While sealing a floor with a polymer-based coating is typically used to protect vinyl, it actually works very well to protect any type of porous floor surface. Easy to apply and incredibly durable, adding a floor sealant is a great way of helping to minimize wear and tear, and make maintenance much easier in general.
But how does floor sealing work?
Filling up the pores of the surface with polymer molecules, floor sealing leaves a smooth surface difficult for water or dirt to absorb. Naturally, a dirty, untreated floor doesn’t look very attractive, and some dirt is much harder to eliminate if the surface hasn’t been sealed. When dirt builds up over time, it can actually begin to stain the floor and once this happens, it’s very hard to reverse.
Is there a difference between floor sealing and floor finishing?
While similar, these two products have different applications: a floor sealant has polymers with larger molecules that leave a more durable coating on a surface. While a finishing product such as floor paint can be used after a sealant, to help give the floor a more appealing, shiny look, the sealant should always be used first for the ultimate in protection and durability.
What are the different types of floor sealant?
Polyurethane, solvent-based and water-based are the three main types of floor sealant:
- Polyurethane sealants – these provide an extremely robust coating, but due to their toxicity, do tend to leave a lingering odour that some may find offensive
- Solvent-based sealants – also strong and also relatively toxic, this type of sealant can only be used in a well-ventilated space
- Water-based sealants – while this sealant is a lot friendlier to the environment, it is also a lot less effective
When selecting the type of sealant that will be most effective for your floor, you’ll need to think about what material the floor is made from, how often you plan to strip it, and what type of traffic it will be required to withstand.
How to apply a floor sealant
It’s essential that the floor you plan to seal has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, and there should be no oil or grease residue left on the surface. Keep in mind that whatever is on the surface of the floor, will become trapped in the sealant and inevitably lead to the coating being compromised, should you fail to remove it successfully. Note that if the floor you plan to seal isn’t structurally sound, it should be repaired professionally before any type of sealant is applied.
While other brushes can be used to apply the sealant, foam brushes are typically the most effective, as they create a smooth, even coat.
Usually done in multiple layers, first, a thin, even layer is applied and left to dry completely (overnight in most instances), before a second coat is added, ideally without any bubbles trapped in the sealant, lumps and bumps.
Floor sealing is a vital step in protecting a floor and ensuring that it performs well and looks good, for many years to come.