While sealants protect concrete from the outside elements and other factors that tend to degrade and damage it, they do pose an environmental issue. Many traditional sealers use volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs. These are chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human health. Thankfully, you can still protect your concrete surfaces by switching over to the new water-based sealers and coatings.
Although water-based sealers will still have some VOCs, the levels will be considerably lower than what traditional sealers contain. In the water-based options, acrylic polymer particles get dispersed into water. Once the sealant is applied to a concrete surface, the water evaporates and the polymer particles start getting closer to each other. Once all the water has evaporated, the particles have completely fused together, establishing a clear coating.
Solvent-based sealers do not need to be used now that there are water-based alternatives. The process releasing the most harmful toxins is the drying portion. Sealers that are not water-based release lots of VOCs instead of evaporating water.
The carbon-based compounds released during the drying process of solvent-based sealers can also cause serious health risks in humans. Some of the biggest and most common issues of the VOCs released by solvent-based sealants are kidney damage, liver damage, central nervous system damage, and brain damage. Mild exposure to these solvents will cause issues such as headaches and irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat.
There are other reasons why you should use water-based sealers and coatings. They are more cost-effective than solvent-based ones. Applying them costs less because they can simply be sprayed on using a simple sprayer intended for a garden hose. You also get to avoid any type of flash drying during hot weather.
Another benefit is the lack of bubbles or roller marks that you can potentially get with solvent-based sealants. This makes for a more homogeneous coating of the sealant on your concrete surface.
A big visual benefit to water-based sealers is that they do not darken concrete surfaces like traditional ones do. You get to enjoy a more natural surface than you would have had if you went the solvent-based sealer route. When dealing with decorative concrete, this is a huge benefit.
These are all of the main benefits you receive from using water-based sealants. However, there are a few more that may sweeten the deal for you. These are sealants that can actually be more durable than the solvent-based kind. Also, you have the option of getting them in either a high-gloss or matte finish, depending on your personal preference.
With the increasing number of regulations protecting the environment and health of people, anything containing high levels of VOCs, such as sealers and coatings, is being phased out. The safety risks alone are cause for opting for water-based protection of your concrete surfaces. Opt for using water-based sealers and coatings to enjoy all of the benefits and advantages described earlier.