Making Sense of Garage Floor Sealers

garage floor sealer

A garage floor sealer sounds simple enough when you want to seal the concrete in your garage, but did you know that they come in two categories; topical sealers, such as epoxy coatings, polyurethanes, polyaspartics, and acrylics, and then penetrating sealers.  Which do you choose?  What are you trying to accomplish?  Which is best for your application?  Getting bewildered yet?  Don’t worry, it’s not as confusing as it might seem at first.

Sealing the concrete in the garage is one of many garage flooring options available today. Many times you are working on the premise of protecting the bare gray concrete for a nice clean look at the most economical cost.

However, the many colored epoxy and paint coatings available on the market today are technically sealers as well.  We will look at the different type of garage floor sealers available, discuss their properties, and learn how they will work on your garage floor.

Topical Garage Floor Sealers

Topical sealers adhere to the surface of concrete.  Known as film forming sealers or floor coatings, they form a protective layer that adheres to the surface.  Film forming sealers can be colored in order to change the looks of the concrete or they can be clear.  Clear sealers will enhance the look of bare concrete as well as bring out the color of stained concrete.

Acrylic concrete sealers

acrylic concrete garage floor sealer
Clear acrylic garage floor sealer in a matte finish

Most acrylic sealers are clear and form a thin protective layer on bare concrete that is fairly easy to apply.  You can use either a pump-up sprayer for the application or apply it with a paint brush and paint rollers out of a tray.  Typically two thin coats are applied for the best protection.

Acrylics sealers will protect the floor from water and chloride intrusion and give moderate protection against oil stains, vehicle fluids, hot tire pick up, and road salt if cleaned up fairly quickly.

They can also enhance the look of the floor in your garage by giving it a somewhat wet, glossy look or you can opt for a less flashy matte finish.  Once applied, it will dry to the touch in a few hours.  It can be driven on the next day and sometimes sooner depending on weather conditions at the time of application.

Look for an acrylic sealer with UV protection if you have parts of your garage floor that is exposed to sunlight.  If you don’t opt for the UV protection, the sun can cause the sealer to yellow over time.

 Learn more here: The Easy Finish of Acrylic Floor Sealers

Though they are the least durable of the topical sealers, they stand up well to light or moderate traffic and may need to be reapplied once every 18 to 24 months.

For a more durable alternative, we recommend the performance of MMA acrylic sealers.  These have longer endurance properties than standard acrylics sealers and can withstand harsher chemicals.

Garage floor coatings

Next in the lineup of topical sealers are garage floor coatings.  These are typically 2-part resinous coatings that are mixed together before being applied to the concrete in multiple coats.  They chemically cure and create a hard coating that is extremely durable.  The thickness and abrasive properties, including chemical resistance of these coatings, can vary depending on which type of product is used.

Epoxy concrete sealers

epoxy garage floor sealer
Epoxy coated garage floor sealer

The most popular of these coatings would be garage floor epoxy.  Epoxy creates a dense cross linking adhesion in the coating due to the chemical bonding it provides.  This makes epoxy sealers a much thicker coating than acrylic and very durable.  They are more difficult to apply however.  They require thorough concrete preparation, they are time sensitive during application and must go on using paint brushes and rollers.

Epoxy sealers can withstand heavy traffic and are abrasion resistant.  They are also  resistant to water, most chemicals, oil, vehicle fluids, road salts, and hot tire pick up.  It’s generally not a problem if you are slow to clean up any oil or fluids from your car that usually stain concrete.  When you do clean, they will wipe right up and all the floor needs is mild soap and water to clean.

Epoxies are available in a clear coat as well as pigmented finishes and have a glossy shine that will enhance color in the concrete.  They are susceptible to UV rays however and can yellow if exposed to sunlight. A good quality epoxy coating can last for years on your garage floor.

Learn more here:  Why Epoxy is the Premier Garage Floor Coating

Many of the garage floor coating systems today are made with a combination of layers of pigmented and clear coat epoxy to give a garage floor a very durable, chip resistant finish that will last many years.  If that’s not in the budget, then a simple clear or pigmented coat on your floor will still give you greater protection for a longer period of time compared to acrylic sealers.

