How to Seal Stamped Concrete
Stamped concrete sealers compliment the beauty of your home and outdoors. Stamped concrete resists wear, is durable and easy to maintain compared to the ordinary concrete surface. If you have stamped concrete surfaces around your home, you soon realize that the surface gradually loses its appealing luster. This is because of the gradual degradation of the once glossy and attractive
surface. The deterioration causes the surface of the stamped concrete to change color and appear dull. The changes occur with time or due to poor maintenance. However, you restore the beauty of the stamped concrete by cleaning and resealing. Sealers have several benefits:
- They prevent the fading of colors as a result of UV rays.
- They prevent penetration of stains, de-icing chemicals, oil, and other stains.
- They protect the concrete surface from scratch and wear.
- They lock out moisture.
- They make the surface easy to clean and maintain.
- They add sheen to the surface.
How to choose the right sealer
Stamped concrete sealers are available in an array of gloss levels from a mate (non-gloss) to high-gloss (“wet” look). However, there are two main types of sealers for outdoor stamped concrete; they are solvent-based acrylic and water-based acrylic. Acrylic sealers are suitable because they are breathable, economical, and easy to apply. The breathable property is essential because it allows moisture to escape from the slab. Acrylic sealers can stand UV rays (from the sun) and resist yellowing. Solvent-based acrylics are better for outdoors than the water-based acrylics. Solvent-based penetrate better than water-based, and they are unlikely to turn milky. Epoxy and polyurethane sealers are often limited to indoor applications.
You should consider the following.
- The conditions under which the sealer will be exposed.
- The duration for drying.
- The ease of applying the sealer.
- The coverage rate.
- The desired type of finish and final appearance.
- If the breather is breathable.
- The warranty and expected lifetime of the sealer.
You can apply a concrete paver sealer using a metal sprayer, brush, or roller. Garden sprayers will also do because the sealer is too thick.
When stamped concrete turns dull
Most people prefer acrylic sealers for decorating outdoor concrete because they are resistant to UV and form a glossy (wet look) appearance. Acrylic sealers boast excellent water-repelling properties, they are readily available at the local hardware outlets, and they are easy to apply.
Despite the benefits of acrylics, sealers have several disadvantages. The sealers are soft, prone to hot-tire pickup, and have a short lifetime. Acrylic sealers tend to wear out quickly and unevenly, depending on surface traffic and the climate. Leaf stains, oil slicks, tannin stains, road salts, and exposure to freeze and thaw conditions will gradually damage the color and appearance of the stamped concrete surface.
Lack of or poor maintenance will degrade the appeal of the surface, causing it to become dull and develop spots.
To maintain the luster, appeal, and protect the surface, you will need to apply a sealant twice a year.
How seal stamped concrete
The first step is surface preparation, where you wash the stamped concrete. A concrete cleaner coupled with pressure or a stiff brush will suffice the task. You want to remove dirt, grime, mold, and mildew growths as well as other stains. A mild solution of bleach will help eradicate severe mold or mildew. Adhere to the guide on the concrete cleaner and rinse thoroughly.
Ensure there is no moisture in the low areas of the stamp pattern where water can accumulate. If you replace concrete, allow enough time for the new concrete to cure fully before applying the seal.
The product you are applying will determine the type of tool you will use to apply the sealer. You can use a paint roller to apply either a water-based or solvent-based sealer. A roller with a thick nap will work the sealer into textured surfaces and depressions in the stamp pattern. A great strategy that attains the best results entails combining spraying and back rolling. The method helps distribute the sealer uniformly
and avoids settling of the sealer in low spots.
You can use low-pressure high-volume sprayers to apply either solvent-based or water-based sealers. The LVPHV sprayers give you better control of the application rate so you can seal large areas within a short period.
After the surface is ready and dry (and you have a method of applying), then it is time to do the work. Apply the sealer evenly on the surface of the stamped concrete. Avoid “ponding” and “puddling” of the sealer by back brushing areas that start to puddle or pond. A second coat is required depending on the product and the desired finish. For a glossy wet look, several layers can provide a high degree of luster. However, ensure you stick to the directions on the product’s label and allow enough drying time between coats. Once you seal the entire surface, stay off the sealed area for the amount of time recommended by the product manufacturer.
Regular maintenance will retain the aesthetics and improve the value of your home. The best way to save your investment is to protect the concrete stamps from stains, mold or mildew, and other contaminants.