When we first started making fibre-reinforced concrete in 2012, the industry in Australia was still in its infancy. The supplies that so many people import now were simply not available, and being in WA they were even harder to source.
To get around this we designed our own mix using locally made GFRC additives. We’ve tweaked and improved this over the years and we still use it to make super strong concrete every day.
The Sealer Crux
But there was always one sticking point, and that was the sealer. There were no good products anywhere, and the only things that were available were for driveways. After about a year of searching we found some with amazing stain resistance, but the trade-off was you could see the sealer, it looked plasticy and shiny. It’s not the style people think of when they are going for the ‘industrial look’ in their kitchen.
It seemed like it was the holy grail of concrete fabrication – and in many ways it is – but in late 2012 we saw what our mission would be: to make a sealer that was completely stain-proof and completely invisible.
It took six months; it took hundreds of paper mixing pots, but in the end we did it, and CS Protect was born.
For it to pass our test we decided to try out everything we could find in a house and garage: beetroot, red wine, turmeric, hair dye, hydrochloric acid, hot oil. Nothing marks it.
Sealer buying guide
If you are shopping for a concrete basin then you will probably have encountered the sealer issue. The options (roughly speaking) boil down to two:
- Topical sealer
- Penetrating sealer
Topical sealers are the only ones with any stain-resistance. They leave a thin barrier over the concrete that separates the cement particles from your kids’ sticky fingers. These sealers are often visible because they work a bit like a lacquer.
Penetrating sealers soak into the concrete and close off the pores, but they do not leave a barrier layer. These sealers are great for many things, but unless you don’t mind your concrete picking up marks, do not use these in the kitchen or bathroom.
This one I can keep brief. Good sealers do not need resealing. If you are being told you need to regularly reseal your concrete then you are either being sold something needlessly or the sealer is average to begin with. A good seal forms a chemical bond with the concrete and should be virtually impossible to remove.
A good sealer is a strong sealer and should be able to take the strain of daily knocks and scrapes. There is a line, and that is sharp metal. Good sealers and sharp metals are not a good mix.
A good sealer should be invisible. If you’ve bought a concrete basin or bench top then it is concrete you want to see, not sealer.
All Concrete Studio basins are sealed with CS Protect, it is our own product and we know it’s the best. It’s stain-proof, maintenance free and completely invisible. The best test of this last point is the fact that visitors to our showroom always ask to see a sealed piece: we have to explain that everything on display is already sealed.
We do sell CS Protect to others, but only after they have completed one of our training courses. It’s an expensive product and it’s tricky to apply, so it’s not suitable for the general market.
Beautiful looking raw concrete that stays looking that way. Accept nothing less.