How Long Does Concrete Sealer Take to Dry?

  • June 8, 2019
  • / By Dale Keese
Backyard

How long a concrete sealer takes to dry depends on several different factors. One of the most important factors is the type of sealer you use. Every type of sealer has a different way of working and reacting. They, therefore, take their own time to dry. The following are how much time different types of concrete sealers take to dry.

Backyard

Types of Concrete Sealers

The type of concrete sealer you use will determine how long it takes for it to dry.

Silicate Sealers

Silicate sealers are used for preventing dust from penetrating the surface. It increases the strength of the concrete surface. The sealer does not change the look or color of the concrete surface but tends to work below the surface and this is why it will seem like the sealer has dried from the surface within the first 30 minutes, but will continue to do its work below the surface. It can take up to 90 days for the entire sealer to react and do its job beneath the surface. But you can easily walk on top of the sealer within a few hours.

Bike on Concrete

Siliconate Water Repellent Sealers

Siliconate sealers are used for damage repair and to prevent deterioration of the concrete. It prevents staining caused by water absorption from snowing and subsequently when the snow melts. These sealers can reduce the formation of mold and mildew.

It strengthens the concrete from within without changing the look or color of it. This is why it appears to have dried from the surface within the first 30 minutes but continues to do its work underneath for at least 24 hours. While you can walk on the concrete soon after it has been sealed with siliconate, ensure it remains dry for at least 36 hours to allow the sealer to set completely.

Silane-Siloxane Sealers

Silane-siloxane sealers, like the previous type mentioned, are also used for preventing discoloration from water absorption. Again, the sealer does its job under the surface so you can see it drying up from the surface but underneath it may still be reacting. Within the first 30 minutes the sealer will dry off from the surface, but below the surface, it may continue to work for 72 hours, at least. You can walk on the surface within a few hours but ensure that the concrete remains dry for at least 36 hours so the sealer has ample time to react.

Concrete Building

Epoxy Coatings

Epoxy coatings are perfect to protect indoor concrete surfaces. How long the coating will take to dry depends on the kind that is used. Your best bet would be to speak to the manufacturer and find out the details specific to the product you are using. Typically, it takes about 10-12 hours to dry off from the surface but it will continue to harden and solidify for at least 48 hours. But under no circumstances should you walk, drive on or wet the epoxy coating for 36-48 hours, at least.

Acrylic Sealers

Acrylic sealers can be used for both interior and exterior concrete. It provides the surface with a glossy, wet and polished finish. These sealers can take anywhere between four to twelve hours to dry on the surface. You can walk on the surface, depending on the kind of sealer you have used, but it will keep hardening for at least 48 hours after. The coating should not be driven on or wet for at least 36-48 hours after it has been applied.

Working on Concrete

Urethane Coatings

Urethane coatings are used to protect your interior concrete surfaces from being damaged by oil, gas, and chemicals. How long it may take to dry depends on the type urethane coating you used. Ideally, you should speak to the manufacturer to ascertain how long the specific product you used will take to dry up. Generally, it takes about 10-12 hours to dry before you can walk on it, but the coating will continue to harden for at least 48 hours after. You should prevent walking, driving on or wetting the surface for at least 36-48 hours after.

Other Factors That Affect Drying

There are several different factors that may affect how long the sealer takes to dry completely. Most sealers may dry off on the surface, allowing you to tread lightly on it, but they will take at least three days since the first coating to react completely and harden well. The following are some common factors that may affect the time it takes for the sealer to dry.

Temperature

The temperature in the region you live in makes a huge difference. If it is warmer, the sealer is likely to dry up faster, as the temperature is conducive to that. But you should also be careful about what time of day you are applying the sealer. At noon, for example, the sun may be directly overhead and it may be too hot to apply the sealer.

Temperature

Humidity

Humidity, of course, plays a major role in how long the sealer will take to dry. Be sure to take into account the weather report for a few days before and after you intend to apply the sealer. If it is going to rain any time soon, you should abort the plan to apply the sealer. The amount of moisture in the air is bound to affect how long the concrete takes to dry.

Dew Point

The dew point is the temperature at which water droplets in the air can begin to condense and form dew on surfaces. The dew point is affected by the air pressure, temperature and a host of other factors. If the dew point is achieved, there’s a greater chance the sealer will take longer to dry.

Tree-lined Walkway

Final Thoughts

Applying sealer to the concrete surfaces in your house is of utmost importance. Without a good sealer, you are bound to leave your concrete surface vulnerable to damage by weather, accidents, chemicals and more.

As you know, laying concrete may not be the cheapest thing to do, especially if it is over a large surface area. So be sure to take good care of it and protect it from any kind of damage and discoloration.