Sealing concrete has become a standard maintenance practice because that’s how you protect and preserve your investment in concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios. But there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Here are some important sealing tips:
Previous Sealing Applications
If you’ve been sealing your own concrete from the start, then you know the history of the products used and frequency of application. But if you’re working with a previously sealed surface that you don’t know with what product or the last time it was done, stripping away the old sealer before applying new is a good idea. This will remove the complication of two different products not working well together.
Cleaning and Prepping
You should clean concrete before applying sealer for the first time, or reapplying a new layer of the same product. Not only does powerwashed concrete look better, but also allows the sealer to adhere to the material rather than layers of dirt and oil. Concrete cleaning is about removing oils and grime so use a de-greaser rather than bleach. These detergents are available at the hardware store, but opt for an alkaline-based type rather than muratic, which can etch and weaken your concrete. Be sure to powerwash carefully, because too much pressure can damage the finish.
Depending on the type of sealer you’re using, cracks in the concrete should generally be addressed before sealing, and after cleaning. If small cracks have become larger with time, this can indicate a problem with the ground beneath the concrete surface, and needs to be corrected. Cracks due to heavy impact can be patched if they’re not too deep. Check the instructions on which patching products work best with your sealant.
Getting What You Pay For
Using the cheapest, consumer grade sealer on the market will usually create more trouble than it’s worth. The best sealers are a complex blend of chemistry designed to bond to the concrete internally and protect the surface. Some of the cheaper products on the hardware store shelf are only a surface protector that wears off too quickly. Invest in the best quality for long lasting results.
The temperature and sun exposure at the time the sealer is applied has a direct impact on the end result. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the proper temperature range and weather conditions so you get good results and that the warranty will apply.
Because you continually walk and drive on these surfaces – combined with the dramatic range of weather conditions in Metro St. Louis – even the best quality concrete sealer has to be reapplied eventually. The rule of thumb is the higher the quality of the sealant and the application, the lower the frequency of reapplication. And more is not always better; applying too frequently or applying too much at one time can make the surface slick, especially when wet. Adhere to the recommended schedule for applying a new coat to maintain a consistent level of protection.
Just as you wouldn’t walk across wet cement, do not access sealed concrete until it has thoroughly dried according to product specifications. Along with a drying time, there may also be a curing time, so carefully read and follow the instructions about when it’s safe for the concrete to get wet.
There are many important steps to follow to have a seal that protects and prolongs the life of your concrete, which is why so many homeowners turn to Mosby Building Arts’ sealing professionals. With over 20 years of sealing experience, Mosby has researched and found the best available product, which is not available in retail at this time.
Mosby sealing professionals know the proper way to repair, caulk, clean and seal concrete right the first time. Learn more about ProTreat Sealing for concrete at this link. For all your sealing needs, or contact them here.