When deciding between a water-based or solvent-based paver, natural stone or concrete sealer, there are a few key points to keep in mind: Has your surface been sealed before? What level of ease of application are you comfortable with? What look are you wanting? What products are appropriate for your surface? Where do you live? Is an environmentally friendly product important to you?

 Cobble Loc water based sealer 5 gallon pail and Cobble Coat solvent based sealer 5 gallon pail in boxing ring


Has your surface been sealed before?

If your surface has been sealed before, we recommend staying with the same type of sealer to minimize adhesion issues. If your surface was sealed more than two years ago with a film-forming sealer and water is now penetrating the surface, the majority of your previous sealer application is likely gone. In this situation, if you are wanting to switch from a solvent-based sealer to a water-based sealer, or vice versa, we would recommend doing a test patch for adhesion. If there are no issues with the adhesion test, then your surface should be able to take the new sealer. For more information on how to do an adhesion test, read more here.

If your surface has not been sealed before, you are free to use either a water-based or solvent-based sealer. While several years ago solvent-based sealers were more durable than water-based sealers, the technology in waterborne sealers and coatings has improved tremendously in recent years and, at this point, there is no practical difference in quality or durability when comparing water-based to solvent-based sealers.

 

What level of ease of application are you comfortable with?

A benefit of our Cobble Loc family of water-based sealers is that they can be applied over damp surfaces, allowing you to pressure clean and seal in the same day. Solvent-based sealers require that your surface is completely dry before application, which could take 2 – 3 days depending on your jobsite conditions and weather conditions. If you live in an area with frequent rainy weather, this can also delay application of a solvent-based sealer. Due to these reasons, our Cobble Loc family of water-based sealers tends to be much easier to apply and can reduce the cleaning and sealing process to a one day project.

 

What look are you wanting?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when deciding on a sealer is what look and finish you are wanting. We offer a wide variety of sealers that provide various looks, from natural look appearance to an enhanced, wet look appearance, semi-transparent colors and solid colors. Sealer finishes range from no sheen, or matte, to low sheen, satin, and semi-gloss. The majority of looks and finishes can be achieved by using either a water-based or solvent-based sealer, however, there are certain look and finish combinations that are currently available in only one formulation.

 

What products are appropriate for your surface?

If you have pavers or a surface where moisture is unable to dissipate or where water retention is an ongoing issue, then penetrating, breathable sealers are recommended. If you have pavers that are installed over a concrete slab, this can also become an issue if there is not proper drainage. In these situations, we do not recommend using a film-forming sealer, such as Cobble Loc or Cobble Coat, because the excess moisture trapped in the surface is likely to cause the sealer to haze or blush. A penetrating sealer, such as Cobble Impregnator, allows your surface to breathe while still providing protection. While finding the look and finish you are wanting is important, it’s more important to ensure that the product you choose is appropriate for your surface in order to provide a lasting sealing application.

 

Where do you live?

Water-based and solvent-based sealers are available in the majority of states, however, if you live in one of the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) member states then we are unable to ship solvent-based products to your location. OTC member states include Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. The State of California also has many regulations on solvent-based products.

Ozone Transport Commission Member States


Is an environmentally friendly product important to you?

One of the advantages of using a water-based sealer instead of a solvent-based sealer is that our water-based sealers are Low VOC and environmentally friendly. If this is an important feature to you, then you would probably want to go with a water-based sealer.