Over time, you might find that your concrete is slowly breaking down while its surface slowly flakes away. You might also notice persistent stains, especially in the garage where a little oil drip remains forever. This is why sealing your concrete is the perfect option, not only helping to make the concrete stronger but also increasing its resistance to stains.
Polished and decorative concrete floors are becoming increasingly popular. They are appealing, durable and low maintenance. However, part of their simple maintenance comes from having the floors correctly installed and professionally sealed. Concrete sealing can be finished in several ways, and while it is possible to do it yourself the results of a floor sealed by an experienced concrete technician not only gives you a perfect finish but it takes all the guesswork out of the equation.
Let’s take a look at the steps that go into sealing concrete.
Remove everything out of the area
Whether you are sealing the concrete in the garage, on the driveway or indoors, you need to remove everything out of the space and stack it elsewhere. You will need to find a temporary home for the furniture or equipment for up to a week because you don’t want to be moving things around once the sealing gets started.
Sweep and clean the floor
Pick up major dirt and debris before cleaning up any spills or stains. Use a broom or leaf blower to remove any extra dirt.
Use mineral spirits on grease stains and scrub with a brush. Be sure to remove all grease, dirt and cleaning residue with towels or the sealer will not adhere to the concrete properly. Give the floor a final mop and time to dry fully.
Use a concrete cleaner
Spray or pour a concrete cleaner like phosphoric acid masonry cleaner onto the concrete and scrub thoroughly using a broom. Be sure to rinse it off using a hose and wait for it to dry completely before moving on.
Repair any cracks in the concrete
Do you have cracks in the floor that have been bugging you for a while? Now is the time to fill them in. Use something like a caulk to fill in those cracks and run a trowel over the top to smooth them out. But again, wait for it all to dry completely before you move on. It is worthwhile checking the caulk packaging to see how long it takes for the caulk to cure.
Choose your sealer
And now comes the fun part – choosing your sealer. There are three different types of topical sealer: acrylic, epoxy and polyurethane. These are spread, sprayed or rolled onto the concrete’s surface and adhere to the floor creating a protective top layer. We will explore these options.
Acrylic sealers are not expensive and can either be water based (better for indoors) or solvent based (better for outdoors as they are flammable and emit toxic fumes). Water-based acrylic is easy to apply but may change the floor’s colour. Solvent-based acrylic delivers a deeper, more transparent finish but has a strong odour. Overall, acrylic does not protect the concrete as well as other sealers against oil and grease stains and requires two coats for it to take effect.
Epoxy sealers are durable and protect against grease stains. The only issue is that you will need to mix two parts together and get it down on the floor before the epoxy dries. You can obtain epoxy seals in different colours if you are looking at changing the look of your concrete.
Epoxy is the recommended sealer as it is impermeable to liquids, resistant to abrasion, and stands up to heavy foot traffic. It will also last many years before it needs to be reapplied.
Polyurethane sealers can be used for interior and exterior applications and form a highly protective layer over the concrete. The coating is almost twice as thick as that formed by acrylic, is durable and has UV protection. However, polyurethane has a long curing period and is highly sensitive during this time.
Available in matte, semi-gloss and glossy finishes, polyurethane will go over most other sealers.
We also have penetrating sealers for concrete sealing. These sealers enter the pores of the concrete and create a chemical reaction that hardens and strengthens the floor. However, because they are invisible, they will not make the concrete darker or glossy. Sometimes used with topical sealers, penetrating sealers (often silane and siloxane) protect the concrete against liquids and abrasion.
Use a hand brush, paint pad or rolling brush
Use a paintbrush to apply the sealer in nice, even strokes along the edges of your space. Then after pouring the sealer into a painting tray, dip the paint pad or rolling brush into the tray and start sliding the sealer along the edges you have just painted. Apply single, even layers across the floor ensuring the sealer doesn’t puddle anywhere. Be sure to cover the whole floor.
Wait for the sealer to dry
Make sure that you read the instructions on how long you need for the sealer to dry. It may be one day before you can walk on the concrete and up to four days before you can drive on it.
Add a second coat if required
As mentioned earlier, some sealers like acrylics may require a second coat before they are durable. Plus, adding a second coat will give you peace of mind that you have even coverage. But always wait until the first layer is completely dry before applying another.
Why should I choose a professional concrete sealer?
Many homeowners prefer to do their own home repairs because it is less expensive. But if you are not a skilled and trained professional you should opt for the professionals especially when it comes to sealing your concrete.
With so many different products on the market how do you know which will work best? And how do you know if you can get the job done well? Chances are you don’t know. But the professionals will know exactly what products and materials you need and how to use them.
Think about it – a professional concrete sealer does this type of work every day. From fixing cracks to knowing the best sealers for the job, they can do the task quickly and efficiently to make a long-lasting impression on your floor.
Our highly trained technicians at Quickly Please Cleaning can fix damaged concrete without having to replace a whole slab. They will also be able to treat your concrete properly for the best adhesion of the sealer. They have access to the top-of-the-range products which will have your concrete looking great for years to come without cracking or damage from the elements.
Our concrete sealing services Sydney will ensure that your finished product is exactly how you envisioned it. So, if you want that great, durable sealed concrete, contact us and find out how we can help you.