How to seal with a Water Based Sealer

How to seal with a Water Based Sealer

 I am sure that not many of you out there are aware or even know about Water Based Acrylic Sealers. These products would generally not be your first choice because with Solvent Based Acrylic Sealers you will get a much better enhancement of the substrate, better longevity of the product, and a better shine whether being block paving, imprinted concrete, natural stone, Indian stone, or man-made paving. It will still do a good job and we are always looking for the most eco-friendly product we can find that in essence would replace the solvents that we use today but they have not come close to the properties of the solvent. That being said, there is no reason you cannot use Water Based Acrylic Sealers on new installations and from then on for the life of the substrate but as mentioned it comes a distant second to Solvent Based Acrylic Sealers.

There are a lot of you out there that feel very strongly about this and would be determined to use Eco-Friendly Products so I will go through the do’s and don’ts to allow you to use these sealers without any issues that you may come across. Before we carry on, I have to make you aware of the following details before you start to seal any type of substrate with Water Based Acrylic Sealers.

  1. One big advantage to water-based sealers is that they can be used if the substrate is damp and/or the day is colder and there is moisture in the air. Absolute no no with solvent sealers.
  2. If it is a new installation, then following the provided application details you will have no issues at all.
  3. If the substrate has been a few years, then you will need to find out what the surface has been previously sealed with. If this happens to be a solvent product or Fluoro chemical product, then water-based products can only be used if the surface was last sealed 3 years ago. If applied and the surface has got an alternative sealer on, it will sit on the surface and peel off very quickly or it will turn white. If this happens, it is very difficult to remove.
  4. If previously sealed with a water based, then no problems at all.
  5. Water based can be applied to solvent-based surfaces if the previous solvent sealer was put on more than two years ago.
  6. In my opinion, I would never seal an imprinted/stamped concrete drive with water based simply it does not work, as described above it will sit on the surface and peel very quickly, but other suppliers think it can be used so good luck with that.
  7. If you are sealing concrete block paving, we suggest you split the tub into two equal measures and the add water 50:50 to the separate sealers and apply liberally one after the other. Water-based is not great at hardening the sand in the joints to stabilise the sand but doing it this way will work as well as it can.
  8. The obvious difference between water based and solvent based is that water based is of a milky colour and minimal smell whereas solvent based is clear and a very strong odour to it.

After the cleaning process that I have previously written a blog, you would have first cleaned the surface with our Shift-It Cleaner Range and jet washed the area afterwards.


The area is now cleaned and perfectly dry you will need the following items to complete the sealing process.

  • Dry Kiln Sand – This is a fine sand to replace the sand lost from the joints when cleaned and jet washed if you are sealing concrete/clay block paving blocks
  • Sprayer – We sell a purpose made 8 litre Low Pressure Sprayer. I am only referencing this application. We will explain more later in the blog.
  • Broom or Brush – This will be used to move the sand around the block surface to fill all the joints
  • Sealer – Our Water Based Sealer to apply to the surface area as a two-coat application


After all, the cleaning has been done and the substrate is completely dry, and the temperature of the day is right for the sealer. You need to open the bag of kiln-dried sand if using on block paving blocks and spread it excessively over the concrete block paving. With a brush you then move the sand all over the block paving, making sure that you fill all the joints. Don’t worry if there is a lot of sand left on the surface. Then sweep up all the extra sand and re-bag it for future use. When you have picked up as much as you can then you must make sure that all the block surface and top of joints are free from any sand residue.

Once all the sand has been removed and the day is dry, and the temperature is warm enough then open the sealer and split it into two equal parts for block paving or as is for other substrates like natural stone, Indian stone, and manmade paving. When done, fill the sprayer up to ¾ of its volume and screw it tight and pressurize the cylinder with 20 – 30 pumps. When this has been done then find your starting point making sure as you move along spraying the sealer you do not trap yourself in the corner. Point the sprayer nozzle at roughly 30 degrees to 45 degrees to the surface area about 12 inches – 14 inches away from the blocks. Then proceed at a slow pace applying the Water Based Sealer very liberally, not allowing it to pool, remember two coats if it is block paving to solidify the sand.

When this is done, you will need to leave the area sealed for up to 4 hours to walk on and 24 hours to drive on. This process should last 2.5 – 3 years before the process needs to be done again.


What this section refers to are issues that can happen if the procedure is not followed to the letter. You will have no problems if you do it as it says, and we will explain why:

Salt Issues – This is a situation that happens if the sealing process is done too soon. We recommend that all substrates are left 6 – 8 weeks before sealing to allow any natural salts to escape and wash away naturally. It is fair to say that a number of these products may be kept outside at the merchants of stone suppliers and already be washed through, but this just makes sure it has. If this happens there is very little you can do.

Excessive Sand – I referred to the removal of the sand earlier as important that you remove all the excess from the top of the blocks and the top of the joints. If you don’t do this what can happen is that the sand is moved around on the block and the sealer will stick it to the face of the blocks and again it will either stay, there or the sealer removed.

Using only the sprayer – I mentioned earlier that I would explain this. If you read issue 2 that is what happens far too regularly with rollers or brushes. It is a cheaper way of applying the sealer, but these implements have an issue where they grab the sand and spread it. At least with a sprayer whose nozzle is 14 inches above the ground and the spray is not forceful, it will move no sand at all.


There is very little you need to do with regards to aftercare. Every so often it would not be a bad idea to jet wash the surface, not too strong. This will remove moss. Algae and other loose impediments that are sat on the surface of the sealed area. Don’t worry about the sand because when you sealed the surface the Water Based Sealer is applied as mentioned above in two pours.

I have added several blogs bespoke to individual substrates to understand and apply the relevant sealer that substrate (Natural Stone. Indian Stone. Block Paving, Man-Made paving, Slate and Granite. Brick and Stone) needed to be used.

They are available on our website


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