If the primary concern for the concrete in your garage is to protect it, prevent concrete dusting, and resist staining without worrying about having the latest cosmetic finish to your floor, then a penetrating concrete floor sealer may be all that you need.
Why? Well, most of us likely assume that the main reason people want to apply a coating or covering to a garage floor is to make it look nice. We use the added benefit of “protecting” the concrete as one of the reasons for our desire for a good looking floor – and with good reason.
But as hard as it is to for some of us to comprehend, there are people who have simple “working” garages and are not as concerned about how nice it looks, but rather how well it performs without a lot of expense and preparation. If you think this may be you, then here is why you need to consider a siliconate penetrating garage floor sealer.
Benefits of a siliconate concrete sealer
What makes a siliconate sealer different than other coatings is the fact that it actually penetrates (hence the name) into the concrete floor to create a protective barrier. Other garage floor sealers such as acrylic, epoxy, and polyurethanes are topical in nature. They sit on top of the surface to form a protective film or coating.
A siliconate sealer works by permeating into the pores of the concrete and chemically reacting with the free lime to form a calcium silicate. This effectively forms a barrier, strengthening the concrete at the same time and preventing liquids from transferring through the surface. In essence, water and liquids will bead or sheet, thus resisting stains and the concrete surface becomes more resistant to wear as well.
Additional benefits to consider include mold and mildew resistance and protection from road salts and deicing fluids. This means that if your garage temperatures drop below freezing overnight, the garage floor will be protected from the pitting and spalling that can occur due to the freeze thaw cycles from melted snow and deicing fluids that can seep into the concrete.
How a siliconate penetrating sealer works on a concrete garage floor
Once applied, the sealer dries to a natural looking finish without any sheen to it. Because a penetrating sealer is non film forming, it allows for the same anti-slip protection as bare concrete. This also means that you don’t have to worry about damaging it if you drag sharp objects across the garage floor when working on cars or projects.
One thing to be aware of is that penetrating sealers for concrete do not seal up cracks. Cracks will still need to be repaired first in order to seal the garage floor properly.
Other factors to consider are expense and ease of application. Most 2-car garages will require one to two gallons of sealer depending on the manufacturer. Cost is usually less than $50 a gallon for a quality product. Application is much easier than applying a coating or even painting for that matter. Expect it to last 10 years or more before a new application is necessary.
Siliconate sealers that we recommend
There are two different products we like to recommend that work extremely well and get great reviews. The first is PS101 by Concrete Sealers USA. This siliconate sealer has a strong reputation for great performance and is known for lasting years. It only wears down as the concrete wears down.
The coverage rate is 300 – 450 ft² per gallon for machine troweled and smooth finishes and 200 – 300 ft² per gallon for broom finished or rough surfaced concrete. This sealer also works well for driveways and walkways and can be used as a “cure and seal” for newly poured concrete.
The second product is Armor SC25 by Fountation Armor. This penetrating siliconate sealer is developing a strong reputation for use on driveways, walkways, and patios, as well as garage floors.
The coverage rate is 200 – 250 ft² for machine troweled or smooth dense surfaces and 100 – 150 ft² for a broom finish or rough surface. If you have any concerns or questions, we recommend contacting Foundation Armor directly to talk with a customer service representative.
We do not recommend the use of silicone and siloxane penetrating sealers. These are typically sold by the home improvement centers and hardware stores. While they do penetrate the surface somewhat, these type of sealers tend to sit more on the surface. As a result, they wear away fairly quick and need to be re-applied every year or so.
Other sealers offered are blends of silane and siloxane. The idea is to get the good penetration of silane and the water beading properties of siloxane. What happens unfortunately is that the siloxane wears away quickly leaving only the silane. While it forms a seal within the concrete, the silane penetrates too deep to protect the surface after the siloxane has worn away.
Applying a penetrating sealer to your garage floor
Make sure the surface of the garage floor is free of dust and oil. Clean up any oil spills that may have accumulated and scrub the surface of your garage floor with TSP and a stiff bristled brush. A floor maintainer with a black pad works even better.
Rinse off the surface with a hose and let it thoroughly dry – usually 24 hours is sufficient unless the humidity is up. When ready, apply the sealer with a low pressure pump sprayer or roller and paint brush. Do not let it puddle till try or it will leave a white chalky substance that is hard to remove. The area should be ready for traffic in 12 hours. That’s it!
One note: if you have an area of your floor that is extremely dense or if your concrete was power troweled when poured, you may need to etch it first. Test by applying a few drops of water to the surface. If it isn’t absorbed by the concrete in a short time, you may need to etch. Check with the manufacturer.
Once done, you will have a natural looking surface that is protected for the next 10 years or more depending on traffic. So if you are the no frills, “working” garage type of person that wants to protect their garage floor with minimal preparation and expense, then a siliconate penetrating garage floor sealer is definitely worthy of your consideration.