When you’re talking about durability of sealers and coatings, water-based sealers have gotten a bad rap. There’s a perception that water-based sealers will just wash away in the first rainstorm, like water-based paint. Solvent-based sealers are believed to be more durable and long-lasting. With advancements in the chemistry of water-based acrylic sealers, those perceptions of solvent-based sealers being better are no longer true.
Let’s look at the advantages of water-based acrylic sealers. If you’ve been in the business of sealing floors for any length of time, you’ve probably had the chance to test out both water-based acrylic sealers and solvent-based sealers. If you’ve ever had to try to remove a water-based sealer for any reason, you probably have seen that it is quite difficult to remove! They don’t come up as easily, even with solvents, as people think they will.
Across the United States, Governments are putting into place strict regulations on the use of solvents for many industries. Solvents are harsher on the environment in the production, use. and disposal. Solvents typically are the prime components responsible for VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, which builders are trying to use less of as the world moves toward more sustainable home building. So whenever possible, using water-based solvents puts you at an advantage in that regard.
Sealers without VOCs tend to dry out faster, which makes the application tricky, especially in hot weather. The quick drying can lead to a lot of problems, such as imperceptible bubbles forming in the sealer, streaking, and roller marks. All of these will pose problems for a professional floor application.
Water-based acrylic sealers don’t off gas VOCs into the atmosphere. This is healthier for the installers and whoever lives in the house or works in the building after the floor is installed. Water-based acrylic sealers don’t require special equipment, unlike solvent-based sealers, which are incompatible with some sprayer types. Water-based acrylic sealers can be sprayed on with a typical garden sprayer. There really doesn’t appear to be a difference in durability between water-based acrylic sealers and solvent-based sealers.
Solvent-based sealers have a tendency to darken a surface. Because of this, it can be hard to predict exactly what the finished color will be. Water-based acrylic sealers are available in gloss or matte finishes. Finishing problems such as bubbles or streaks are less likely with water-based acrylic sealers.
Water-based acrylic sealers do have some disadvantages though. They are not easy to remove. So you can’t expect to just wash off the sealer with a garden hose if you make a mistake. These are chemically strong, durable coatings that water does not penetrate. Water-based acrylic sealers have a narrower effective temperature range. So if you are planning to apply a water-based acrylic sealer, it can’t be too warm or too cold.
It’s best to use water-based acrylic sealers indoors. If they are used outdoors and the sun shines on them on a regular basis or they are rained on on a regular basis, their appearance may change. For instance, they may lose some of their shine and color after a while, or they may get a milky appearance. Overall though, they are going to remain good-looking for a long time when used in protected environments. Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, is health-wise. If you’re in a situation where you aren’t required to use a solvent-based sealer, chances are you can earn your green points by making the choice to use a water-based sealer instead.
Application of water based acrylic sealer -
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