Four Easy Tips for Sealing Decorative Concrete

Sealed and maintained properly,decorative floors look good for years.
Sealed and maintained properly, decorative floors look good for years.

Decorative sealers are designed to provide a wide range of benefits. The top two are always protection and color enhancement. Safety, appearance, and performance (SAP) should be considered when determining what decorative sealer system to use. Safety is always first, followed by the level of gloss, and lastly, how long we want the sealer to last in its particular environment. Notice how price never enters the picture! Be aware that “curing compounds” and “cure and seals” are different than sealers, and often will not provide the same level of protection. With sealers, the adage holds true that “You get what you pay for.”

As an applicator, the sealer system you choose can make or break a decorative project. There are four key factors that should be closely monitored every time sealers are applied.

Trapped moisture under the sealer on stained concrete.
Trapped moisture under the sealer.

1. Moisture. A dry surface is always important — 12 to 24 hour dry time!

Blisters on stained concrete flooring created by sealing a “hot” surface.
Blisters created by sealing a “hot” surface.

2. Surface Temperature. Typically above 50°F and below 90°F is recommended.

Stain residue on concrete creating sealer delaminating issues.
Stain residue creating sealer delaminating issues.

3. Surface Condition. Clean and free of chemical and dirt contamination.

Cracking of sealer film created by over-application.
Cracking of sealer film created by over-application.

4. Applicator. Multiple thin applications are better than one heavy coat.

There are hundreds of sealers to choose from, many having slightly different resins and solvents. Understanding specific product limitations and following the above mentioned guidelines could help eliminate common sealer issues as we enter the busiest time of the year for decorative concrete installation.

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