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. Therefore, the time it takes for a sealer to fully dry will depend on the type of sealer you use.
How long concrete sealer takes to dry depends on both the environment and the type of sealer applied. Many sealers look dry quickly but aren't. Siliconate, Silane-Siloxane, Epoxy Coatings and Acrylic sealers need 36-48 hours to dry. While Silicate may only take 1-2 hours depending on weather.
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Types of Concrete Sealers and Their Drying Times
Here is a list of different types of concrete sealers and how long will it take for each one to dry:
Silicate sealers are used to prevent dust from penetrating the surface. It also increases the strength of the concrete surface. The sealer does not change the look or color of the concrete surface because it works below the surface – this is why it seems like the sealer has dried within the first 30 minutes, but in reality, it is still doing its work below the surface. It can take up to 90 days for the entire sealer to react and do its job but you can easily walk on top of the sealer within a few hours.
Siliconate Water Repellent Sealers
Siliconate sealers are used for damage repair and to prevent deterioration of the concrete. It also prevents staining caused by water absorption from snowing and subsequently, when the snow melts. This type of sealer can reduce the formation of mold and mildew.
Siliconate water repellent sealers strengthen the concrete from within without changing its look or color. This is why it appears to look dry from the surface within the first 30 minutes but in reality, it continues to do its work underneath for at least 24 hours. Although you can walk on the concrete hours after it has been sealed with siliconate, it is advised that it remains dry for at least 36 hours to allow the sealer to set completely.
Silane-siloxane sealers, like the previous type of sealer 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 at least 72 hours.
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. Solvent based Silane-Siloxane products are also known to quicker to dry than the water based formulas.
Epoxy coatings are perfect for protecting indoor concrete surfaces. As to how long the coating will take to dry, it depends on the kind of epoxy coating being 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 to 12 hours to dry off from the surface but it will continue to harden and solidify for at least 48 hours. It is advised though that you should not walk, drive on, or wet the epoxy coating for 36 to 48 hours, at least.
Acrylic sealers can be used for both interior and exterior concrete. It provides the surface with a glossy, wet, and polished finish. These decorative concrete sealers can take anywhere between 4 and 12 hours to dry on the surface. You can walk on the surface, depending on the kind of sealer you have used, after a few hours but it will keep hardening for at least 48 hours after. The coating should not be driven on or get wet for at least 36 to 48 hours after it has been applied.
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 use. Ideally, you should speak to the manufacturer for the specific details of your chosen product. Generally, it takes about 10 to 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, or wetting the surface for at least 36 to 48 hours after.
Other Factors That Affect Concrete Sealer Dry Time
Most sealers may dry off on the surface, allowing you to tread lightly on it, but they will take at least 3 days for 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:
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.
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.
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 air pressure, temperature, and other factors. If the dew point is achieved, there is a greater chance that the sealer will take longer to dry.
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 many more.
As you know, laying concrete may not be the cheapest thing to do, especially if it is over a large surface area. Applying a good concrete sealer will take good care of your concrete and protect it from any kind of damage and discoloration.