Should I Coat or Seal My Concrete? And What’s the Difference?

As crazy and unpredictable as this past year has been, one of the major upsides was the chance to start those at-home renovations that we haven’t had the chance or time to get to! Spending all this time at home may have called attention to those areas of the house we’d rather avoid… the garage. The garage may seem like a frightening place when you stop and consider all the random things that somehow end up there. The seemingly simple task of clearing it out is daunting and might prove to be a bigger challenge than initially thought! However, imagine having an entire extra space in your home to transform into a workout room, shop, or simply a more functional garage area.

While many are drawn to the chip coating that we offer, a style that often gets overlooked is our grind and clear coating system. People are starting to realize that concrete can actually look seriously cool and add to the aesthetic of any room. You may have noticed it in a local brewery, winery, or grocery store.. What can we say? What can we say?  The industrial look is IN right now. But the frequent questions we hear are these:

  • “What is the difference between using sealant on my concrete and the grind and clear coating system?”
  • “Why would I want to pay for the grind and clear coating system when I can just apply a sealant myself?”
  • “Is it really better to coat my concrete with a polyurea coating?”
  • “My contractor told me to just get it sealed. What do you think?”

Let’s take a look to answer these questions!

Sealing concrete is typically used as a way to protect the existing concrete from weather damage or oil stains while maintaining its natural look. It can also preserve the “life expectancy” of any concrete for the foreseeable future. The tricky part is this: most sealants are actually a really thin water or acrylic base coating that is sprayed onto a surface. That’s right. Sealants are incredibly thin, which really isn’t a durable or cost-effective way to take care of a concrete surface.

Here are some of the downsides to sealing your concrete:

  • You have to reapply it every year.
  • It is extremely slippery when wet.
  • Sealant doesn’t bond with the concrete.
  • The entire surface is not completely coated, but instead is sprayed on.

Sealant might seem like a cheaper alternative at the moment. But it really is not in the bigger picture. Sealants typically last a year. That means you would either have to reapply the product yourself or hire a company every single year in order to maintain its smooth, glossy finish. When you hire a concrete sealing company to seal your surface, they will power wash the area, wait for it to dry, and then use a type of equipment that resembles a watering can to “spray” the surface. There is not a whole lot of prep that goes into it. On the other hand, our grind and clear method that we use combines the durability and effectiveness of our polyurea product with the clear look that you’d want from getting your concrete sealed.

We start how we would for any other concrete project. First, we prep the floor by grinding out any imperfections, Second, our crew would apply a base coat to ensure a complete bond with the underlying concrete, Next, we add two more layers on top for extra protection, including a polyaspartic top coat. This top coat is the part that is chemical- and stain-resistant.

Let's See What the Experts Have to Say:

Jeff Wood, our Portland Location Manager for WCC explains it best. “Sealing your concrete is similar to the idea of using a can of spray paint on your car. If you want to change the color of your car and have it looking nice, you go down to the body shop where they prep it first- remove any imperfections, make sure the surface is nice, and then apply several coats of different products to make sure it lasts for years and years. This is similar to what we do [at Webfoot].”

Scott Johnson, General Manager of concrete coatings, emphasizes the importance of using a top coat as opposed to a spray. “We seal the surface with a polyaspartic top coat that covers the entire area, whereas a spray only covers parts of a surface, exposing it to everyday wear and tear.” Scott also highlights some of the elements that make Webfoot stand out in terms of our product and application. “We actually use a mendor that dries gray, giving an earthy, modern look that blends well with the natural look of a concrete surface. Other companies use a silicone based mendor that often ‘pushes out’ of the concrete where you would expect it to combine with the level surface. Not ideal for a smooth floor finish.”

At first, the idea of sealing your concrete may appear to be the easiest and cheapest solution- I’m right there with you! However, consider the extra time, money, and hassle of moving your items off and on the surface every year. It really makes the most sense to go with a product that provides the look you want with the least amount of work and upkeep possible. We have raving customers for a reason. We provide a 15-year warranty combined with a guaranteed beautiful area that you can enjoy in whatever capacity you have in mind.

So before you rush to seal your concrete with an “easy” solution that will inevitably cause more headache in the long run, try meeting with one of our specialists. They can give you the rundown on why and how our system works. Also, they can assess your project area and provide you with a solution to whatever your concrete problem might be. They are the true pros and will definitely make it worth your time.  Our team is here to help restore your concrete space to its full potential and we look forward to partnering with you to get the look you want!