If you have beautiful decorative concrete or stone work you’re no doubt familiar with the need to reseal it regularly.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competing information out there about just when it’s a good idea to reseal.
Every year? Every five years?
We wanted to dispel all the confusion with this easy to follow guide on just when you need to reseal your concrete.
Do You Need to Reseal?
For most people, the question of resealing or not sealing has to do entirely with appearance. Most modern concrete sealers will last for up to several years as a protective coating. What won’t last is the beautiful glossy finish and color effects.
If you’re okay with having your concrete look a little drab you can probably put off resealing a lot longer than you think. With decorative concrete though, the look is 80% of the reason you got it. Regularly resealing it keeps your investment looking its best.
Regular Maintenance Timeline
Like anything you need to perform regular maintenance and repair on your concrete sealer. Most companies will recommend you have your decorative concrete or stamped pavement resealed every two years.
There’s not much evidence doing it before then provides any additional benefits. If you have an asphalt driveway you’ve probably heard every three years. This is because asphalt has much lower appearance characteristics involved.
If you start to notice signs of damage or discoloration you may need to call in a resealer sooner.
Signs of Damage or Discoloration
Concrete is an extremely durable material but it is very porous. This means that anything like motor oil, pet waste, litter or leaves will quickly stain it. It’s also vulnerable to surface damage from skids, scratches, or heavy impacts.
Sealing your concrete hardens the surface with a polymer coating, usually an acrylic. It has the added benefit of giving decorative concrete a glossy appearance or changing its color. Keep on the lookout for common signs of sealer damage, such as:
- Signs of Delamination
If you notice any of these on your stamped pavement it’s time to call your concrete guy.
Don’t Reseal Other Problems
In many cases homeowners assume any concrete problem has to do with the seal. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many common concrete problems have nothing to do with the sealer.
Concrete has a lifespan just like any other product. If your stamped pavement is getting older there’s only so much concrete sealer can do to fix the problem.
It’s a good idea to have your concrete thoroughly cleaned and repaired every few reseals. This includes washing it, patching chips or other signs of damage, and even stripping the original sealer coat.
To Strip or Not To Strip
Most reseal jobs apply a new coat of sealer onto the existing one. This works just fine on properly applied sealer but can just be a band aid fix for many problems.
If your concrete is showing major signs of discoloration it may mean your original seal is breaking down. In many cases it may not have been properly applied to begin with.
This leads to problems like delamination or disbonding. It happens when decorative sealer never properly forms a bond with the concrete. Delamination shows up as white patches or hazy spots on your concrete.
Putting new sealer on delaminated sealer does nothing to fix the problem. To get back to the top quality you need to fully strip off the existing sealer, clean the concrete layer below, then reseal it.
Peparation for Resealing
If you don’t take the time to properly prepare your concrete for sealing you shouldn’t be surprised when you get less than perfect results. There are a set of steps you should always follow for best sealing results.
You can go with a power washer if you like but for most cases a garden hose and a medium bristle brush will work just fine. Give it a thorough soaking then scrub it with a gentle detergent. Probably the most important point to remember is to let it dry.
Wet concrete doesn’t seal properly.
Make Sure It’s Done Right
Always make sure you choose the best possible sealer for your floor and climate type. Properly sealed stamped pavement looks incredible and lasts for years. Doing it the right way every time gives you the maximum enjoyment of your property.