How to Apply Concrete Sealer to Stained Concrete – Step-by-Step Guide 

 March 18, 2023

By  Dale Keese

Staining concrete is an easy and affordable way to personalize your space, however, it’s important to seal the surfaces afterwards to ensure protection and durability. Applying a sealer to your freshly stained concrete is one of the key steps required to keep the colors vibrant and preserve the integrity of the concrete’s surface.

Before applying sealer, make sure the concrete is clean and dry. Once prepped, spread the sealer evenly onto the surface using a brush or roller and allow it to dry.

But what does one use for the sealer, and how does one apply it? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’re going to break down the exact step-by-step process of applying concrete sealer to your freshly stained concrete. Follow along and you’ll have a unique and beautiful space to enjoy in no time.

Preparing the Concrete Surface

The success of the entire sealing process relies heavily on the preparation of the concrete surface. It is essential to ensure that any dirt, dust, oil or other contaminants are removed before applying sealer to create a long-lasting finish. To properly prepare the stained concrete, begin by sweeping away any loose dirt and debris with a broom or leaf blower.

Next, mop or scrub the surface clean with a solution of warm water, detergent and ammonia. This will help remove any remaining dirt and grime from the surface of the concrete. It is important to note that this solution should only consist of fresh ingredients, as using old detergent can leave behind a film that will decrease the effectiveness of the sealer. For particularly stubborn stains, it may be necessary to purchase a special degreasing cleaner from a hardware store.

Once cleaned with detergent and ammonia, the next step is to acid etch and lightly sandblast the stained concrete with an industrial grade sanding machine. This process helps further remove any contaminants from concave areas and deep stains while creating an optimal sealer-to-concrete bonding surface. Before etching and sandblasting, however, it is imperative to protect surrounding vegetation and finishes such as siding or stonework on nearby buildings by covering them with plastic sheeting.

After cautiously etching and sandblasting, it is important to thoroughly rinse each area multiple times until all residual acid is gone and neutralized. Once done cleaning up etching debris, make sure to thoroughly dry the area before moving onto cleaning off the stained concrete in the next section.

With proper attention paid during preparation of the concrete surface, you are now ready for the next step: cleaning off any existing stained concrete to ensure maximum adhesion between sealer and existing stain.

Cleaning off the Stained Concrete

Before applying the concrete sealer, you must prep the stained concrete surface. This means cleaning off any dirt, debris, oils, and chemicals that may be present. Depending on the type of stain you’ve applied to the concrete, there are a few different options for removing it prior to sealing.

For instance, if you’re using an acid stain, they can be neutralized with baking soda or wiped off with a cloth moistened with a household cleaner. If you used a water-based stain, it’s not necessary to remove it before sealing because water-based stains already have sealers included in them.

On the other hand, some experts recommend avoiding this step entirely by immediately sealing before wiping the concrete. This is because wetting and wiping the staining can cause color fading and make it difficult for the sealer to adhere properly to the surface. Though many DIY enthusiasts will disagree with this approach, it's important to note that professional installers frequently use this method when applicable. Keeping these points in mind can help you determine which is best for your project.

No matter which method you choose to clean your stained concrete surface before applying sealer, make sure the area is completely dry before moving on to the next step. Once dry, you're ready to begin applying an acid stain – which we'll discuss in the following section.

Applying Acid Stains

Applying acid stains to stained concrete requires patience, knowledge, and an eye for detail. While not necessary on every project, acid stains can add a beautiful mottled look and texture to already stained concrete floors, countertops, and other surfaces. Although it is possible to apply acid stains yourself with the right equipment, it is best to hire a professional if you are new to the process.

When applying acid stains, be sure that you are using high-quality products according to manufacturer instructions. Make sure the area is properly cleaned before applying the stain – any dirt or debris can prevent proper adhesion of the stain. Before applying, mix the acid stain according to instructions and make sure all safety protocols are followed. Apply the solution with a paintbrush in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry between applications. Multiple coats can produce deeper hues and stronger color variations.

Once finished, allow plenty of time for the stain to cure before mopping or using any cleaning solutions on the surface. It is also important to note that it can take up 32 hours for acid staining solutions to fully penetrate into the substrate and create ideal results.

Acid staining concrete is an advanced technique and one that should be done carefully and methodically in order to ensure desired results. Whether opting to DIY or hiring a professional contractor, it is essential that extra caution and attention-to-detail be used while applying acid stains.