Polyurethane concrete sealers

Next on the list of topical sealers is polyurethane.  Polyurethane has many of the same properties as epoxy and is even more durable.  It also has the added benefit of being resistant to UV rays.  So if you have a garage floor that is exposed to sunlight, you don’t have to worry about it turning yellow.

It used to be that polyurethane was only used as a clear coat sealer, but that is slowly changing however with manufactures starting to offer it in colors.  One thing to keep in mind is that polyurethane does not bond well to bare concrete and usually needs a primer such as epoxy applied first.  You also have a choice of finish from matte, to semi-gloss, to glossy.

Learn more here:  Epoxy vs Polyurethane Garage Floor Coatings

Like epoxy, most polyurethanes can be slippery when wet.  Because they have a thinner film thickness than epoxy, polyurethane makes for a great top coat to apply with an anti-slip agent.  Application difficulty and dry time is similar to epoxy as well.  Though a little more expensive, polyurethane may be what you need if you have a garage floor that is exposed to sunlight and you want something other than a glossy finish.

Polyurea and polyaspartic floor sealers

polyurea polyaspartic garage floor coating
Polyurea / polyaspartic garage floor coating

Last on the list is the newer polyurea and polyaspartic floor sealers.  These are a sub group of polyurethane and have a similar finish to epoxy and polyurethane coated floors.  Unlike epoxy and polyurethane, these coatings can be applied in extreme temperatures from below freezing to over 100 degrees.

What makes these coatings popular is their extremely fast return to service times.  They can be installed on your garage floor in one day and driven on thethe next.  Most polyurea and polyaspartic coatings need to be applied by a professional due to their very fast set up times.

Penetrating Garage Floor Sealers

Penetrating sealers is the next category in concrete sealers for a garage floor.  There are four different types of penetrating sealers for concrete, but only two need be discussed for a garage floor.

penetrating sealer on garage floor
Penetrating siliconate sealer

The first of these is a siliconate sealer.  Though this kind of sealer is used extensively for exterior concrete such as sidewalks and driveways, it will work just as well in your garage if you just want to seal the floor without changing the way it looks.

It works by penetrating into the upper surface of the concrete and reacting with free lime.  This will form a calcium silicate that essentially helps to strengthen the surface of the concrete by filling the pores and preventing liquids from migrating through.

Learn more here:  Why Penetrating Siliconate Sealers May Be All You Need

This process works to help prevent freeze-thaw damage and deterioration due to corrosion.  It has a matte finish that doesn’t change the appearance of the surface because it penetrates the concrete.  It’s easy to apply using a pump sprayer or rollers and generally only needs one coat.  Some of these sealers are expected to last 20 years or more.

concrete densifier and sealer on garage floor
Concrete densifier and sealer on a garage floor

The second choice that is being used among the bare concrete purists are concrete densifiers. Many are available as a densifier and sealer combination.

Used primarily for polishing concrete and adding strength to newly poured concrete,  these sealers are being used more on garage floors by people looking for a no nonsense simple solution that will prevent dusting, harden the surface of a working garage or shop floor and to repel liquids as well.

Final thoughts

One thing to keep in mind; if you have small issues with moisture coming through the concrete, a penetrating garage floor sealer is a good choice to consider.  Because they work by filling the concrete pores, they do well for blocking moisture coming up from underneath your slab.

If you like the finish of acrylic sealers, make sure the solids content is not more than 25% and that it is not applied in more than two coats.  This should be permeable enough to let the moisture transmit through the sealer.

Resinous coatings such as epoxy, polyurethanes, and polyurea will not allow for moisture transfer and can peel or pull up concrete with it if you have moisture problems.  Before applying any coating or sealer, you should always conduct a moisture test if your floor shows any signs of or suspect that you may have moisture issues.

For more information about the durability of concrete sealers, here is a chart from the Concrete Network that compares sealers and what they do. The chart is for decorative concrete purposes, but it gives a good description of each type.

Depending on what you want your garage floor sealer to do for you, decide which product is best suited for your requirements and budget.  Either way you choose, a good sealer will be a nice investment in the care and finish of your floor.


