How do I choose the best basement floor sealer? (with photos)

The sealer can help prevent the basement floor from cracking.

The best basement floor sealant is one that corrects any existing defects in the concrete slab while serving to improve the overall purpose of the room. Basements that are prone to water leakage and standing moisture should be treated with a penetrating sealant that can combat these problems. People who want to create a finished look in this area of ‚Äč‚Äčtheir homes but have no issues with water should use an epoxy sealant.

Many basement floors are made of concrete.

Basement floors are typically made of concrete. They are poured directly into the earth and serve as a base for the house. This type of material is semi-porous, allowing groundwater to penetrate and enter the home. Applying a good basement floor sealant to this area can prevent excess water moisture from accumulating in the residential area.

A basement floor sealant is different from concrete paint. Many brands of paints approved for use on concrete also claim to provide a moisture barrier. These paints, while thick enough to prevent seepage into concrete, are not strong enough to prevent large amounts of water vapor from seeping through the floor. Sealants are usually clear and labeled for use as a sealant only and not for any other home renovation project.

Penetrating sealants are the best type to use when trying to prevent water leakage, which is a common problem. This type of subsurface floor sealant can penetrate the layers of the floor slab to a depth of 4 inches (about 10.2 centimeters). The chemical expands and binds to the lime that naturally occurs in all concrete. A network of crystalline structures is formed, creating a hard, impenetrable surface. Water may continue to condense on the outside of the concrete, but it will not pass into the house.

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Using a penetrating floor sealant also prevents harmful gases from leaking underground into the house. Unlike surface sealants, which just sit on top of the concrete as a plastic shield, a penetrating sealant bonds to the concrete to create a new barrier. This chemical is safe to use with any type of additional flooring the homeowner may wish to install. Treated wood, carpet pads, tiles and vinyl can be glued or placed over this surface without damaging the new materials.

An epoxy sealant is the best choice for homeowners who want a finished look for their concrete basement floor and don’t face water issues. An epoxy sealant is similar to paint in that it is tinted and creates a glossy finish. It is much thicker than standard concrete paint, however, and can also fill in small cuts and cracks that may be present in older basement slabs. Certain types of epoxy may also be sold with a non-slip agent, which is ideal for use in areas that can receive a high volume of foot traffic.

Acrylic and urethane sealants are the other most commonly sold chemicals used as basement floor sealants. Acrylic sealants are either water-based or solvent-based and only serve to create a thin barrier that sits on top of the concrete slab. They are the cheapest type of sealant available and must be reapplied frequently. Acrylic sealant and solvent-based urethane are extremely toxic and should only be used when there is adequate ventilation in the work area. These types of sealants are not good choices for people with breathing problems or in homes with young children.

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