Lowering VOC content is a popular topic these days, primarily because of the increasingly restrictive regulations throughout the country demanding decreased levels of volatile organic compounds in a range of paint and coatings applications. VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature.
Due to the intense regulatory environment, it’s significant to know the characteristics of different types of sealers, that usually vary from a very high VOC (more than 400 grams/liter) to very low VOC (less than 100 grams/liter). Here, in this article, I’m going to discuss pros and cons of each to help you determine which polymer product is right for your project.
When it comes to the acrylic sealers, they’re available in both water-based types (with lower VOC) and solvent-based varieties (with higher VOC). Both of these sealers acts as protective and decorative topcoats for concrete and are usually applied after concrete curing is complete. Both water- and solvent-based acrylic sealers are the primary means of providing stain and chemical resistance for concrete and designed to protect it from daily wear and tear. Moreover, most of the ultra-violent resistant sealers are made of 100 percent acrylic polymers that add to aesthetics – including gloss and long-term color enhancement.
- Water-Based Sealer: With a water-based acrylic sealer, the polymer particles are dispersed in water. When you apply the sealer to a concrete surface, the water begins evaporating and polymer particles drawn closer together. As the water evaporation continues, these particles start to distort and merge together, eventually making a continuous clear coating.
- Solvent-Based Sealer: In the case of the solvent-based acrylic sealer, polymers aren’t present in the form of separate particles. Rather, the solvent and polymer makes a continuous, clear polymer solution. As the solvent starts evaporating from the solvent-based sealer, the polymer chains move closer together and ultimately entangle. In both types of sealers, the polymer stays on the concrete surface that makes it look glossy.
Here are some of the similarities between water-based and solvent based acrylic sealers;
Durable & Hard-Wearing
The first and the foremost similarity between water- and solvent-based acrylic sealers is that; they both works to protect concrete. With the help of best-performing gellner industrial acrylic sealers, it can last for 2 to 3 years. They’ll both provide stain protection against several food spills, chemicals and automotive stains. You can remove them before permanent staining occurs.
Offer Easy Application
Both water- and solvent-based acrylic sealers usually come in fully formulated, ready-to-apply variations. You can either roll on or spray it to the concrete surface; depending on the type of the project.
When it comes to the 100% acrylic sealers, they’re completely transparent to UV light. Actually, they’ll not go through the photochemical breakdown experienced by more UV-absorbent polymers like nonaliphatic polyurethanes, styrene-acrylics and epoxies. Such UV-resistance provided by acrylic sealers can lead to enhanced protection and service.
Now comes the differences between the water-based and solvent-based acrylic sealers;
One major difference between water-based and solvent based acrylic sealers is the appearance after application and cure. When it comes to the solvent-based sealers, they use to wet-out and penetrate concrete surfaces well, while giving the glossy finish that add to the aesthetics of the underlying concrete. On the other hand, water-based acrylic sealers gives a milky white finish because polymer particles scatter visible light differently as compared to water in which they’re dispersed. Water-based sealers provide glossier, matte finish to the surface after curing.
But, there are several disadvantages of using solvent-based sealers such as; they have an offensive odor and emit very strong vapors, which can be harmful to your health. And, if you’re using them indoors, extra care should be taken particularly in enclosed spaces like basement. Because even a spark can cause fumes to ignite and explode. On the other hand, water-based acrylic sealer doesn’t emit hazardous fumes. They are non-flammable and have a mild smell like interior wall paint. This is the reason why there’s a high demand of water-based acrylic sealers by the contractors.