I bet none of us could count the times we've heard the question "what sealer are you using?" They all seem to have a short-fall somewhere. I was content with the last formula I had, because my main criteria are durability and natural look/feel. The one I used met those very well, but had a very toxic formula, with heavy odor persisting for up to 2 weeks. I was hesitant to recommend it as a result.
Some vertical applications don't need sealer, and floors aren't so particular when using a sacrificial coat. Countertops and bathroom wet areas are a different animal. Most sealers, in my opinion, look and feel like plastic, a turn-off to myself and most of my clientel. I also have a hard time telling a customer that they have to keep to a regular recoating and maintenance schedule, yearly or even more often.
The old toxic stuff is now available in a water-based formula, which I have just tried out with very good results. I thought I'd pass it along to all of you that have been so much help to me along my path. I also welcome any other ideas. DuPont calls their flagship line of industrial coatings "Imron." They usually don't mess around putting that label on mediocre formulas. The water-based Imron comes in high gloss (Imron 1.2 HG-C) and flat (Imron 2.8 FT-C). They are single-part sealers. It can be recoated with itself in 30 minutes, and dries for use in 2 hours. It can be sprayed via airless or HVLP, or brushed and rolled (my choice). The gloss is a very wet look, and the flat is true, dead flat. The flat will hide any metallics or pearls, and mutes out many vibrant gem tones. I like mixing one part gloss with two parts flat for a very nice satin that allows all colors and effects to remain.
I did some quick performance tests with a heat gun at about 600 degrees, and then a sharpie marker on one sample and some of my wife's toughest nail polish on another, cured with the heat gun. I chose those two because it happened with two customers in the past. I removed the permanent marker with xylene and laquer thinner, and the polish with acetone. No damage to the sealer, didn't even dull the gloss. Mustard, balsamic vinegar, and tobasco didn't stain, and that's where I ended my testing.
For the record, I have no financial advantage in passing this info along, and attached are the MSDS info. I'm no chemist, but notice the chemical resistance ratings. It is almost equal to the solvent-based formulas in every regard. I don't know what I'll do now without the sealer buzz and it's following headache!