Difference between concrete sealer and concrete paint?

On another thread I've been asking about what to do with my concrete crawlspace floor in order to make it nicer and less prone to dust, etc. (I'm gonna be storing stuff down there, and doing a couple other things, etc.). Originally I thought of painting it, but didn't want to go thru the etching process if possible. A handful of people recommended sealing the floor instead of painting it. Some of the sealer instructions I looked at don't even mention anything about etching, just a good cleaning (some others say it might help). All the paints I've looked at definitely recommend etching. So the sealer is looking like the better option for me. However, I'm curious, what exactly is the difference between a concrete sealer and concrete paint? I would have thought that a sealer is just clear paint, but I think I'm wrong since it seems like the sealer requires less preparation work than paint. If you can shed any light on this that would be great.
Also if you can recommend a good sealer to use that's easily found (ie: available at Home Depot or similar places) that would be great. Btw, the one that looks the best to me right now is a Stone Mason product (www.usehickson.com/StoneMason/SealersAndCleaners/PremiumConcreteSealerMatte.shtml) ... anyone know if it's any good?
Thanks, Harry
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Harry Muscle wrote:

(www.usehickson.com/StoneMason/SealersAndCleaners/PremiumConcreteSealerMatte.shtml)
Sealer is generally thinner so that most of it penetrates into the concrete, as opposed to paint, which is designed to leave a thicker coating. That's why sealers don't peel, while paint can. For your crawlspace, where there is no traffic, no need for color, etc, sealer is definitely the way to go.
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(www.usehickson.com/StoneMason/SealersAndCleaners/PremiumConcreteSealerMatte.shtml)
Think of it this way. Sealer "Penetrates" the concrete and sinks in. Paint generally sticks to the top and doesn't penetrate as far hence the need for a better bond. I don't think sealing or painting is gonna help your dust problem. Dust doesn't typically get generated from the ground up (it's a gravity thing) unless disturbed. The dust is coming from above the crawl space. An easy solution is to staple or otherwise attach cloth to the bottom of your joists (I'm assuming this is a wood joist application). This will catch the dust. Every few years, I'd recommend pulling the cloth down and either replacing it or giving it a good clean. The other option would be to do a full sheetrock install over the joists but that seems line an awful lot for a crawlspace, particularly when you may want access to what's between those joists sometime down the road. Cheers, cc
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James \\Cubby\\ Culbertson ( snipped-for-privacy@null.invalid) said...

Wrong. While a majority of household dust is shedded skin cells, bare concrete is a significant source of dust. I am not sure why this is so, and it has little to do with traffic, so a crawlspace would be just as prone to concrete dust as a travelled section of floor.
Seal the concrete - it makes a difference.
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what is an example product name of a sealer?
said...

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thompsons water seal, it works awesome
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same stuff that's used on wood, or is there another version for concrete? thanks, bill

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said...> Wrong. While a majority of household dust is shedded skin cells, bare

Interesting. I would think you would need some abrasion activity going on to create the dust. In a crawl space that is used so little, I wouldn't think that would occur much. Does concrete just "flake" off (for lack of better wording) on it's own? I've seen old homes where the basements were covered in dust coming from the floors above. The cloth on the joists solved that problem. Of course, I don't recall what was on the floor. Cheers, cc
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said...

I have a crawl space under one room and it has a cement floor. I use it to store stuff that I access maybe a dozen times a year or so. The floor is rough enough that I avoid going in there in short pants to save my knees. I have zero dust problem in there; nothing is dusty at all. It does not come up from the bottom when I shuffle around in there and it does not come down from the top. Mid 70s construction.
Perhaps somehow identifying exactly what the dust source is would help in determining the cure so that treating the floor when the problem is not the floor (if that is the case) would not be wasted effort and cash. How to do this identifying is the question that this poses. Maybe looking at it under a microscope or subjecting it to some chemical test (like whatever dissolves concrete only, whatever that is). Something to think about anyway. Tomes
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If the concrete is in good condition the most dust would come from sweeping the surface. etching is not needed. Just a clean surface. Paint is fine as long as you don't have a moisture problem. If you want to spend more money you can look for a product called "modac" which is a very thick rubbery type of coating.
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