Comments

  1. says

    I had a man that put 2 coats of 1% slate gray epoxy paint under my garage. after drying a couple of weeks, he came and put some tyoe of sealant on top of this. After six days the sealant is tacky and if you walk on it all of the paint comes up, so I’m afraid to drive on it. What is causing this?

    • Shea says

      Hi Wyman. What was the product your guy put down exactly? You say 1% epoxy, did you mean 100%? You mention that it went under your garage. Is this on a below grade slab under the garage? What type of sealant was used? I think this may be the biggest problem. You do not seal epoxy as it is already a sealant. You can apply a clear top coat of additional epoxy or polyurethane, but you would need to prep the surface properly after waiting two weeks. It can’t just be applied on the top without prep.

  2. Sam says

    My house is 20 years old and I want to seal the concrete garage floor. There are existing stains that I don’t care about. My objective is a cleaner looking floor and cut down on the dust from the concrete. Which type would you suggest as most economical for’this purpose? Thanks in advance for your advice.

    • Shea says

      Hi Sam. A penetrating sealer is going to be your most economical choice for what you want to accomplish. Keep in mind that you will want to clean up the stains best you can in order for the sealer to work in those spots. It cannot penetrate the concrete and seal it if oils from stains are blocking it.

        • Shea says

          Yes, it’s very easy Sam. The most important part is cleaning the floor properly. The application can be done with a paint roller or a pump up garden sprayer. Just follow the manufactures instructions and you can always call their tech line if you have any questions.

  3. Ron B. says

    I have a Rock Solid epoxy stone flooring in my garage. I am looking for something to put a clear shiney sealant/coating. Something that work with that type flooring system. Thks

    • Shea says

      Hi Ron. The RockSolid flooring is already a sealant. We suggest using the RockSolid polycuramine clear coat. It should be compatible with your floor. We always recommend contacting the manufacturer first to verify however. You will need to prep the surface of your current floor first before applying it. You can read more about how to do that here.

  4. Darlene says

    We are having a new cement floor done in our garage. From reading these articles, seems the best sealer for our purposes is a siliconate penatrating sealer, as we are in a cold winter climate. A few questions:
    – how soon after the cement is poured can we apply the sealer?
    -since that type does not give a nice surface finish, can we apply a paint or acrylic on top of it? If so, how soon afterwards and what is best?
    Thanks

    • Shea says

      Hello Darlene. Most penetrating sealers can be applied within hours of the pour and can be used if you plan on installing a topical coating later. They will actually help the concrete cure. There are also “cure and seal” sealers that are acrylic in nature. These however don’t have a very durable acrylic top coat. Plus, you will need to remove the top coat if you want to apply a better acrylic sealer or other topical coating later.

      One thing to keep in mind is that most topical coatings such as acrylic and epoxy are sealers. There is no need to apply a penetrating sealer if you are going to apply a topical sealer unless you are concerned about the concrete curing properly. Paint on the other hand is not a sealer and not a long term solution. There are many good products out there. We recommend that you contact Legacy Industrial as they have a wide range of penetrating and topical sealers to choose from.

      • Darlene says

        Thanks for a quick response.
        Good to know we can apply it right away.
        I’m not clear about the 2nd question. The description for penetrating sealers mention it would still look like bare cement afterwards. We may want some colour and/or sheen. Could we apply an acrylic sealer or concrete paint on top of the penetrating sealer right away, solely for that purpose? Or are there penetrating sealers with colour?
        My searches on the site you mentioned didn’t work. Note I live in Canada, so would want products available here.

        • Shea says

          Penetrating sealers can be tinted, but they will have a matte look, no sheen. The color will not pop. Again, acrylic is a sealer. No need to apply a penetrating sealer if you want to apply an acrylic sealer. The difference is that acrylic is topical. Acrylic sealers can be tinted and are available in glossy finishes. Most can be applied to the concrete soon after the pour. Concrete paint is not a sealer, it will peel up eventually, and you have to wait a minimum of 30 days before applying. It will have to be repainted once a year or so. It really is considered a budget flooring option. If you want color like paint, you would be much better off with an epoxy or polyaspartic floor system, but it will require much more floor prep and more money.

