Guide To Concrete Sealers

Concrete sealers are very important for protecting the integrity of concrete so it doesn’t degrade and stands the test of time. Naturally, there are different concrete sealers for different applications and environments, so to discover the right concrete sealer for your needs, it’s best to consult with a professional in the industry.

To gain a deeper understanding of concrete sealers, read through the following concrete sealer guide and familiarise yourself with relevant aspects regarding sealing concrete.

How do you seal old concrete?

If concrete is old and not freshly poured, there are a few things to consider in the concrete sealing process. To effectively seal old concrete, you will first need to remove anything like built up grime or grease from the surface, along with any other foreign material or debris.

If the surface has an existing concrete sealer that’s degraded and needs to be replaced, you’ll usually need to remove this old sealer as well before applying the fresh sealer.

Once the surface has been cleaned of debris or old sealer, use an etching solution to create better adhesion for the new sealer to effectively adhere to the concrete surface.

It’s very important to properly prepare the surface of old concrete before sealing it. Failure to do so will result in an ineffective seal, making the task rather pointless.

Is it better to spray or roll concrete sealer?

The answer to this question could depend on a number of factors, including the environment you’re in, the type of sealer you are using and whether spraying in your location could be hazardous or messy.

Spraying concrete with a sealer is the fastest and most effective method of getting the job done, especially for large areas, but using a roller can be handy in certain circumstances where spraying on a sealer is not really a viable option. Rolling is the less expensive option of the two and likely the best choice for smaller sealing jobs. Keep in mind that rolling on a sealer is also harder work than spraying it on.

How long does sealer last on concrete?

Just how long does sealer last on concrete? Does concrete sealer wear off?

These are valid questions, but there is no one definitive answer, as many factors can come into play with regards to how long a concrete sealer will remain effective.

One important point to consider is the quality and type of sealer you use. If you opt for the wrong sealer or a cheap version of concrete sealer, you could find the sealer wearing off fairly quickly.

Epoxy and urethane concrete sealer systems generally have an effective lifespan of between 5 and 10 years. This also depends on how much traffic the surface receives. For example, the sealer on a concrete wall will likely last considerably longer than the sealer that coats a concrete floor.

For the longest lasting concrete sealer, you’ll want to choose a reactive penetrating sealer. Sometimes these sealers can last upwards of 25 years, making them the perfect choice for concrete floors and driveways. Despite their longer lifespan, it’s still wise to reseal these floors about every 5 to 10 years to ensure longevity of the concrete’s substrate surface. Floor areas with excessively heavy traffic may need to be sealed more often.

Climate, environment, sealer choice and surface type will all play a role in how long a concrete sealer lasts on a surface.

Can you put too much sealer on concrete?

There is an issue that occurs when you apply too much sealer and too thickly. Air bubbles can get trapped between the sealer coat and the concrete surface. When these air bubbles eventually pop, the seal has been compromised. Applying a thinner coat allows air to escape and vastly reduces the chances of creating trapped air bubbles.

Another thing to consider is applying sealer in excessive hot weather, as this can also cause the sealer to bubble and trap air between the sealer and the surface of the concrete. If sealing is taking place in direct sunlight, either wait for cloudy weather, or perform the sealing task late in the day or early evening.

What will remove concrete sealer?

If you need to remove old concrete sealer, how can you do it? Can you sand off concrete sealer?

It may depend on the type of sealer that was used, but generally, sanding is only useful in helping remove areas that may already be flaking away from the concrete surface. Sandblasting the surface will prove to be a lot more effective and far less strenuous.

Generally, to effectively remove old sealant, you’ll want to apply a solvent-based stripper. Xylene is an example of one. As solvent stripper can effectively change the colour of the concrete surface if the old sealer is dirty, it’s best to pressure wash the surface first and allow it to completely dry before applying the stripper.

Another option is to apply a solvent based acrylic sealer directly over the old sealer without any need to remove the previous sealer coating.

What Happens If You Don’t Seal Concrete?

Concrete is porous and it readily absorbs liquids. Imagine a bare concrete floor for a moment. If it’s not sealed, it’s not going to take long for that floor to look dirty, grimy and old.

Aesthetics are not the only thing to consider when it comes to sealing concrete. The main role of a concrete sealer is to protect the concrete so it doesn’t degrade and therefore lasts much longer. Sealing a concrete surface can extend the lifespan of the concrete exponentially. It’s far cheaper and easier to seal the concrete than to have to repair or replace sections of concrete in a structure.

With regards to liquids penetrating concrete, temperature extremes can cause expansion and contraction, which will inevitably lead to concrete damage over time. Sealing concrete is the easiest and most obvious solution.

In Conclusion

Concrete sealing is vitally important for both the look and the longevity of the concrete surface or structure. To ensure you choose the right sealer and do the job right, consult with a professional concrete sealing supplier or service.

Read more in Epimax’s Guide To Concrete Protective Coatings and Sealers

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