Choosing clear protective floor sealing coatings

by Ofentse Sefolo
Choosing clear protective floor sealing coatings

Sealing coatings are an important part of protecting any floor and increasing its overall durability. Sealants absorb floor movement, waterproof the floor, absorb vibration, minimise sound transmission, protect the floor against wind, water, pests, contaminants and dirt and are aesthetically pleasing.

Available in many grades and classes
Frikkie Greeff, managing director at Woodoc, says the most important aspect to consider when choosing a sealant is to make sure the sealant is formulated specifically for the floor. He says sealants are produced in many different grades and classes so it is important to compare similar products and decide which one is most suitable.

“Some sealants have a faster drying time for paint projects, others may be suited to trim sealing on windows or could be mildew-resistant for bathrooms. The best product for the job may be a higher grade formula which could be more expensive, however it is important to keep in mind it usually delivers better long-term results,” says Frikkie.

The managing director added that it is important to understand the level of preparation involved in sealing a floor. Always choose a sealant from a reputable manufacturer to ensure good aftersales service and technical backup should you need it. He says if sealing the floor yourself is beyond your comfort level, approach a reputable contractor to do it.

Top sealants for wood floors
Frikkie of Woodoc says a wooden floor can be a priceless asset if properly sealed and maintained so it is important to choose the correct sealer for the type of wood floor. It must be easy to use, give excellent protection and accentuate the beauty of the wooden floor. He says to effectively seal wooden floors, the surface coating must penetrate into the wood and bind with it, becoming part of the wood.

According to Frikkie, you should apply sufficient undiluted sealant with a good paint brush as a first coat, completely saturating the surface. Then a second and third coat should be applied to build up a surface coating that protects against scratching, scuffing and spills.

A wooden floor should never be washed, especially not with a soapy solution as soap will quickly make the floors appear dull. If a wooden floor becomes wet, dry it as soon as possible. The maintenance routine should be sweeping the floor regularly and applying a maintenance wax sparingly from time to time,” says Frikkie.

Top clear protective sealer coats for concrete floors

• Film-forming finishes with a glossy appearance and water-based, designed to protect aesthetic concretes from stains, prevents micro-organism development and atmospheric attacks. Especially on concrete at early ages, protects against water, oils and dust as well as improves surface toughness, abrasion and wear resistance.
• Clear protective and decorative polyurethane enamel for concrete. Non-toxic when dry; excellent water and weather resistance; resists aliphatic solvents, xylol, alcohol; and wine industry approved.
• Epoxy resin can be used as a primer/pore sealer for suitably prepared cementitious substrates; as well as for a clear sealed finish to diamond ground concrete which are popular for warehouses.

abe.cote 441 clear polyurethane

Factors to consider when choosing a sealant
Think about these aspects when deciding on the right sealant for your floor:
• Type of joint
• Chemical resistance
• Durability and weatherability
• UV- and ozone resistance and stability
• Fungicide and bactericide
• Guarantees and warranties
• Certification
• Total volatile organic compounds
• Correct surface preparation
• Surfaces and substrates
• Compatibility
• Movement capability

The modern approach of floor manufacturers is to develop coatings which can be applied to the surface of the flooring during manufacturing. Many floors that need sealants come with factory finishes that differ in intensity from a simple protective acrylic zinc cross-linked dressing to protect a floor from scratches during installation, to a reinforced polyurethane finish designed to last years.

Going matt or gloss in sealants
Sealants with a low-gloss finish, called matt sealants, have been increasing in popularity over the years as they maintain a great finish for longer, while high-gloss sealants often show every imperfection in a floor or sub-floor. Polyurethane coatings are now reinforced because maintenance of these floors can be costly long term and within eight years could exceed the original installation cost.

Acknowledgement and thanks are given to a.b.e and Woodoc for some of the information in this article.

Main image: Woodoc

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