          Here’s a link you should look at. The MMA sealers are acrylic and can be tinted for color. You can call and ask about the penetrating sealers as well. They ship free, they ship to Canada, but I don’t know if they ship free to Canada. You will need to ask. I wish we could help you with suppliers up there, but we aren’t familiar.

  5. Steve says

    Want to seal my painted garage floor. What is the best approach? and the best products to consider.

    Steve

    • Shea says

      Hello Steve. There are very few options since paint really is not a good base for a sealer. A couple of the paint manufacturers make a sealer, Behr is one of them, but the sealer is designed more for foot traffic than vehicle traffic. You can drive on it, but we know from the experience of others that it will not last and hot tires will pull it up.

  6. dominic says

    You gave some recommendations for the SILICONATE SEALERS but made not recommendations for the densifier and sealer combination. What products do you recommend? Should they be applied by a professional?

    • Shea says

      Hello Dominic. There are quite a few good products out there. Legacy Industrial’s HD-39 is a good product, TrueLock TL39 as well as Concrete Sealers USA PS-104 just to name a few. These are not hard to apply yourself and qualify as a DIY install.

  7. Carl Thorpe says

    We are about to pour new concrete slab in garage. Which method will give the best life wear?
    Option 1 – How soon can I apply epoxy coating to new concrete that 4500 psi? The footage is 650 sf.
    Option two – have the concrete add color mix at the plant then apply clear polyaspartic coat?

    • Shea says

      Hi Carl. You need to wait a minimum of 30 days and preferably longer (60 days) if you can. The reason is that newly poured concrete gives off quite a bit of moisture vapor while it cures. Epoxy and polyaspartic coating will not let that moisture transmit through like other sealers and can lead to failure if you apply it too soon.

      Both options will be very durable in a garage with normal traffic. Ultimately it comes down to how many coats are applied. An epoxy coating with a primer, 100% epoxy color coat, and a coat or two of polyurethane is a very tough coating. If you go with at least two coats of the clear polyaspartic over the colored concrete, then you will have a very tough and durable clear coat. It will make the color in the concrete “pop” as well.

  8. Manoshi says

    We are a 26 unit three floor condominium complex and have a large covered garage. The building is 12 years old. The garage has been sweeped and washed before, but now the question of sealants came up. What kind of sealants will be lasting, durable and resist car oil and other harsh chemical stains? Matt finish is okay for us. We are not looking for looks, just durability and excellent protection. Please help. Thanks.

    • Shea says

      Hello Manoshi. We recommend that you contact VSeal about your requirements. They make excellent commercial sealing products and will have a couple suggestions based on your needs.

  9. Stephanie says

    Great information – my question is how to handle applying a penetrating sealer to a garage floor with moisture problems from the ground – garage is partially below grade. I have one small section that seems quite moist. Thanks.

    • Shea says

      Hi Stephanie. The first thing you want to do is make sure that the drainage around the foundation of the home is good. Many times problems such as yours can be caused by earth that slopes towards the home allowing water to collect against the foundation. Broken sprinklers and down spouts that don’t allow for water to drain away from the home are contributors as well. These are one of the leading causes to moisture issues in garage floors that are partially below grade.

      Next, you need to prep the floor by cleaning and following any other recommended instructions from the sealer you use. While the rest of the floor is drying from cleaning, you will want to place a fan to blow air across the small section where you have issues. The air moving across the surface will help the water evaporate and wick away moisture. It may take a day or two. Once that spot looks bone dry, you will want to test it by taping down a 16″x16″ sheet of plastic over the middle of the area. Make sure the edges are all sealed and let it sit overnight. Pull it up the next day and check for moisture. If the underside of the plastic is dry and you don’t have a dark spot in the concrete, then go ahead and apply the sealer. If the concrete is dark from dampness, you will need to run the fan longer until it passes the test.

  10. Rob Rhodes says

    My garage floor is pitted. I would like to apply a substance to smooth the surface and protect from penetrating water and winter road salt. What do you recommend?