With a successful application of an acid stain behind you, you’re now ready to move on to the next step in prepping your stained concrete surface: Applying the sealer.

Acid staining concrete is an advanced and detailed process that should be done with extra caution. It can take as long as 32 hours to fully penetrate and create ideal results, thus patience and knowledge are key when applying acid stains.

For the best possible results, you may want to hire a professional or have ample experience with the technique. Additionally, using high-quality products according to manufacturer instructions, cleaning up the surface for adhesion, and allowing time for curing are all essential steps for successful application.

After staining, sealer will be applied to complete prepping the stained concrete surface.

Applying the Sealer

Using concrete sealer is an effective way to help protect and preserve stained concrete surfaces. It can even prevent damage from water, oil, salt, and other substances. Before applying the sealer though, it’s important to prepare the surface properly by cleaning it and making sure it’s free of dust, debris, or any leftover chemicals or residue. Once you’ve prepped the surface, it’s time to apply the sealer.

Depending on the type of sealer you use, you may need to dilute it with water according to the manufacturer's directions before application. When using a solvent-based sealer, make sure that you wear protective gloves and a respirator in order to avoid contact with skin. Additionally, carefully read the instructions provided on the container or package before beginning your project.

When applying the concrete sealer you can use a sprayer, roller or brush. Make sure that you overlap each pass slightly to prevent streaks from occurring. If primer was used previously make sure to apply the concrete sealer within 24 hours of applying the primer for optimal results. Be aware that some types of sealers may require a specific number of coats based on the product instructions being used.

For two-part epoxies systems and solids acrylics systems, manufacturers typically recommend three or four coats depending on weather conditions, amount of sunlight exposure and amount of foot traffic on the area. The application process should be based on manufacturer instructions in order to achieve desired results from your sealing job and ensure proper longevity of protection.

As different products come with specific guidelines and techniques for application, debating both sides of a singular argument regarding application may not be applicable in this scenario as there is no single answer for all scenarios - instead focus should be directed toward following manufacturer instructions for recommended best practices for a successful application process for your specific product choice.

Now that we have discussed how to apply the sealer, let's move onto choosing a suitable sealer product for our project in our next section.

Choosing a Sealer Product

Choosing a sealer product is an important decision when applying concrete sealer to stained concrete. The type of sealer used could affect the longevity and overall look of the flooring, so it's imperative to do research before selecting one. Water-based concrete sealers are generally preferred since they don’t contain any solvents or other harsh chemicals that could damage the concrete surface, but oil-based products can also be used in some cases.

When determining which product to use, consider the area being sealed and what function it serves. For instance, high traffic areas may require a more durable sealant than low traffic areas, while a sealed patio might require a more aesthetically pleasing finish than one that will be stored in a garage or basement. Additionally, UV exposure may be an issue if using sealants intended for interior use outside; it’s best to get expert advice on this point before purchasing.

Finally, research the ease of application and cure time of the product you select. It’s important to ensure you will be able to apply the product correctly during your project timeframe and adhere to safety guidelines issued by the manufacturer.

Now that you have selected a sealer product that suits your needs, the next step is preparing for its application with the right tools and techniques. In the next section, we will discuss some useful tips on how to properly apply concrete sealer to stained concrete.

Tools, Techniques, and Tips for Applying Sealer

Applying a concrete sealer properly requires the right tools, techniques, and tips in order to do the job correctly. Proper preparation of surfaces prior to applying sealer is especially important for getting the best outcome. The following section provides an overview of the necessary tools, techniques, and tips needed to apply sealer successfully.


The most commonly used tool for applying a sealer is a sprayer, but other tools can also be used depending on the size and complexity of the job. A roller can be used to apply a pump-pressure brick-looking sealer, while a brush can be used for grout and other small surface areas. Other tools may include jet nozzles, squeegees, and sponges.


The type and amount of sealer being applied will help determine which technique should be used. If using a brush or roller, one should use either slow wide strokes or a “W” pattern to ensure an even coverage of the sealant. In addition, when using a sprayer it is important to start spraying from one side and gradually work towards the other so that there are no missed areas.


When applying any sealant product it is important to practice safety by wearing gloves and protective eyewear in order to prevent any injuries or contact with hazardous materials. Additionally one should always ensure that all surfaces being worked on are completely dry before proceeding with application.

In order to get the best result with less waste it is recommended to start by spraying test patches on different parts of the surface in order to familiarize yourself with how it looks once applied. Once you have determined how much sealing solution you need it will be easier to get a consistent look over large areas without having too many leftovers at the end of your project.

