While the importance of sealing concrete is often imparted by contractors to customers, it’s up to you to do the rest when it comes to maintenance. That’s why many are often left in the dark when it comes to certain aspects, such as how it takes until concrete sealers wear off after application.
Concrete sealers wear off eventually. Penetrating sealers last the longest: up to 10 years, while epoxy and urethane lasts from 5 to 10 years. Acrylic sealers have the shortest lifespan of 1-5 years. However, there are methods you can employ to check if the sealer has already worn off.
There are many factors that affect the longevity of concrete sealer. Read on to learn about it and more.
Table of Contents
- How Long Does Sealer Last on Concrete?
- Factors That Affect Sealer Longevity
- What Is the Longest Lasting Concrete Sealer?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Sealer Last on Concrete?
Knowing how long it takes until concrete sealers wear off is important, so that you know when it’s time to reapply. It also helps to know which ones last the longest, so that you can save time and money. However, the type of sealer you use will have the biggest influence in how long it lasts.
Here’s a rundown on the different types of concrete sealers and their longevity:
Type of Concrete Sealant
Longevity After Application
Up to 4 years
Up to 2 years
Up to 2 years
Silicone / silicate / silane
Low solids: Up to 1 year, high solids: up to 10 years
Penetrating sealers are formulated out of resins such as silanes, siloxanes, silicate, and silicone. Just as its name implies, they work by penetrating the concrete and leave a chemical barrier that prevents oil, water, and other contaminants from getting into the surface of the concrete. These sealers are recommended to protect from stains, particularly in concrete driveways, garages, and foundations.
Penetrating concrete sealers can last 5 to 10 years, and they are the longest lasting type of concrete sealer. Its longevity depends on how much ultraviolet rays it’s exposed to, vehicle traffic, and exposure to deicing salt.
Acrylic sealers are recommended for more porous concrete. Its particles are not large, which is why they won’t penetrate into the surface. They stay on the surface and leave a raincoat-like barrier that protects the concrete.
Acrylic sealers last 1-4 years, though if it’s formulated with US-made non-recycled resins, it will last longer compared to imported recycled resins. This is because imported recycled resins use chemicals that are derived from the recycling process that causes sealers to break down easily.
In addition, water based acrylics are more difficult to maintain and repair because screen sanding is usually required. On the other hand, solvent based acrylics are easier to repair using Xylene, and recoating is as easy as applying a fresh coat to concrete that has been cleaned and dried. But both water and solvent based sealers can last up to three years.
Decorative concrete sealers are usually made of lacquer or acrylic bases, and can be either water based or solvent based. They are meant to improve aesthetic by adding shine, tint, color enhancement, or gloss finishes. Solvent-based acrylic tinted sealers are a popular choice because of their ability to enhance the color significantly while leaving a high-gloss look.
Decorative concrete sealers including tinted sealers have the shortest longevity among all kinds of concrete sealers, decorative sealers last 6 months up to 3 years depending on the environment and how well the concrete is cared for. They don’t last long as long as other sealers because they only sit on the concrete surface and do not penetrate. For that reason, they are extremely prone to wear and tear, as well as degradation due to ultraviolet rays.
Epoxy or Urethane Sealers
Epoxy and urethane sealers are chemically different from one another, though they are often used together in concrete floor sealers. They are widely used for concrete that already has problems with moisture, as well as in retail facilities that are exposed to high levels of foot traffic, and industrial facilities such as warehouses and factories.
Epoxy and urethane sealers last from 5 to 10 years, sometimes even longer, before they wear off.
Stamped Concrete Sealer
Solvent or water-based acrylic sealers are the primary choices for sealing stamped concrete. For outdoor use, solvent-based acrylics are recommended compared to water-based counterparts since they penetrate more efficiently and have less chances of turning milky or white. Stamped concrete sealers can last up to three years after application.
Factors That Affect Sealer Longevity
Aside from the type of sealer used, these are the other factors that affect longevity:
There is a multitude of different sealer types in the market, and quality is a significant factor that will determine how long it will last. Check for percent solids, which refer to how much solid mass is contained in the sealer. If it contains 2-8% solids, it can last from 6 months up to 2 years, while 20-40% solids, it can last up to 10 years.
Method of application
Applying a penetrating sealer should utilize a sprayer, while succeeding coats should be applied using a roller. If you use a roller in applying penetrating sealers, you risk uneven application, or applying too much or too little. On the other hand, if you apply coating with a sprayer, you might not apply enough.
The amount of coats you apply is an important factor. Most sealers should be applied using two coats, unless the manufacturer specifically says that you should apply just one. First coats are usually absorbed by the surface which doesn’t leave any protection, while the second coat is integral for bonding with the first coat, giving you maximum protection.
If the concrete already has issues such as deterioration, damage from water or moisture, or has an old sealer applied onto it, these will affect the longevity of the sealer you will apply.
The environment surrounding the concrete is another important factor especially if it’s exterior concrete. Applying sealer in the morning means that dew may be on the concrete; in the middle of the day, concrete can be hot and this will lead to problems when curing it. It’s always ideal to apply concrete sealers outside when it’s late in the afternoon, or the early evening.
If you want to improve the chances of your concrete sealer lasting a long time, surface preparation is crucial. Longevity is linked to sealant adhesion, which can be done efficiently by applying the sealer on a clean, dry surface. Surface preparation is also beneficial because it saves you time, money, and reduces the possibility of coating failure.
Always read the label’s directions for instructions including suggestions on the ideal temperatures for applying sealer.
What Is the Longest Lasting Concrete Sealer?
Here are some examples of long-lasting concrete sealers, which are available on Amazon:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my concrete sealer has worn off?
If you aren’t sure if your concrete sealer has worn off, you can check by pouring some water on the surface and observing if it causes the concrete to darken. Should any darkening occur, this means water was absorbed and it’s time to reapply sealer.
Another way of checking is by pouring a small amount of vinegar on the concrete surface. Vinegar reacts with unsealed concrete, resulting in fizzing or bubbling. This means the concrete sealer has worn off, but without any fizzing or bubbling, your concrete is still good to go.