Applying Colored Concrete Sealer: Tips & Tricks
Concrete sealers are designed to protect concrete surfaces from staining, corrosion, and other damage. Aesthetic tinted/colored sealers add even more value by limiting penetration from dirt, grease, salts, grime, rust, oil, and other contaminants, while also enhancing the appearance of the concrete itself.
Although a colored concrete sealer can offer you many benefits, you’ll only see these benefits if you apply the sealer correctly and follow these best tips and practices.
Tip #1: Never Seal Fresh Concrete
You should never apply a transparent or colored concrete sealer to freshly poured concrete. It’s important to wait until the concrete has fully cured according to the directions listed on the sealer you are working with. Most sealer manufacturers will recommend 30 days as the official curing time. Once those 30 days have passed, it’s usually fine to seal the slab.
Professional Advice: Be sure your concrete slab is clean and dry before you seal it. Additionally, sealing is usually more successful when temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. And, although it might be challenging, it’s important to wait until there’s no chance of rain forecasted for at least a week. Both temperature and humidity can affect the length of time it takes for a sealer to dry.
Tip #2: Calculate How Many Coats of Sealer You Need
Overspending or underspending can delay your projects. So, it’s important to accurately calculate how much tinted concrete sealer you’ll need beforehand. To do this, you’ll need to know how many square feet you’re treating, how many coats you want to apply, and how many square feet of coverage a gallon of sealer will cover.
For example, let’s say you have a sidewalk that covers a total of 1,500 square feet, all sections combined. And, let’s further assume that the safety data sheet of the colored concrete sealer you choose states that one gallon will cover 200 square feet. In this situation, you’ll need to divide the total square footage (1,500) by area covered per gallon (200). This tells you that you’ll need 7.5 gallons of sealer per coat. For reference, two coats are typically recommended, so you would want to buy 15 gallons of sealer in total.
Professional Advice: Consider potential savings when purchasing five-gallon containers relative to one-gallon containers.
Tip #3: Be Sure to Purchase the Right Type of Sealer
There are four basic types of concrete sealer to consider, including acrylic, epoxy, polyaspartic, and polyurethane. And, acrylic sealers can be either water-based or solvent-based. The type that will work best for you will depend on:
- Personal aesthetic preferences
- If you’ll be working inside or outdoors
- The amount of use/traffic the area will receive
Most professionals agree that solvent-based acrylic sealers are the best concrete sealers for outdoor applications (driveways, pool decks, patios, concrete steps, etc.). Solvent-based acrylic sealers have the ability to retain the color of the concrete even through years of brutal assaults from rain, snow, wind, and even incessant, direct exposure to sunlight.
Professional Advice: If you’re still not sure what type of sealer you need, consult with an expert. They will be able to tell you what type of sealer is best for you based on your project and environmental conditions.
Tip #4: Choose the Best Application Method
Tinted concrete sealers can be applied with sprayers, rollers, and brushes, just like other types of topical concrete coatings. We recommend that you use a sprayer to apply a thorough coating, and then backroll it to achieve a uniform finish. Take your time and deliver a nice thick coat that doesn’t run and drip. Then, allow that first coat to dry completely before applying the follow-up coat. Sealer drying times will vary based on the product you’ve purchased and your environment. Some can take just a few hours to fully dry while others may take up to 48 hours.
Professional Advice: It’s always helpful to shine a clear light on your work in between coats of sealer. LED lights are very affordable and available everywhere today. Pick one up and use it to identify imperfections and ensure professional-grade results.
Tip #5: Avoid OverSpraying or Under-Spraying Concrete Sealer
Lastly, be careful to avoid both overspraying and under-spraying sealer. Spraying on too much will likely cause pooling, running, and discoloration, while applying too little of the colored concrete sealer will likely lead to a spotted finish and decreased product longevity. Always aim to get thorough coverage without pooling or runs.
Professional Advice: After you apply a coat, give it a minute or two and then check to see if it has developed runs. If so, dab and smooth them out gently with your roller or brush.
Learn More From Stamped Concrete Today!
Founded in 2009, Stamped Concrete Supplies is a division of Metropolitan Materials, LLC, a leading American provider of concrete sealers and decorative concrete supplies. You can view our complete line of sealers here. If you need help selecting the right sealer, or just have general application questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our pros today.