Concrete is a wonderful material used for all sorts of outdoor applications. Most homeowners have at least one surface made of concrete. Many homeowners enjoy a concrete driveway, patio, and sidewalk or walkway. You might even have a stamped concrete patio that is the envy of the neighborhood and the focal point of your yard. It would be a shame if that stamped concrete patio would start cracking prematurely. Concrete is a tough and durable material, but it does have its faults and weaknesses. Your concrete surface can become an eyesore from stains caused by oil, dirt, and other contaminants. It can also suffer damage from the freeze/thaw cycles many of you encounter in the cold winter months. So it is important that you utilize a concrete sealer to protect your investment.
How Often You Should Apply Sealer
There is a lot of debate when it comes to how often you should apply a sealer to your concrete surfaces. If you were to listen to the companies that sell concrete sealers, they would insist that you apply it every year. But most experts agree that it doesn’t have to be applied annually. So it is safe to say that you should apply concrete sealer every two to four years to be safe.
You should also know that concrete will still perform well even if you don’t have it sealed. But know that having it sealed at regular intervals will extend the life of your concrete project. This is especially important for those more expensive and extensive concrete projects like a stamped concrete patio. There is good news; applying concrete sealer is a relatively easy and straightforward project that won’t take up too much of your time.
Types of Concrete Sealers
There are several types of concrete sealers on the market, and it is all too easy to get confused when researching them. Instead, make things easy on yourself by focusing on the four main types of concrete sealants.
Acrylic Sealers– Acrylic sealers will add a glossy surface to your concrete surface, and they can be used on both indoor and outdoor applications. In addition, some acrylic sealers are UV resistant and will protect your concrete from the sun’s harmful rays. But beware, using an acrylic sealer without a non-yellowing additive could result in damage to the surface.
Epoxy Sealers– Epoxy sealers will also add a glossy look to your concrete surface, which is ideal for indoor applications. Epoxy sealers are prone to the ultraviolet rays and can cause concrete staining.
Polyurethane Sealers– The first thing you will notice about polyurethane sealers is that they are much thicker than acrylic sealers. This type of sealer is ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications and is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.
Penetrating Sealers– Penetrating sealers will be absorbed into the concrete, and it will help prevent moisture from entering the concrete while still allowing moisture to escape from the surface. It is an excellent choice to help protect your concrete projects.
It’s in the Details
There are other considerations to think about when shopping for the right concrete sealer. For example, many sealants come in a variety of gloss levels, which enhance the shine level of your project. Keep in mind that applying a high-gloss sealant to your concrete surface could make it slippery, but you can always add a non-slip additive to counter this effect.
Applying Concrete Sealer
Applying concrete sealer isn’t a difficult task, but you will spend much of your time prepping for it. Before your concrete project can be sealed, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dry. It may be necessary to use soap or a cleaner to ensure the concrete is adequately cleaned. If it is not clean, the sealer won’t stick to the concrete.
Concrete sealer is something you don’t want on your skin or in your eyes, so you need to be careful handling it. It is recommended that you wear gloves and eye protection while sealing your concrete surface. You will also want to avoid wearing shorts, and you should also wear a long-sleeve shirt.
You don’t need much as far as equipment goes; a brush, roller, or sprayer is used for application. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s label to see what they recommend. It is also best to apply two or three thin layers of sealant as opposed to one thick layer in order to prevent puddling. Once your concrete surface is sealed, all you need to do is wash it on a regular basis to keep it clean and looking good.
Now that your driveway or patio is properly sealed, you can enjoy it for many years to come. If you have any questions about concrete sealers or how to apply them, feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to help.