    • Shea says

      Hi Rob. We have a post covering that topic here. We would recommend using a polymer-modified cement and then treating your floor with a good penetrating sealer. If you want to completely change the look of the floor, then you can seal it with a coating of epoxy after you make the repairs.

  11. Teri says

    I’m a paint loving diy grandmother that wants to paint the garage floor and then seal it. Lowes is the store in our town and I don’t want them trying to sell me over the top sealant. Please help me.

    • Shea says

      Hi Teri. You can’t seal the floor if you paint it with regular latex concrete garage floor paint. Sealers are not designed to be applied to paint. It is a low budget solution as a garage flooring upgrade. We talk more about it here. However, Lowes does sell Valspar Garage Floor Epoxy which is a sealer and is available in tan and grey. They also have an optional clear coat available for it.

  12. John says

    Good day.

    My Builder used undiluted Muriatic acid on my garage floor to remove red stain. This has caused significant yellow staining and the sealant to come off. They have agreed to provide me with the materials to seal and paint (I don’t trust them to complete it properly). Can you recommend what I should use to seal ? I was thinking about silver colour to cover the stains. Please note that I am located in Canada.

    Thank you,
    John

    • Shea says

      Hi John. We need a little more information. What type of sealant is on the floor currently? Also, what do you mean by seal and then paint? You can’t paint a sealed floor. You can paint concrete but paint is not a sealant. You can apply an epoxy coating which is a sealant. You can apply a tinted acrylic sealer, but the tint is somewhat opaque and discoloration in the concrete may darken those areas. If you can answer these two questions for us and give us a better idea of what you want the garage floor to do for you, then we can most likely help you out better.

  13. Mike G says

    I’m building a new home. The concrete will have set for at least 60-90 days before we take over ownership. I’m looking for a durable budget option for coating the floor. Probably a medium gray finish. I’ve read through a ton of material but I feel I’m stuck with the more expensive options. I assume I want a penetrating sealer, epoxy coating with flakes, and a top sealer. I don’t want to risk air or moisture rising up and bubbling the coatings. Suggestions?

    • Shea says

      Hi Mike. Unless you anticipate future moisture problems with your slab, you do not need to apply a penetrating sealer first. If a vapor barrier was installed before the pour then you shouldn’t have to worry about moisture anyways. Also, as long as it’s not too humid and the first application of any coating is applied in the late afternoon or early evening after temperatures have started falling, you should not have problems with bubbles.

      One durable budget option you may want to look into is Rust Bullet. We did a full article on it here. It’s an actual single part moisture cure urethane that is extremely tough. You don’t need to acid etch or grind your garage floor first before application either. Just clean it well and make sure it is bone dry before application. It comes in a metallic gray that you may like.

  14. Dwight says

    I am laying wood floor over concrete and I would like to seal the concrete so that the moisture doesn’t come through and that would harden the surface. It has had some water seepage in the past and small amounts of the top of the concrete has seperated and powderized. Any suggestions? I assume a sealer or sealer/densifier would be what I need.
    Thanks

    • Shea says

      Hello Dwight. You need to be careful what type of sealer you use if you will be gluing the floor down. It might interfere with the adhesion of the glue and require grinding of the concrete. We recommend using a densifier on the concrete if the upper layer of concrete has turned to powder in places. It will harden the surface and decrease the likelihood of water intrusion.

  15. says

    Hello,

    We have horrible cats that pee out in our garage. It seems the pee soaks into the concrete, stains, and still smells, even after clean up. I would like to get rid of the smell and try to protect the concrete from future mistakes. Any suggestions on a product that would be good in this situation, so I don’t have to get rid of the cats. :)

    Thanks!

    • Shea says

      Hi Jessica. The key is to get rid of the odor first. If you don’t, then you risk locking it in permanently with a sealer. Once you get rid of the odor you can seal the surface with a penetrating siliconate sealer or you can coat it with epoxy. This will cause the urine to sit on the surface and be cleaned up with an appropriate cleaner.

