Choosing the perfect sealant for your concrete worktop

Historically, concrete countertops are known for being stain prone and high maintenance. Worktops used to be sealed with substances like old fashioned wax and acrylic, which had to be topped up regularly and even then, didn’t do a very good job at stopping stains and scratches from appearing.

Thanks to new technology, this is simply no longer the case. Sealer manufacturers have finally noticed the high demand for products to protect concrete, and there are now so many more options out there.

What is the ideal sealant?

All concrete sealants are categorized as either topical or penetrating and it can be hard to choose between the two as there are very few ‘all-rounder’ products out there.

The main thing you should consider is that sealing concrete that is polished or honed with a diamond grit finer than #200 can become difficult for topical sealants as the surface is too smooth for it to stick.

Penetrating sealers, hardeners and wax are best for surfaces that have been polished to a gloss.

Penetrating sealants

Penetrating sealants come in liquid form. They’re applied to the concrete, left to soak in, and are almost invisible when the excess is wiped off and the worktop is dry.Most do not affect the appearance of dry, bare concrete, but some may leave the concrete looking drier or shinier than usual.

This type of sealant works by either decreasing the porosity and increasing the surface density (the hardeners/densifiers) of the surface, or by increasing the surface tension to cause beading.

While penetrating sealants do not block contact with the concrete, they stop liquid from inhibiting the surface.

Another important thing to consider is that this sealant does not provide great protection from aggressive staining agents like wine, mustard and oil, and struggled to protect against acidic items.

No other sealant than wax can be applied over a penetrating substance for extra protection.

Topical sealants

Most sealants on the market are categorized as topical, and most vary in appearance, performance and longevity. Wax, acrylics, and urethanes all fall under the topical umbrella.

Wax is the most basic sealant available and produces an attractive, low- to high-sheen finish that brings out the concrete’s colour and texture. It’s also very easy to apply but will leave stains if they are not immediately tended to.

Acrylics don’t ‘cure’ concrete, but dry it out and harden it to prevent stains. This type of sealant provides great stain and heat protection, but can easily be scratched and needs to be reapplied frequently.Urethanes contain many of the ‘ideal sealant’ qualities and come both water-based and solvent-based. They are very stain and heat resistant, provide greate UV resistance, are scratch-resistant, and come in both matte and glossy finishes.

They do need to be applied over a primer, and must be measured out precisely and mixed thoroughly to provide the best finish possible.
Want to know more?
Our team at Stonewokrop would be more than happy to assist in finding you the perfect sealant. Simply contact us via email or telephone. All of our details can be found on our contact page.