A sealer can protect your new concrete against the elements, water, grease and oil stains, deicing salts, and abrasion. It keeps your concrete looking beautiful and makes it easier to clean as well. The concrete, however, needs to be fully cured before you put on a sealer.
Almost all sealers require the new concrete to be fully cured before sealing, and this can take up to 28 days. Cure & Seal, on the other hand, is a sealer intended for concrete that has been in place within 2-28 days.
Sealing your concrete is essential. It is entirely up to you whether you use Cure and Seal in the first two to 28 days, or put the sealer after 28 days. A concrete sealant will protect your concrete from water absorption and surface abrasion as well as other damages.
Table of Contents
- How Soon Can You Apply Sealer to New Concrete?
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Soon Can You Apply Sealer to New Concrete?
Even though it may seem tempting to seal concrete right after it is poured or placed, this isn't recommended. Concrete has excess moisture that has to be evaporated during curing. Concrete needs about 28 days to a month to cure completely before it can be sealed.
Any sooner than that and a barrier would be created that prevents moisture from evaporating. In consequence, newly poured or placed concrete would be less strong. Additionally, the concrete would be more likely to break and crack. Moreover, the concrete would not be able to settle properly, causing uneven surfaces.
Does New Concrete Need Sealing?
To answer this question, yes! Sealing concrete plays an important role in concrete maintenance. As with car wax, people often ignore concrete sealing only to regret it later on. Concrete looks good when freshly poured, but as soon as it is exposed to the weather and used, it can lose its sheen and become discolored and stained.
Concrete sealers are essential for protection against elements, stains, oil, dirt, and more. Whenever you have newly installed concrete, regardless of the type, make sure you seal it before it gets unsightly stains or marks that can become permanent. With a good sealer, concrete of any kind will remain stunning and durable for many years to come. Despite years of exposure to traffic and the environment, concrete can be maintained with good sealing.
What Is the Best Concrete Sealer for New Concrete?
Sealing concrete surfaces will prevent unsightly stains and scuffs. In addition to keeping moisture and chemicals out, sealing also keeps your investment safe in the long run. Protection can make your concrete last longer and perform better, regardless of whether it's indoors or outdoors. So what is the best sealer for new concrete?
Concrete sealers that are designed to work where you need them and create the finish you want are the best. Depending on your needs, you can use either a penetrating sealer to provide virtually invisible protection and to keep the original concrete's texture or a film-forming sealer that gives a smooth and durable finish.
Here is a list of the different types of concrete sealers, where to apply them, and how long it takes them to fully cure.
Permeation sealants protect against moisture and chemicals. This type of sealant provides an invisible barrier without altering the appearance of the surface. A penetration sealer is breathable and allows moisture to escape. A penetrating sealer provides excellent resistance to extreme weather conditions and is ideal for driveways, sidewalks, patios, and other outdoor areas. There is a quick cure time of fewer than 24 hours, and this sealer minimizes weather damage without changing the look or making the surface slippery. Penetrating sealers are easy to apply using gardening sprayers, rollers, or high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) sprayers.
An epoxy concrete sealer is a type of coating that gives concrete a thick protective surface to prevent abrasion and wear. Typically, this type of sealer lends a glossy finish, is highly water-resistant, and comes in clear or colored versions. While it is harder than acrylic, it prevents trapped moisture from escaping from the concrete slab. Concrete countertops and floors in high-traffic areas, such as garages and basements, are often sealed using this durable sealant. Applying epoxy immediately after mixing is crucial since it can harden. Epoxy cures in 72 hours on average.
Acrylic sealers can either be solvent-based or water-based formulas. In cases where simplicity and affordability are important, this type of sealer is an excellent choice. Acrylic also provides good moisture and chloride resistance. Acrylic is available in a variety of sheen levels and can also be applied to colored concrete, stamped concrete, and exposed aggregate concrete. For projects that need to be completed quickly, acrylic sealers are the best choice because they cure within 36 to 48 hours. In the interior, they enhance the color of floors and protect against moisture damage. Outside, they prevent salt damage due to moisture. When used outdoors, it resists ultraviolet (UV) radiation and doesn't yellow. Because acrylic is thinner, it wears out faster, so it must be reapplied more frequently.
Sealants containing polyurethane produce a thick, protective film two times thicker than acrylic and half as thick as epoxy. A polyurethane-coated sealer also provides excellent chemical and abrasion resistance and is available in both water-based and solvent-based formulations. This transparent, long-lasting, and non-yellowing finish can be used on interiors and exteriors. The polyurethane sealer is used on floors in high traffic areas, on concrete countertops, and to enhance and protect colored, stamped, or exposed aggregate concrete. A polyurethane coating dries in 24 to 48 hours. It takes about 30 days to fully cure.
How to Apply Concrete Sealer to New Concrete
Concrete performs quite well if it is never sealed, but using a good quality sealer will provide it with a longer life span and make the concrete look good long-term. If you have an etched or stained concrete driveway or patio, using a concrete sealer is important. Sealing should also be considered if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions. Sealers must be applied properly for them to work.
Steps for Applying Sealer to New Concrete
- Concrete must be cleaned of any oil, grease, dirt, stains, and dust.
- Use an etching solution to disperse the concrete.
- Apply the sealer according to its type.
- Let the first sealer layer dry.
