How Long Does Concrete Sealer Last?

Concrete sealer is a great way to protect your concrete surfaces from the elements. It can also help prevent stains and keep your concrete looking new. But how long does the concrete sealer last? Read on to find out. 

How Long Does Concrete Sealer Last

What Is Concrete Sealer?

Concrete sealers are protective coatings applied to concrete surfaces to protect and enhance the substrate. There are several major types:

  • Acrylic sealers – These water-based sealers penetrate the surface and offer good protection against water, salts, and other chemicals. They allow moisture vapor transmission so the concrete can breathe. Acrylics are inexpensive, easy to apply, and suitable for a variety of applications.
  • Epoxy sealers – Epoxies form a hard, durable film on the concrete surface that is highly resistant to abrasion, chemicals, and water. They offer excellent protection for garage floors, industrial floors, and areas with heavy traffic. 
  • Polyurethane sealers – Polyurethanes provide a flexible, high-gloss coating that is extremely durable. They resist chemicals, abrasion, and high traffic while allowing moisture vapor transmission. Polyurethanes are ideal for decorative concrete applications.
  • Silicate sealers – These penetrate below the surface to provide water repellency while still allowing breathability. Silicates work by chemically reacting with the concrete, so they can only be used on bare, new concrete.

Sealing concrete serves several important purposes:

  • Protects against damage from water, deicing salts, and other chemicals
  • Helps prevent freeze-thaw damage in cold climates
  • Provides a layer of protection against abrasion and wear
  • Enhances the appearance with a glossy, wet look that highlights the color
  • Makes cleaning and maintenance easier
  • Extends the service life of concrete

Applying a quality sealer is one of the best ways to protect concrete and keep it looking great over the long term.

How Concrete Sealers Work

Concrete sealers work by penetrating into the pores of the concrete and forming a protective barrier. This barrier helps repel water, stains, salts, and other damaging materials to prevent deterioration and discoloration.

There are two main types of concrete sealers that work in slightly different ways:

  • Penetrating sealers sink deep into the concrete to form a water-repellent layer below the surface. This helps prevent moisture from seeping in and causing cracks, spalling, or other damage. Penetrating sealers usually contain silane, siloxane, or silicone-based chemicals.
  • Topical coatings remain on the concrete surface to create a protective barrier. These sealers help repel stains, chemicals, and abrasion. Topical sealers include acrylics, epoxies, and urethanes. They form a thin plastic-like film on the surface.

Both types work by adhering to the concrete pores and forming a barrier. This waterproofs the concrete to prevent deterioration while allowing vapor transmission so moisture doesn’t get trapped underneath. Proper sealing helps maintain the look and integrity of concrete surfaces.

Does Concrete Sealer Wear Off?

Yes, it does, and here are some telltale signs to watch out for:

  • Fading, flaking, and peeling – Over time, the sealer will start to lose its luster and may begin flaking or peeling away in spots. This exposes the bare concrete underneath, meaning it’s no longer protected.
  • Loss of gloss – Most concrete sealers are designed to have a glossy, wet sheen. When the surface starts looking dull and matte, the protective gloss is fading.
  • Returning stains – Sealers help prevent staining from oil, grease, food, drinks, and other spills. If you notice new stains appearing that are harder to clean, the sealer’s repellency is wearing thin.
  • New cracks – Concrete naturally develops hairline cracks from use and weathering. But if you start seeing brand new cracks or existing ones widening, it likely means the sealer has worn off in those spots.

Factors That Determine How Long a Concrete Sealer Will Last 

The lifespan of a concrete sealer can vary quite a bit depending on several key factors:

Type of Sealer Used

The specific type of concrete sealer used has a big impact on durability. Sealers come in water-based, solvent-based, acrylic, epoxy, and polyurethane varieties. Solvent-based and epoxy tend to last the longest.

Application Method

How the sealer is applied also affects lifespan. Rollers, brushes, or sprayers can be used. Sprayers provide the most uniform application and longest protection. 

Concrete Condition

The condition of the concrete before sealing is important. Newer, smoother concrete in good shape will allow the sealer to last longer than old, heavily worn, or cracked surfaces.

Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions like weather, sun exposure, freezing temps, UV rays, chemicals, and high foot or vehicle traffic will degrade sealers faster. Using a sealer rated for the conditions can help maximize durability.

Expected Lifespan by Type

The expected lifespan of a concrete sealer depends on the specific type used:

  • Acrylic sealers typically last 1-3 years before needing reapplication. 
  • Epoxy sealers are more durable, lasting 5-10 years on average.
  • Polyurethane concrete sealers last anywhere from 5-10 years.
  • Penetrating concrete sealers typically last 5-10 years 

Final Thoughts

The lifespan of concrete sealers varies, with acrylics and urethanes typically lasting 1-3 years, while epoxies can last 3-5 years or more. The longevity heavily depends on how well the sealer is applied—multiple thin coats are often more effective than a single thick one. Regular maintenance and following manufacturer guidelines can help extend the life of your concrete sealer, keeping your surfaces protected for longer.  

If you’re looking to seal your concrete floors, our team at Atlantic Concrete Design can help. We specialize in top-quality concrete sealing solutions tailored to protect and beautify your space. Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can bring the best out of your concrete with our expert flooring solutions.

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