and any but a clear concrete sealer could spoil the intricate detail.
Please check the datasheet of the sealer to ensure its compatibility with the decorative concrete surface it is being applied to.
Is a floor sealer the same as a floor paint?
No. Floor paints are available in a wide range of colours and sheens, whereas floor sealers are used to bind and seal the surface. Most floor sealers can be painted over, or left as a finish if desired. There is a wide range of floor sealers dependant on your budget – starting with 314 Clear Floor Sealer, which is a cost-effective product which can also be used on wood or metal.
High quality floor sealers will not yellow.
Can floor sealers be used as part of decorative rejuvenation work?
Yes, floor sealers can protect intricate décor on listed buildings which may be open to the public for display – protecting it from footfall wear and tear.
Are VOCs hazardous to breathe in when applying floor sealers?
Yes, epoxy and solvent based floor sealers can contain hazardous levels of VOCs, and all persons using and around the work environment should use personal protection equipment, and areas kept well ventilated. Some products are professional use only and relevant product data sheets should always be referred to before use. For water-based floor sealers, Rust-Oleum 5220 Epoxyshield Sealer reduces dust production and is touch dry in just one hour.
How can I make sure I get the correct floor sheen finish?
If you are unsure as to the suitability of a floor sealer for your project, please contact Rawlins Paints’ technical support team who will be able to make sure you pick the correct low or high sheen product.
How long will a sealer protect my concrete flooring?
This will depend on the environment. For atmospheric environments, Jotun have some excellent floor sealers, including Jotun Penguard Clear Sealer, a two component and transparent polyamide cured high molecular weight epoxy sealer, which can be used as a primer, or finish coat in a new flooring system.
Concrete floors which may undergo extreme stress from heavy vehicular action, inclusive of aircraft hangers, would be better suited to the long-term protection of Jotun Jotafloor Sealer.
Areas which are undergoing a full floor installation, including an epoxy paint system for extra durability, may require Coo-Var Two Pack High Performance Primer.
Which sealer should I use for light to medium vehicular traffic?
Concrete is a tough and durable material, but under duress from vehicular – and even pedestrian – traffic, it can generate excessive dust from being untreated. Even brushing down concrete dust can generate more dust!
Moisture can easily be absorbed by untreated and porous concrete, meaning that oil, fats and grease can quickly stain and discolour it. A suitable sealer will waterproof and protect the concrete, allowing for quick and easy cleaning.
For areas where vehicles are used internally and externally, a hydrophobic surface resistance to water, chemicals and oils is vital.
Vehicular traffic can also cause impact and abrasion damage, and below are three concrete floor sealers which will protect heavily used work areas:
Sikafloor ProSeal 90 is a one component product with a higher efficiency curing, sealing and hardening liquid for interior and exterior use where vehicular activity will regularly be undertaken.
Rawlins Paints distribute many Sikafloor concrete sealers for next day delivery, each with different heavy duty and durable capacities dependant on the environment and load expectation. From this selection, Sikafloor 11 Pronto is a two-part, medium viscosity and fast curing primer for car-parks and industrial floor purposes, where transportation equipment will be used.
Ideal for workshops, walkways and production areas where conventional surface preparation is not possible, Sikafloor Resiplot is a high-end floor system for concrete.
Which floor sealer is best for muddy pedestrian traffic?
For areas where pedestrian traffic in autumn and winter months can generate a lot of mess, with mud, snow and water being brought in, a durable floor cleaner will be required that can meet the expectations of light vehicular action from industrial floor cleaners. Supermarket loading-in areas are a typical example of where externally exposed pedestrian areas may require a heavier duty floor sealer.
Below are some floor sealers ideal for warehouses, garages, schools and commercial properties with large shutter entrances:
For small floor areas, try Rust-Oleum 5401 Epoxy Impregnation Primer – which can be used under other Rust-Oleum floor paints for a striking floor finish in public facing areas. Alternately. Try Sikafloor 2540W, again for porous areas of concrete not requiring large scale renovation or installation work.
305 HD Clear Sealer is a heavier duty concrete floor sealer which cures quickly and is chemically resistant to work well in conjunction with rigorous cleaning products.
Can I apply a floor sealer in one coat?
Yes, there are one coat floor sealers available
Can I pick a floor sealer colour, or will it just be a clear coating?
Concrete floor sealers are generally clear in finish, but do offer low and high sheen options.
What is the typical meter squared coverage on a concrete floor?
Please refer to each products’ datasheet to check its typical floor coverage ratio. There are environmental and humidity levels to consider when measuring up square meter from usage, too. Some locations may require a low temperature floor sealer, others a rapid cure one for minimal downtime.
Do I need a specialist floor sealer to treat existing damp problems?
There are specialist floor primers and sealers to tackle underlying damp issues a concrete floor may have, inclusive of 402 Damp Proof Coating, which can be applied as two coats for areas of increased sub-floor dampness.
