Tuesday, Apr. 4th 2017

Sealing & Maintenance Tips for Decorative Concrete

Spring is officially here, and it’s a perfect time to take a good look at your exterior concrete work – especially those of you in areas that experience dramatic fluctuations in temperature; hot summers, cold winters, lots of freeze-thaw opportunity. The kind of things that can put your driveways, patios, and walkways at risk for concrete related issues such as cracking and spalling.  

Properly sealing your concrete is critical to extending the life of your concrete, protecting your investment and offering lasting protection and beautification. 


Tips to ensure a successful sealer application

There are a number of considerations to account for when applying membrane forming sealers. And it all starts with surface preparation.

Surface Preparation

First, all concrete surfaces to be sealed must be properly cleaned. For existing concrete, consider SpecChem’s line of cleaning products. Something like Orange Peel – a natural citrus solvent based cleaner and degreaser, or Berry Clean – the SCAQMD, California and Virginia VOC compliant equivalent – is an ideal solution to ensuring a contaminant free surface.  

  • Concrete must be clean, dry and free of contaminates, and preferably cool, out of the direct hot sun. Sealers applied to hot concrete in direct sun can bubble or flash set creating an uneven appearance
  • Caution: Early morning dew (condensation) can be difficult to see and can prevent proper adhesion of sealers
  • Avoid wide variation in temperature between concrete and air temp
  • New patterned/colored concrete – be sure to wash off any residual powder release that may inhibit adhesion of the sealer

Soaps and detergents should not be used to clean concrete surfaces prior to sealer application. Detergents are emulsions and if allowed to dry on a surface, they form a barrier that can inhibit the adhesion of most acrylic sealers.


Application Tools:

Sealers may be applied with a pump-up sprayer or solvent resistant short nap roller.

  • If roller applied, do not roll too quickly to avoid whipping air bubbles into the sealer or use an application pad. For more detailed info on avoiding air bubbles, visit our SpecTech on Sealer Application.
  • If using a sprayer, make sure it is clean and has a fan tip nozzle adequate to apply a uniform membrane. Never let the pressure of the sprayer drop below optimum.
  • Clean sprayer immediately following application with SpecChem Solvent 100 or SpecChem Xylene.

Sealer Application:

  • Test the sealer in an inconspicuous area for desired appearance and to assure proper adhesion. 
  • Sealer should be applied in a very thin and uniform manner. Back roll or wipe out any puddles immediately.
  • Over application will result in a mottled appearance, could trap moisture, and will not allow sealer to cure properly.
  • If at any time the sealer puddles or is over-applied, immediately spray SpecChem Solvent 100 or SpecChem Xylene on top of the sealer to keep liquid and brush out excess to allow the sealer to properly cure. 
  • For increased gloss, a second coat may be applied after first coat has thoroughly dried, typically 4-6 hours.
  • Two thin coats will produce a harder film and a better gloss than one heavy coat. Cross apply to ensure even application. Apply one direction and then apply in a perpendicular, 90-degree direction.


What type of sealer is right for your project?  How often should I seal/reseal my concrete surface? 

Concrete surfaces throughout the country are subjected to very differing extremes when it comes to weather. Contact a SpecChem professional in your area for a solution specific to your individual sealing project and requirements.

Whether you have new or existing concrete, nothing protects your investment in, protects and extends the life of, and works to beautify your concrete surfaces like proper application of the right sealing compound.

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