Ever since W.R. Meadows launched Decra-Seal Natural in 2018, it secured a unique niche in the penetrating concrete sealer category. The sealer, designed especially for decorative concrete applications, both enhances concrete’s color and repels water.
“Without putting a wet look on concrete, it pops the color,” says Jim Becker, product group manager of construction liquids for W.R. Meadows. “While the product penetrates concrete’s surface to provide protection from water and water-soluble salts, it also accentuates concrete’s color differences and beauty.”
Decra-Seal Natural dries to a matte finish to produce that natural look so many decorative concrete proponents are clamoring for. Rather than creating a super high-gloss appearance like most film-forming sealers, the penetrating water-repellant sealer enhances concrete’s subtleties without looking artificial.
In addition to its color-enhancing properties, it also repels water by chemically bonding to the concrete. “By keeping water out of the concrete, penetrating water repellents help to increase the concrete’s longevity,” Becker says.
If concrete absorbs water and then the temperature falls to freezing, the trapped water freezes and expands, causing surface defects. Penetrating water-repellant properties alleviate this freeze/thaw situation and reduce the potential of scaling.
Decra-Seal Natural is a water-based, environmentally friendly product, containing less than 50 grams of VOC content per liter. This can be a bonus for contractors looking to earn LEED points.
The Decra-Seal line was primarily designed for decorative concrete residential projects such as stamped concrete, concrete walkways, patios, driveways and other horizontal surfaces. Contractors also use it on decorative vertical concrete surfaces and artificial stone applications with exceptional results.
“At Cement Colors, we like to promote Decra-Seal Natural as a great option to enhance exterior decorative concrete surfaces,” says Brian Farnsworth, owner of the Texas-based supply store. “It works great on sand finishes, Aggretex exposed systems, integrally colored broom-finished concrete or traditional stamped concrete.”
According to Farnsworth, “There are few options for exterior decorative concrete sealers that perform like Decra-Seal Natural. I value its ability to darken the color of concrete and protect the concrete surface from water, oils and acids. And it does all this while keeping the surface looking natural.”
“This is one of the many products Brian has turned us onto that really has a very practical place in our industry,” says Derek Carter, owner of Panhandle Ultimate Garage Systems in Amarillo, Texas, and one of Cement Colors’ customers. Although PUGS specializes in garage organization, it also handles its fair share of decorative concrete projects.
“We use it on many overlays because we’re able to get a good seal without the high shine,” Carter says. “We’ll also use it when repairing existing concrete. We can seal the repair without a major sheen difference.”
Overall, Carter says, “We use it when people are after a more natural look and don’t want high gloss.”
For best results, first use a sprayer to apply Decra-Seal Natural and then back-roll the surface. “The first coat will almost disappear as it soaks into the concrete,” Becker says. “If you put too much on, it has nowhere to go.”
Typically, one coat will do — especially with stamped concrete — unless you have a very porous surface.
In that case, “It may require two coats,” Becker says. “Always apply wet on wet because Decra-Seal Natural is a water-based product. If the sealer starts to develop its hydrophobic property, it will resist the second coat.”
You can walk on Decra-Seal Natural six hours after application but W.R. Meadows prefers you wait 12. Vehicular traffic may drive on the surface in 24 hours.
Questions from Readers
Does Decra-Seal Natural stop salt penetration? Does it have a densifer in it?
Answer from Concrete Decor publisher, Bent Mikkelsen
Decra-Seal is a great product. But, like any other concrete sealer, if you haven’t properly prepared the existing surface and don’t “properly” apply this penetrating sealer, salt intrusion along with motor oils, etc. will find their way through the sealer and into your concrete.
This being said, I use this product on my driveway in Oregon and am very happy with it. When applying the product I use a pump-type sprayer and apply an ample amount to the surface so that I have enough to back roll with a 1/2-inch nap roller.
Water-based sealers have a bluish haze when it’s wet so you can see where you have been during the application process. If certain areas suck up the sealer faster than others, simply apply more product. If the product is puddling on the surface or in joints, pick up that material with your roller or a disposable brush and move it to areas in need of sealer. Using this approach doesn’t require a second coat in my opinion. However, reading the instructions on the bucket, along with any other instructions or videos on the manufacturer’s website, is always encouraged.