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A few years back, concrete countertops used to be highly stain-prone and required high maintenance. In those times, traditional sealers such as wax and acrylics were used. With more technologies available today in this field, manufacturers are producing more efficient sealers that deliver better results.
Though several sealers were developed for flooring usage, the requirements of aesthetics and performance are different for countertops and the floors irrespective of the material used to make the floor or countertop. Due to inadequate knowledge, sometimes the manufacturers of concrete floor sealers recommend a concrete sealer for concrete countertop. However, the sealer for concrete flooring is meant for walking, not for cooking. The countertop you are using should be heat resistant, stain resistant, scratch resistant, easy to clean, and food safe. Moreover, it should be smooth and hole-free.
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Features of the Best Sealers for Concrete Countertops
A bare concrete countertop is porous and is prone to chemical attacks and staining. If liquid falls on such a countertop, it will soak into the surface and stain it. In the same manner, any acidic substance such as vinegar or lemon juice can easily dissolve the cement paste. A sealant is used for concrete countertops to protect them from stains and etching.
To find the best sealers for concrete countertops, you should look for some basic factors.
The sealer to be used should enhance the appearance of the countertop without compromising on its look and feel. It should have the ability to make the countertop smooth and absolutely non-porous. When cooking, countertops have to bear the brunt of various food stuffs such as oil, other liquids, sugary syrups, and other common household substances. The sealer must resist any kind of stains due to these food stuffs.
Again, it must resist etching as result of acidic substances like vinegar and lemon juice. To make the concrete countertops suitable for cooking, the sealer must resist heat coming from the hot pots taken directly from ovens or gas stoves. Moreover, to maintain the fresh look of the countertop, it should be able to resist the UV degradation and the yellowing from sunlight. It should provide long term protection to the countertop without frequent application. In addition, it should be food safe, easily cleaned, inexpensive, and without flaking or chipping.
Though you cannot find all these features in one type of sealer, it is better to weigh the pros and cons of each type.
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Basically there are two types of sealers
- Topical sealers
- Penetrating sealers.
They are differentiated from each other in terms of application, performance, maintenance, and other features. Sealing a polished and super smooth surface can be quite difficult. In that case penetrating sealers or wax are the most effective.
Penetrating sealers are in liquid form and are applied directly to bare concrete. Densifiers reduce the porosity and increase the surface density of the countertop while repellants increase the surface tension. Densifiers are also known as the hardeners.
Topical sealers are popular in the market and come in different degrees of appearance, longevity and performance. Some topical sealers include wax, acrylics, epoxies, and urethanes.
Before purchasing any sealer, get all the information about the features of the sealers. The best sealer for concrete countertops should make it more durable, heat-resistant, stain resistant and etch-resistant.