Protecting Your Stamped Concrete
Concrete sealers for stamped concrete are generally acrylic sealers that leave a glossy shine, giving the concrete a darker appearance or “wet look”. These sealers leave a film on the surface of the concrete that protects the concrete from water, salt, ice melting agents, spills of mild chemicals and vehicular traffic.
Acrylic sealers that are used to maintain the shine of stamped concrete should be applied to the concrete surface once every two years. It is important to note that although stamped concrete loses its surface gloss, the acrylic sealer is likely still in the pores of the concrete surface, unseen but still capable of sealing and protecting. Although the intention of a yearly re-seal is to maintain a well-sealed surface, applying another coat of sealer year after year can lead to heavy build up of product, which in turn can cause bubbling, peeling, and moisture entrapment under the sealer which can lead to blushing or discoloration.
Acrylic sealers should be applied to concrete when the air and concrete temperature are at least 7 degrees celcius and rising but not higher than 23 degrees celcius. This is critical for proper film formation or reaction with the concrete. Application when the temperature is outside this range can cause the sealer to bubble, turn white and/or dry chalky instead of as a clear, strong film. It is best to seal the stamped concrete in the morning before the concrete has the ability to absorb the heat of the afternoon sun. If power washing the concrete prior to application of the sealer, it is best to wait two days as sealing wet concrete or concrete with a high moisture content can cause a sealer to blush or turn white.
Most products can be applied with a sprayer or paint roller. When using a roller, choose a 10mm nap and apply two thin coats of sealer to the concrete surface. Although this will take more time, this will ensure the sealer is not being applied to thick. The first coat will soak in to the pores of the concrete and the second coat can be applied two to twenty four hours later providing a glossy protective finish for your stamped concrete project. When applying the acrylic concrete sealer, ensure that the coverage guidelines of the product are being strictly adhered to. Measure your project and aim for around 300 ft2 per US gallon or 90m2 per 3.79 liters.