Over the past few years the decorative concrete industry has grown leaps and bounds as homeowners realize the elegant finishes that can be created for a great price. One key to making sure your investment maintains its superior look is to reseal every few years. Upon initial installation, most contractors will seal the concrete as a final step. However, many homeowners do not realize that they must regularly reseal their decorative concrete. The following includes step by step instructions for resealing your decorative concrete.
Select a Sealer
Before you begin resealing it is important to know what kind of sealer was initially put on the concrete. Most decorative concrete sealers are solvent based but with the new VOC laws, newer sealers are water or acetone based. It is important to know what was initially put on the surface because that will determine which type of sealer you use. You do not want to apply a water based sealed over a solvent based sealer. This is comparable to oil and water based paints not mixing. They will not adhere to each other and you will have a mess on your hands. If you want your concrete to have a high gloss, Deco-Crete Supply's Diamond Shine is a good option. If you want a matte finish, Super Stamp Seal, is a good sealer. Another factor you may want to consider is adding an anti-slip additive in the sealer which adds traction to the surface.
Make sure the Conditions are Right
Before you jump in and start sealing it is crucial to know the weather conditions you will be applying it in. The best time to seal your concrete during the summer months is in the morning or evening. You do not want to apply sealer in the dead heat of a 90 degree day. The ideal temperature for applying sealer in 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You also want to look at the weather radar to see if any rain is in the forecast. If it rains while your sealer is still wet, you can have issues with the sealer turning cloudy.
Wash the Surface
The first step in resealing your decorative concrete is to wash the entire surface. Using a pressure washer, go over the entire surface holding the tip of the hose one foot off of the ground so as not to gouge the surface. It may be necessary to use a stiff bristled broom and a mild cleaner on areas that the pressure washer cannot clean. The surface needs to be free of all contaminants before resealing.
After washing the surface it is imperative that you wait until the concrete is completely dry. If you apply the sealer while the concrete is still damp you run the risk of trapping moisture between the concrete and the sealer which will turn the sealer cloudy. You can take a leaf blower over the entire surface to speed up the drying process. You also want to make sure that all of the moisture is out of the saw cuts. The surface may appear to be dry, but there may still be moisture in the low lying areas of the saw cuts. There are several ways to apply sealer that can be considered which we will discuss. It is important to keep in mind that it is best to apply two thin coats of sealer opposed to one thick coat.
Sealers can be applied through a special concrete sealer sprayer. Sealer sprayers are typically hand held and are pumped up to form a pressurized chamber. Chapin is a leading manufacturer of industrial strength sealer sprayers. Spray the surface using an even back and forth motion with the sprayer wand.
Dip and Roll
Pour out a small amount of sealer in a paint try. Using a ¾” nap paint roller, dip the roller cover and roll evenly over the surface. Do not apply too much pressure or you may see roller lines. You want to have enough sealer on you roller cover to get down into every impression but not too much to where it puddles. TWO THIN COATS IS BETTER THAN ONE THICK COAT.
Spray and Back Roll
This application method uses both a sprayer and a roller. Have one person spray an even coat of sealer on the concrete and have another person follow behind with a roller. This is the best way to ensure even coverage. After you have applied the first coat of sealer allow to dry for 6-12 hours before applying second coat.