Concrete sealing seems to be one of those topics that everyone has an opinion on, but few know much about. It’s as if sealing concrete were some black magic that could only be performed by those with the right skills and tools, but the truth is that you can perform this DIY project with just a little guidance and some concrete sealer supplies from your local hardware store.
To give your investment the care it deserves, we’ve compiled this easy-to-follow guide of tips and best practices to ensure your concrete gets the best treatment possible and lasts longer!
Clean the Concrete Surface
Before sealing a concrete floor, make sure to clean it thoroughly. Scrub any dirt or debris off using a solution of bleach and water to prevent your sealer from being scratched by small particles of dirt when you apply it.
Using a pressure washer, start by deep cleaning your concrete to remove oil and dirt from cracks and crevices that a regular broom just can’t reach.
- Mop and Dry
Mop and dry to ensure that you have a dry surface to work with. It’s best to wait at least one day after cleaning before attempting to seal.
Use a wood chisel to fill cracks in your concrete so that epoxy or urethane sealant will adhere better and last longer.
Remove the Old Sealer
- Test for Sealer
Before you begin any concrete sealing project, you need to make sure that the sealer isn’t already applied. If your steps look old and dirty, they have likely been sealed previously.
- Strip the Existing Sealer
You want to check that you remove any previous sealer from your concrete. Doing this will ensure that the sealer adheres correctly and that you will not have a sticky situation in the future.
- Scrape the Surface
If there’s an old sealer that you want to remove, you’ll need to scrape it off. If not, skip ahead.
- Clean and Dry
To properly apply a new concrete sealer, it’s vital that you clean and dry your concrete surface.
Apply the Sealant
- Apply the First Coat
Apply sealant over cracks, holes, chips, etc., where water can seep into your concrete slab. The main goal of applying sealant is to prevent moisture from entering your concrete slab.
- Apply the Second Coat
Once you’ve applied your first coat of sealant, it’s time to use a second coat to protect your concrete from UV damage and make future cleaning easier.
- Allow for Drying
Once you’ve brushed a layer of sealant onto your concrete, allow it to dry. Drying time varies depending on whether you’re using a water-based or solvent-based adhesive and how hot it is outside, but generally, you’ll want to give it at least 12 hours before walking on it. When choosing a sealant, make sure to read the application instructions carefully. In most cases, you’ll be instructed not to walk on freshly sealed floors for at least 24 hours. Likewise, if your project includes steps or other raised surfaces that people will be walking over frequently, like a front porch or entryway, you may want to wait an extra day or two before letting foot traffic through.