Concrete countertops are an affordable D.I.Y. project that can achieve a truly customized appearance at a fraction of the cost of granite or quartz. Unfortunately, porous concrete can stain easily in a kitchen setting where there are a variety of staining agents. Sealing the surface with a reactive sealer and/or coating system can provide a surface that is easier to keep clean and looking great for years.

Reactive Sealer vs. Topical Coating System?

When customers are deciding between products and need our advice, we first try to find out what they are trying to achieve with their product, and what expectations they have of the finished product. For areas where water repellency is necessary but stain resistance is less necessary, a reactive sealer like our V-SEAL 101 may be all you need (but it's also a great first step to reduce moisture transmission before applying coatings). For areas where higher stain resistance is desired, a coating system should be used to provide a barrier between the staining agent and surface of your concrete countertop. Coatings for countertops come in a wide array of colors and finishes, and many are similar in resistances to floor coatings for concrete.

Color Enhancement, Color, Gloss?

Some clear coatings applied to concrete can cause color enhancement or darkening, making the concrete look wet and often enhancing the colors in the concrete, while others leave the concrete more natural looking. Many coating systems can also be tinted translucently or to an opaque color while different finishes can provide a gloss or satin appearance.
If the wet look is desired, we typically recommend using the StoneLok E3/2K2 Epoxy and Urethane Kits. If less color enhancement is desired, TK6 NanoCoat can be used in place of the StoneLok E3 Epoxy, then top-coated with StoneLok 2K2 Urethane to increase abrasion and heat resistance. When used without top-coating with StoneLok 2K2, TK6 NanoCoat provides good resistances to stains at a fraction of the cost of the StoneLok E3/2K2 System, but offers lower abrasion and heat resistances.

Both TK6 NanoCoat and StoneLok 2K2 are available in Gloss or Extra Low Gloss depending on the desired amount of light reflection.

Abrasion Resistance

Coatings always increase the stain resistance of concrete, but must be cared for over time to maintain resistances and appearance. Coatings that cure to a harder strength are less likely to scratch over time, which ultimately results in a longer wear life. A common test for abrasion resistance is the CS-17 Tabor abrasion test in which a uniform weight and sanding method are used on coatings and the amount removed is measured (less removed is better/harder). Acrylic and other single component coatings are typically about half as hard as epoxies, and a fourth as hard as urethane coatings.
Of the coatings that we offer, TK6 NanoCoat is about twice as hard as acrylic coatings, but about half as hard as the StoneLok E3/2K2 System. Using a two-part urethane for the final topcoat provides the best abrasion resistance.

Maintenance

While the coatings offered here will last a long time if cared for properly, all coatings will need maintained over time with use. The manufacturers of TK6 NanoCoat and StoneLok E3/2K2 recommend the following:

  • Wipe up spills as they occur.
  • Clean regularly with a pH neutral cleaner. (never use abrasive or aggressive tools or cleaners)
  • Never used a sealed countertop as a cutting board
  • Use coasters or felt pads below anything with sharp edges (wine bottles, metal stands, etc.)
  • Do not place pots or pans directly from stove or oven onto a sealed surface
  • If damage occurs, cover or repair affected area to prevent further damage in affected area.
  • Sacrificial coatings like waxes may be used to protect the coatings from damage, but will need re-applied more often as they wear off

To speak with one of our experienced technical advisors about your next countertop project, contact us here:

V-SEAL® Concrete Sealers, 9042 Cotter St., Lewis Center, Ohio, 43035

614-754-4777

 info@vseal.com, www.vseal.com