  16. says

    I just had my basement finished for use as a dog grooming salon. The floor is concrete…not a concrete slab, as there wasn’t space to make something that thick, just a few inches of concrete poured over the existing concrete floor. It is stained a nice terra cotta, and my contractors got a polyurethane sealer to put on top of that. But the polyurethane sealer goes on kind of milky-white, and dries leaving the color looking washed out and pale. Is there another polyurethane product that leaves a clear finish? I think I need to avoid acrylic because it won’t provide enough protection against water from all those dogs, and I am worried that epoxy will be too slippery.

    • Shea says

      Hi Kirsten. Has the sealer been applied yet or was it just tested in an inconspicuous spot? If it’s been applied already it will need to be removed first before you apply anything else. Also, are you sure it’s polyurethane for concrete? If it is, it should make the stain color pop and it should cure very clear. It should not do as you described unless it was applied during high humidity.

      One thing to keep in mind is that many polyurethanes do not bond as well to bare concrete and may require a clear epoxy primer coat first. Some single component moisture cured polyurehanes will adhere well to bare concrete however. Also, any resinous coating is going to be somewhat slippery when wet. Some more than others. If you want to avoid that you would need to use an anti-slip additive. Just keep in mind that the additive can be more visible with darker colored floors.

      If you need to find a polyurethane for bare concrete, Legacy Industrial has one here. They also have a very easy to apply polyurea clear coating that is extremely tough and great for stained floors. It’s called Norh-S and you can find it here. We suggest giving them a call and ask for Scotty if you have any questions.

      • says

        Great, thank you!

        The polyurethane my contractor got is not specially for concrete–it is labeled for use on wood floors. So I was surprised he got it. I applied it to just part of the floor, and found the pale coloration I described. I applied stain on top of it just to see what would happen and the stain seemed to sink right in–suggesting that the polyurethane was not effective at all as a sealer.

        Thank you for the suggestions! What is the difference between the two products you recommend?

        • Shea says

          That’s what I thought you may have. It would have been a disaster had you applied that to the entire floor. Both products we mention are excellent. The Norh-S will achieve a better bond to bare concrete than the polyurethane, but it will be a little more slippery unless you apply some anti-slip. I would recommend giving them a call and they can tell you the one best for your purposes.

  17. Bob AK says

    Hi Shea,
    Thank you for the very informative website!
    I have a garage floor in a split-level duplex which is suspended over a mechanical / storage room below. So, there’s no problem with water coming up through the concrete. The floor has issues however: When it was poured (’70’s) the forms were inadequately supported, and the floor set with two pronounced sags on either side of the center support wall. (The floor is now supported properly with beams). Since this floor will be used to park vehicles, drains will be put in the low points of each sag…so, water should flow properly to the drains. The surface of the concrete has some sort of veneer which is quite deteriorated, and also some residual caulk material, that had been applied to small surface cracks, which is easily scraped off. There are also some small dents (like boot prints in the still-wet concrete?) and other surface imperfections that I’d like to smooth out.
    My question is what would be the best sequence of steps to re-surface this floor so that vehicles can be parked on it without further damage. (thinking studded tires, oil / antifreeze spills, etc.) My current thoughts:
    (1) Prep the existing surface by abrasion/grinding (still looking for equipment to do this)
    (2) Core drain holes & install drains at this point?
    (3) Smooth out the dents & dings with an epoxy filler (would this be the best product for this?)
    (4) Coat the concrete with a densifier/sealer…maybe the BoneDry product you mentioned?
    (5) Seal finish the floor with an epoxy coating.
    Do you have any suggestions, or an alternate game plan?
    I have been working with a contractor on window/door replacements, concrete cutting, etc… but I don’t think they have much experience with epoxy coating applications. I’d like to provide them as much info as I can… Thank you again for the great site!

    • Shea says

      Hi Bob. You are right on track with #’s 1-3. However, #4 is not necessary if you want to epoxy coat the concrete. An epoxy coating is a sealer and the densifier/sealer combo would be redundant. Since you mention studded tires, you will want to install a multi-coat system with high solids epoxy and multiple coats of a high performance polyurethane or polyurea top coat in order to prevent damage to the coating from the studded tires. If you are looking for someone to do this for you, we highly recommend contracting out a professional floor coating company and not hiring a typical contractor. No disrespect to general contractors, but most don’t really understand the important differences in resinous floor coatings and how they are installed.

