PRO SEAL vs GENERIC ACRYLIC SEALERS
ProSeal 896 and ProSeal 898 are sealing products which is far superior in quality and performance than other types of acrylic sealer available on the market, both water-based and oil based (often referred to as solvent based).
Made from high-quality acrylic copolymers, ProSeal crosslinks together as it cures. This forms an almost impervious interlocking matrix in the top layer of porous materials. It cannot blister, peel or craze even in freeze/thaw environments and it will not re-emulsify in the presence of the parent solvent like all other acrylic coatings do.
Most water-based acrylics will re-emulsify, at least to some extent, in the presence of water. When exposed to water, these polymers absorb it and swell up. Often they appear milky white. They behave like an uncured coating in this state, protection is compromised, and stains can quite easily get through. Repeated absorption / desorption processes can weaken the polymer network and cause breakages in the polymer chains leading to premature wear.
Solvent based acrylics behave in the same way in the presence of solvents. So any oil, diesel, petrol and other hydrocarbons will be absorbed by the sealer rather than being repelled by it. Typically, exposure to water is far more likely and frequent than exposure to oil and therefore, most make the conclusion that solvent based acrylics are better.
ProSeal is completely different. It behaves as a thermoset once cured. That is, it will not re-emulsify in the presence of either water or oils. It is, therefore, extremely stain resistant and very durable! Moreover, ProSeal has been designed with unique properties that make it even better as an outdoor sealer.
The individual polymers in ProSeal are true nano polymers. Compared to traditional acrylic polymers, 896 is about 1000 times smaller and 898 is 10,000 times smaller. This enables them to penetrate deep into the substrate where they essentially become one with the surface. Other acrylics cannot penetrate like this and instead form a film on the surface which is prone to blistering, and peeling.
2. Cross Linking Matrix
As ProSeal dries the individual polymers link up with the polymers next to them to form a 3-dimensional polymer lattice structure, or matrix. Since the polymers have penetrated into the substrate, this matrix forms from deep within the sealed material to form a continuous seal right to above the surface. This gives the seal exceptional adhesion. Furthermore, the matrix adds elasticity and flexural strength to otherwise brittle and friable substrates.
The matrix structure of ProSeal is such that it will keep out almost all contaminants but still allow water to slowly migrate through, much like a reverse osmosis membrane. This enables the sealer to regulate the moisture in the substrate. This makes it excellent for sealing fresh concrete and for ensuring optimal sealer life in damp and moisture variable conditions. By comparison a solvent acrylic sealer has no breathability and will likely delaminate and peel if applied to a damp substrate, or if exposed to substrate moisture throughout its lifetime. Such conditions are typical of almost all outdoor applications.
4. Wet Surface Application
ProSeal loves water! The nano polymers in ProSeal use water as a conduit to get deep down into the substrate. Therefore, a high moisture content is beneficial. Other acrylics rely on a very dry substrate to provide some capillary action to suck them down into the substrate. Without this they will suffer from poor adhesion, ultimately resulting in delamination and peeling. Further, solvent acrylics cannot tolerate any moisture at all, if moisture is present in the substrate it will physically react with the solvent to compromise the seal and negatively affect the finish. Most solvent acrylic manufacturers specify less than 5% moisture in the substrate for this reason. As such solvents cannot be applied to any new concrete products for at least 28 days after manufacture. This allows sufficient time for the moisture required for curing to escape.
5. Alkalinity Resistance
Most people understand that a solvent can’t go down on a damp surface but many assume that water based products are ok for new slabs. However, this is not the case. Cement is highly alkaline. As such new concrete remains at a pH higher than 10 until the curing reactions have sufficiently completed. Most other polymers will hydrolyze in alkaline environments (> pH 10). This physically alters the polymer structure and permanently damages the sealer. In most cases the sealer will look hazy and adhesion will be significantly reduced. ProSeal is not affected by alkaline conditions. Use it on new concrete slabs and structures with confidence.
6. Wide Temperature Range Application
Since ProSeal can be applied to a damp substrate, you are able to completely saturate the surface with water prior to applying the sealer. This cools the surface and water evaporation will keep the surface cool during drying. As such, applications at temperatures in excess of 40 degrees are possible. At pre-wetted surface temperatures exceeding of 70 deg C! Solvent acrylics will blister when applied at temperatures above 30 deg C. Application of solvent sealers in wet conditions, or even in high humidity, is not possible. So environmental conditions significantly impact sealing schedules. None of this is a limitation for ProSeal.
7. Durability and Longevity
Most types of acrylic sealer form a film on the surface. When they wear off there is no residual protection whatsoever. In instances where the sealer delaminates and peels off these failures can occur very soon in the life of the sealer. Furthermore, because they generally leave a thick film, the whole surface can look patchy when the sealer fails, or wears in one specific area. Fixing the appearance and performance often requires stripping all the sealer off, before applying a new seal. This is a costly, hazardous and messy process. However, since ProSeal creates a matrix deep into the substrate, when the thin surface layer wears it is almost invisible and the sealer below the surface continues to provide stain protection and strength.
Maintenance coats are easily applied, at any stage, without any stripping requirement, ever. Reapplication of the maintenance coat at regular intervals will ensure ongoing performance without any time limits. Maintenance interval are dictated by the amount, and type of traffic to which the surface is exposed.
8. Environmentally & User Friendly
ProSeal contains almost no VOC’s and no toxic or hazardous ingredients. Whereas, solvent acrylics contain up to 85% xylene or other flammable & hazardous solvents. This solvent evaporates into the air. This creates an immediate respiratory hazard to applicators. Eventually, like all hydrocarbons, it will break down in the atmosphere into carbon-based gases which add to the total carbon concentration in the atmosphere and to the greenhouse effect. These solvents are hazardous for the health of applicators, and pose a significant fire risk, particularly when used in area’s with poor ventilation. This makes them very hazardous when used in manufacturing environments. More information about the health affects of xylene can be found on the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registration website.
9. Fire Safety
Solvent based acrylics contain hydrocarbons which pose a significant fire risk in their unapplied form. Residuals of these solvents remain in the product once is has cured. This presents an ongoing risk in some environments. ProSeal complies with AS.ISO 9239.1 2003 and as such exceeds all requirements in relation to combustibility, flammability and smoke development in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and the National Construction Code Specifications C1.10. As such ProSeal is not a fire risk or hazard, in storage, during application or as a final applied product.
10. Visual Appearance
ProSeal will not alter the colour of the sealed surface but may add some shine, particularly on very smooth surfaces. Most solvent based acrylics will darken the colour of the paver to varying extents depending on porosity and the colour of the material sealed. This darkening will make any delamination’s, failures and even general wear far more noticeable. By contrast, ProSeal will deliver a consistent colour which not alter even with high wear.
11. Slip Resistance
Solvent Acrylics create a hard, thick film on the surface and can therefore significantly increase slip risks. ProSeal forms only a very thin layer above the surface which conforms tightly to the contours of the surface. As such it preserves most of the grip of the raw, unsealed surface and allows more volume at the surface for dispersion of water underfoot in wet conditions. Further, the elasticity that the ProSeal provides can, in many instances, increase the levels of grip, compared to an unsealed surface. Slip ratings can only be evaluated in the field because they often depend on the texture of the surface being sealed, just as much as the effect the sealer has on the surface. However, to date ProSeal 896 has not returned a wet pendulum test result lower than P5 in accredited applications. P5 is the highest achievable grip level as per AS4586-2013.