Creating decorative designs in concrete is becoming more popular among today's homeowners. If you are thinking of stamping, staining, or overlaying your own concrete, it's important that you apply a sealer to keep your design intact.

Purchasing the right concrete sealer is a must when it comes to preserving decorative concrete, but most homeowners aren't familiar enough with these products to make an informed decision. Here are three questions you can ask yourself before buying a concrete sealer to ensure you select the product best suited to meet your needs.

1. Is the sealer compatible with the decorative surface treatment you have applied to your concrete?

Not all sealers are universal. The last thing you want to do is see the hard work you've put into applying a decorative surface treatment destroyed because you chose a sealer that was not compatible with that surface treatment. Incompatible sealers can cause blistering, bubbling, or bleeding of applied colors.

Knowing that stained concrete can be safely sealed using an acrylic product, while polyurethane sealers are better suited for stamped concrete will help you find the sealer that will work best with your decorative concrete.

2. What type of finish will I be satisfied with?

Homeowners have varying tastes when it comes to finishing their decorative concrete. While some homeowners might be satisfied with a matte finish, others desire a high-gloss sheen for their decorative concrete features. Taking the time to determine which finish you prefer will make it easier for you to select the right kind of sealer in the future.

After curing, water-based sealers provide a matte finish. Solvent-based sealers are capable of producing a glossy finish once they have cured completely. Select the concrete sealer that produces the type of finish you desire for your decorative concrete.

3. Do I live in a cold climate?

If you live in an area where temperatures frequently dip below freezing, then it's important that you use a breathable concrete sealant. Since concrete is a porous material, water molecules can be absorbed into its surface.

A non-breathable sealant prevents surface water from penetrating your decorative concrete, but doesn't allow the water absorbed from the ground underneath to escape. When temperatures drop, these trapped water molecules can freeze, producing cracks in your decorative concrete.

Taking the time to ask yourself a few important questions before investing in a concrete sealer will help you purchase the product best suited to protect your decorative concrete in the future. Once you've decided which option is best for you, you can even buy concrete sealer online.