      • Bob AK says

        Hi Shea,

        Thank you for the very quick response!!
        I have a followup question(s): Since this floor has been exposed to vehicular water drips in its past, I was thinking that the densifier component would cause the old deteriorated concrete it comes in contact with to re-bond somewhat as the solution soaks down into the concrete, and thus would increase the net strength of the slab. Would it be a better strategy, if “increasing strength” were my objective, to use the densifier/sealer instead of the epoxy, which would seal the very top surface of the slab? I’m focusing on these attributes you mention in your “Why Concrete Densifiers are the New Garage Floor Sealer” article:
        • Added strength and abrasion resistance to the surface of a working garage
        • Increases the compressive strength of concrete
        • Repels liquids and other fluids which help to make your garage floor stain resistant
        • Helps act as a moisture barrier for your garage floor

        If this might be a better approach, then would the BoneDry product be the best choice? They ship direct, so there’s that added expense ($100 for a 5-gal container). Is there a more available product? (we have Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, & several other chains here)

        • Shea says

          Hi Bob. If your ultimate goal is not necessarily decorative but instead to just help strengthen the surface as well as seal it, then a densifier combo would be much less expensive. It will however show all the patchwork and irregularities of your floor. You may want to consider patching the floor with a polymer modified cement instead since an epoxy patch would look so much different. It will still stand out as patch work, but it will look more like cement than epoxy. We talk more about that here.

          If that is what you want to do, we would recommend a two stage process of using a densifier first followed up by a penetrating sealer with a stain guard. Home improvement centers are not the best place to shop for quality coating and sealer products. They usually do not carry commercial quality product and the customer service in terms of knowledge is always poor. Garage Flooring LLC is a great place to start for what you want to accomplish. We recommend talking to Justin as he carries a few commercial quality products that do what you want to accomplish. He has good pricing along with free shipping of all their product.

  18. Julie says

    Thanks for the helpful information on your website! In the house that I am selling, there is a 6 inch crack in the middle of the garage floor. I am supposed to seal it (per the buyer) but I wonder what sealant you recommend (we”re on a budget!) and how I properly clean the garage floor to prepare it. Thanks!

    • Shea says

      Hi Julie. We have an article here about crack repair. If that doesn’t help, please tell us a little bit more about the crack. Is it 6″ long? How wide is it?

  19. Peter Schumacher says

    We live in Wisconsin so tough, cold winters. We had a new cement garage floor poured about 10 days ago. I am a little confused as to how long we have to wait to have one of the sealers applied that will resist road salt and similar de-icing solutions that our vehicles bring into the garage.

    • Shea says

      Hi Peter. Film forming sealers like acrylics, paint, and epoxy coatings need a minimum of 28 days before applying to new concrete. Many of the penetrating sealers however can be applied sometimes within hours. Those are the type that will not change the look of the concrete. All of them will resist road salt and deicing fluids.

  20. Emily says

    Thank you for this wonderful site! I am looking at two different types of sealers for my garage floor. It is stained with oil but I bought some concrete oil cleaner and also some acid etch, though I am unclear on whether the sealers need acid etch or if it is just the epoxies. Here are my two options, let me know what you think will be best.

    The first is Benjamin Moore Concrete Waterproof Sealer – Low Lustre – Silicone Acrylic. I already have 4 gallons of this so it would be the easiest for me to use. However I am wary about the “low Lustre” part because it would be nice to have a beautiful shiny floor. It is my understanding that you can’t use paint chips or any kind of topcoat with this sealer.

    The second option I have been looking at is a 5 gallon container of Eagle Gloss Coat Clear Wet Look Solvent. This is an acrylic dealer which sells for about $100 which would be in my budget and would give the floors a nice shine. I am just unsure what the prep work is for this product and how it would hold up compared to the Benjamin Moore silicone acrylic. Or if there is a wet look dealer that you recommend that is comparable in price I would be open to hearing about it.

    I just want my floor to look nice and clean up easily. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am going to start the project at the end of this week! Thanks!