- Continue by applying a second coat.
- Allow the sealer to fully dry before stepping on or touching the concrete.
How to Apply Penetrating Sealer
A penetrating sealer can be sprayed on using a pump sprayer or rolled on using a paint tray. This sealer should be applied thinly and uniformly. You should roll out any puddles that are present. Two coats of penetrating concrete sealers are generally required. The two coats are applied consecutively with no time in between.
How to Apply Epoxy Sealer
Epoxies are typically mixed with two components before application. Immediately after mixing the epoxy, you need to apply the material before it sets. Due to their heavy solid content and viscosity, notched squeegees and lint-free rollers are recommended application methods.
How to Apply Acrylic Sealer
The best way to apply acrylic concrete sealers is with a roller. The concrete sealer should be thoroughly mixed before being poured into a paint tray. Take the roller and dip it into the tray of paint. Roll it out onto the concrete. Apply thin coats of acrylic sealer carefully, making sure not to overdo it.
How to Apply Polyurethane Sealer
Never shake, but instead gently stir a can of polyurethane. Make sure the area is well ventilated before applying the finish. The fumes released by both water- and oil-based products are stronger as they dry, so good ventilation is necessary. You can use a standard brush, wipe-on brush, or spray to apply this sealer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does New Concrete Need to Be Etched Before Sealing?
Concrete surfaces that are too smooth will not allow anything to stick to them. As the sealant is not bonded to the floor, it won't be long before it lifts and peels once the floor becomes wet. This is true for paint as well. A perfectly smooth concrete surface doesn't allow anything to adhere to it. This is why acid etching is used for roughening surfaces.
Sealers also need to cure, just like concrete. During the curing process, fluctuating temperatures can cause sealers to peel. It is possible for a sealer to harden improperly due to excessive humidity as well.
Finally, a surface that wasn't prepared properly makes sealants peel. It is imperative to thoroughly clean the concrete. The sealer will not adhere to concrete if there is grease, oil, or dirt present. It is crucial to let the concrete dry properly once it has been cleaned. Whenever concrete is is damp or dirty, seal resin won’t be able to stick to it.
How Do I Seal a New Concrete Basement Floor?
Concrete basement floors are likely to absorb moisture. In addition to causing mold and bacteria, moisture also damages stored goods. Sealing basement floors is one of the best ways to prevent this seepage of water.
Concrete floors in your basement can be damaged by harsh chemicals. Making your own cleaners is an inexpensive and effective option. Concrete floors can become dirty and dusty when dirt and dust collect on the surface. A basic mixture of two parts warm water and one part dishwashing liquid can be used to remove simple stains. Cleanse the floor with this gentle cleanser and rinse thoroughly. If the stain is more difficult, baking soda will work well on concrete and will remove any lingering odors. Concrete flooring should never be treated with vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic products. Acid can eat away at sealants and porous surfaces.
You can choose from many types of sealant, or you can choose to paint your basement floor to add some color. Use the long-handled roller to apply a sealant to the floor once it is completely dry following cleaning and after fixing any damage. The sealant should be applied starting from the back and moving towards the entrance. Spread the sealant thinly and evenly. Make sure your brush has a substantial amount of sealant so you won't have thin layers that will peel or chip. A minimum of 24 hours should be allowed for the sealer to fully cure.
How Do I Seal New Concrete Basement Walls?
Sealing and waterproofing basement walls are highly recommended when building a home or remodeling one. As the house settles, cracks may appear in the basement walls. In addition to cracks, moisture can also seep through your basement walls. Sealing and waterproofing your basement walls can help you prevent costly home repairs in the future.
Finding Problems and Filling in Cracks
Before sealing your basement walls, check for moisture or cracks. In the next step, cracks and gaps in the basement wall must be filled to seal and waterproof it. Water can still seep back into your basement if the cracks are not properly sealed.
Applying Concrete Sealer
After you have sealed any cracks or gaps in the basement walls, you need to select a sealant that will effectively waterproof your basement walls. If your wall is bare or the outermost layer is cement, you have two options - cement sealers and silicate-based sealers. In contrast, if you have painted your basement walls, you cannot use cement- or silicate-based sealers, since they do not adhere well to painted surfaces. You can use waterproof paint as a last resort. A roller or a brush can be used to apply the sealer. The second coat can be applied after the first coat has dried completely. You should use enough product to create a barrier that cannot be easily penetrated by water. Wait for at least 24 hours for the sealer to fully cure.
How to Remove New Concrete Sealer?
Concrete sealers are tedious to remove, whether they are old, worn, or new and you just don't like the way they look. Concrete sealer can be removed mechanically or chemically.
Mechanically, you remove the sealer by sanding, grinding, or blasting it with some kind of tool. Noise and concrete damage can result from this method. In the process of removing a sealer mechanically, significant scratches or damage may also be sustained. Because of this, the most common way to remove a concrete sealer is with a chemical stripper.
Alternatively, concrete sealers can be removed chemically. There are several products available for you to choose from. Concrete sealers can be removed using a caustic, solvent-based, or biochemical chemical stripper. Concrete distributors, big-box retailers, hardware stores, and paint specialty stores sell all three products. Remember that no matter what type of stripper you choose, they all contain harsh chemicals, and you need to read and follow all safety guidelines.