Are concrete floor sealers anti-slip coatings?
No, floor sealers are not specifically designed to be anti-slip, and if a concrete surface does get wet or greasy, it can still be slippery. It is best to use a specialist anti-slip floor paint system to ensure that your concrete floor meets anti-slip health and safety requirements.
Can I seal over cracks in concrete, or should I repair them first?
All cracks, gaps, holes, divots and crevices must be repaired first. A floor sealer cannot fully protect damaged areas from further impact damage if they are left vulnerable and unrepaired – even small cracks can elevate in severity under pressure if untreated.
Will I need a specific floor sealer for external concrete – patios, driveways, paths and walls?
There are floor sealers available for interior and exterior use – including for stone and brick, as well as concrete and cement.
What is the best sealer for power floated concrete floors?
Power floated concrete floors are polished by machine before the concrete cures – producing a dense, smooth and glossy surface finish. These types of concrete floor if allowed to cure will need to be etched or sandblasted prior to the use of a sealer or paint coating. Sika offer a range of ‘Proseal’ sealers available for use as the power float floor is laid.
What is the best floor sealer for screeded concrete surfaces?
Screed concrete floors are applied on top of concrete slabs to level a surface. Due to the method of application, screeded concrete is usually rougher and more heavily textured, leaving it more porous. Screeded concrete floors should be mechanically abraded to remove laitance and salts, enabled better adhesion of floor paints and sealers.
If you have any further questions about concrete floor sealers, please leave a question in the comments section, or contact us at Rawlins Paints via phone/email.
We have sealed a concrete floor with PVA. What is now the best floor paint to use.
Good morning Adrian,
Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. We would need to know what the floor was first of all, i.e. garage, warehouse, carpark, etc. and whether it’s an internal/external floor, and what level of traffic it would be receiving.
If you could let me know, I’ll get straight back to you with a floor paint recommendation.
We have a concrete floor entrance to the warehouse which has forklift traffic continuously during the day. We have tried to decrease, clean with water and allow to dry but different types of floor paint are lifting at the entrance to the warehouse. We have peeled back all the loose paint and are looking for help in what to do next, which primer if any to use and any suggestions on how we can repaint again without it lifting.
Good afternoon Neil,
We would suspect that the failure of the things you have tried so far have been a combination of preparation and curing times. Between insufficient preparation and not having a coating that dries quickly enough before heavy use is brought back is likely resulting in premature failure of any coatings, so we would suggest the key to getting something to last longer would be to prepare the surface thoroughly by way of diamond grinding and then using something very fast curing such as RSL Elladur™ SF.
We have a concrete floor inside a shop unit, that gets very cold and emits some dust. We need a sealer that will be long lasting, stop the floor from letting out dust, can be mopped over regularly and help to insulate the space a little bit. Which would you recommend?
Good morning and thank-you for your question.
We would suggest our 305 HD Clear Sealer for this, it would tick all the boxes you require, apart from the ‘insulate’ element – we don’t have anything that would provide this to the floor.
Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with on this project.
We’ve an internal polished concrete floor in a kitchen which we hope will look something like the art gallery photo at the top. What do you suggest in terms of sealant / varnish. I think we want a semi shiny finish.
Good morning David,
In answer to your question, this section of the article covers what I believe you are trying to achieve:
“Power floated concrete floors are polished by machine before the concrete cures – producing a dense, smooth and glossy surface finish. These types of concrete floor if allowed to cure will need to be etched or sandblasted prior to the use of a sealer or paint coating. Sika offer a range of ‘Proseal’ sealers available for use as the power float floor is laid.”
Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with today.
The downstairs floor of our Barn is heavily riven concrete slabs. They are probably patio slabs and not sure why they were installed when the Barn converted,before we bought it. To make matters worse the slabs have a very uneven, streaked gloss brown sealant. I am starting g to strip the floors, starting with the smallest in the cloakroom, then 6 large rooms to do! I’d like to seal the floors with a Lear matt sealant.
Are any of your products suitable for interior use to get such a finish?
We’d recommend Tikkurila Fontedur FL Matt.
We are going to lay in the near future a concrete power floated floor in an extension and porch area. Could you recommend a penetrant hardener and sealer that we could apply. It is our primary entrance to the property and is also used by multiple dogs. We are looking for a hard wearing natural finish with no rxtra shine.
Sika offer a range of ‘Proseal’ sealers for power floated concrete floors, we have them available on our website for order.
Hi please could you recommend a product for our new flooring in hall and utility – concrete replica flagstones – we need something to protect from spillages etc and and also to give a mid sheen. Ideally in a one coat application if possible
Many thanks for your question. For this application we would recommend Smartkote Safekote. It offers an attractive finish which also contains a rounded anti-slip particle, so it can be easily cleaned while offering a slip resistant surface.
Thank you again for getting in touch and I hope this helps.