    • Shea says

      Hi Emily. Of the two, the Eagle product will hold up better and give you what you want in terms of looks. The Benjamin Moore product is a water based product with a matte finish. The Eagle acrylic sealer is solvent based with a high gloss finish. It’s also more durable. A solvent based acrylic will give your floor a wet glossy look which is what you are looking for. We talk about using acrylic sealers for your garage floor here.

      As long as the concrete in your garage does not bead water you should be OK without doing an acid etch. You will need to get the oil stains up however before you apply it. Once they are clean, test them to see if they will absorb water. If they do and the water does not bead up, then the sealer will adhere.

      • Emily says

        Thank you so much for the advice Shea. I am going to go ahead and order the Eagle wet look solvent. Just a few questions.

        It sounds from the other article that two thin coats is all that I will need. In the future if it starts to wear down in certain places would I just need to sand the area and apply to the places that need touching up? Will this wet look solvent bead water and not allow it to soak into the cement (thus making for an easy clean up for spills?) Could I put a layer of concrete dye down first (like the Behr stuff at Home Depot – not the fancy etch) and then apply the gloss coat above? And do you recommend shark grip or anything in one of the layers to prevent slippage? Will it lose the glossy look if I do that?

        Thank you so much! Looking forward to the project and would be happy to send pics to you after I finish if you would like!

        • Shea says

          Touching up is just as you described. Acrylics are considered a maintenance coating and are easy to reapply. They are film forming coatings which means that they form a film at the surface. As a result, most liquids bead up. Solvents will make them break down however. They make for easy clean up by just running a dust mop over the surface in most cases.

          Yes, you can apply a stain to the concrete first. It would need to be an acid stain or an acetone dye. The Behr product is not really a stain. It’s a tinted water based acrylic sealer. If you scratched it the color would come right up. A solvent based acrylic like the Eagle product is not compatible and will break down the water based product. A true stain does just what it says. It stains the concrete permanently.

          Yes, an anti-slip will reduce the glossiness some, but not completely. If you anticipate your floor being wet a lot then the SharkGrip is a good idea.

  21. mike says

    I have another option/question……how about a penetrating sealer then put down the rust bullet paint I’m reading about?????

    • Shea says

      There really isn’t a need to put down a penetrating sealer if you are going to install a coating Mike. The coatings seals and protect the concrete at the surface and the penetrating sealer wouldn’t be doing anything. Think of it this way, it’s like wearing two rain coats. The first one you put on isn’t doing anything because the second one is covering it.

      If you still want to put down a penetrating sealer then go for it. However, you will still need to grind first if you want to apply epoxy. Rust Bullet may still be applied without any concrete prep. You would just need to do a 6″x6″ test square to check adhesion first. As long as your floor was troweled by hand and not machine, you can most likely apply a penetration sealer without concrete prep. If water will absorb into the concrete without beading, then you are good to go.

  22. Roger says

    I am getting some moisture from beneath my garage slab.If I uses a penetrating sealer to stop this, can I then apply an epoxy (or something else) to make my floor easier to clean and more attractive?Or will the sealer prevent it to adhere properly? what should I do/

    • Shea says

      Hi Roger. A penetrating sealer will not prevent a film forming coating such as epoxy from adhering. Just remember that you still need to follow all directions regarding proper floor prep for epoxy or any other coating for that matter after you apply a penetrating sealer.

  23. Bob Wible says

    I put down 2 part epoxiy 10 years ago. On my garage floor. Now it is showing signs of wear with some open concrete. What is the best thing to do now and what must I do to prepare the floor for application??

  24. Eddie Johnson says

    I have a garage that gets flooded when it rains. A majority of the water comes through the doorway. I have put a concrete hump across the doorway but the rain seems to soak through it.
    What can I seal my barrage with to stop rainwater seeping in.
    I have tried a couple of sealers, foam, render etc.

    • Shea says

      Hi Eddie. Have you applied any sealer to the floor behind it? And what type sealer did you apply to the barrier hump? Concrete is porous and acts like a big sponge. The water could be getting absorbed before your barrier and traveling through the substrate to reappear behind your barrier.

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