These are just some essential tools, techniques, and tips when it comes to applying concrete sealer properly. Doing research ahead of time to choose the right type of product and the right tools for your project will help promote success and make sure you do not encounter any issues along the way. With these considerations in mind one can move on confidently into applying sealer professionally in their next step.

Applying Sealer Professionally

Applying sealer professionally is an important part of properly caring for stained concrete. Applying sealer correctly helps to protect the concrete from wear and tear, as well as provide a glossy finish. It also helps to prevent dirt and debris from getting into the concrete and staining it further.

The first step in applying a sealer is to make sure that the area you will be sealing is clean and dry. If there is any debris or dirt on the surface, vacuum it up or sweep it away before proceeding with the application process. Additionally, any existing coatings should be removed before starting.

When you are ready to apply the sealer, use a roller, brush, sprayer, or sponge to apply a thin even layer over the entire surface of the concrete. Make sure to follow the directions for your specific type of sealer and that you are applying it according to manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, be sure to test a small patch of the concrete before applying it over the entire area to ensure that you are happy with how it looks.

When applying sealers it is important to take special caution around edges and corners so that the sealant does not get smudged. It is best practice to use painter’s tape and a small brush for more precise applications in those areas.

Before deciding if one should apply sealant professionally or attempt DIY-ing this task, there are many things one should consider. DIY-ers worry they may miss painting an uneven surface that could lead to water seepage through cracks resulting in larger problems down the road while professionals feel confident they can paint evenly without issue. 

Moreover, professional can have access to state-of-the art products specially designed by experts like high-performance coating products while DIYers would have limited access to such specialized product because they require appropriate skills or expertise nearing a professional level in order to apply them adequately.

Letting the Sealer Dry & Protecting the Concrete is an important next step after applying it professionally; each type of sealant has specific drying times which must be followed carefully for successful Concrete Protection.

Letting the Sealer Dry & Protecting the Concrete

Once the concrete surface has been completely sealed, it's important to allow the protective sealant to dry completely before further use. Depending on the product and weather conditions, this typically takes anywhere from 1-3 days. During this time, keep foot traffic off the surface and limit activities as much as possible. It is also beneficial to cover the surfaces with a breathable barrier while they are drying, such as a plastic sheet or tarp. This will keep dust and debris off the sealer while it dries, preserving a pristine finish once it is complete.

In addition to allowing enough time for drying, leaving adequate time for curing is also necessary for ultimate protection. Curing allows the sealer to fully penetrate and form a strong bond with the concrete surface for maximum durability. Depending on factors such as temperature, humidity and specific product instructions, cure times may take anywhere from 24 hours to several weeks. Consult product instructions for exact recommendations.

Finally, keeping regular upkept of a sealed concrete surface is also essential in maintaining its maximum strength and beauty over time. Avoid harsh cleaners or detergents when cleaning sealed concrete, as these can wear away at the protective layer prematurely. Sweeping and mopping regularly with water only should keep dirt and debris away so that bacteria and mildew cannot form.

To help ensure long-lasting protection and life cycle maintenance of concrete surfaces, it's best practice to apply penetrating sealers rather than surface sealers due to their lasting durability over time compared to other sealers. Properly applied and maintained penetrating sealers offer exceptional hydrophobicity and stain resistance that can last up to 10 years if proper care is taken.

Making sure that you give your sealer enough time to dry before you let anyone go onto or access the new surface will protect both your original concrete flooring job as well as strengthening your newly applied sealant layer; followed by regularly maintaining properly applied penetrative sealing your concrete can have protection that can last up to 10 years! In conclusion these steps will help ensure that your stained concrete project is one that you can be proud of for years to come.

To wrap up these tips on applying a concrete sealer to stained concrete, in our next section we will discuss some ways on how make this process easier through careful preparation, planning and foreknowledge of products available on the market today.


Applying a concrete sealer to stained concrete helps protect it from the elements, reduce staining and provide an aesthetically pleasing look. The ultimate decision regarding whether or not a sealer should be applied to stained concrete crosses a wide range of considerations, including climate, applicability to current laws, and budget.

For those looking to enhance their stained concrete surface with a protective sealer, it’s important to understand all the steps involved in the application process. Identifying what type of sealer is needed, followed by surface preparation, ensuring the appropriate application conditions are met, and knowing how long to cure the surface before use will ensure that a successful job is completed.

In considering both sides of the argument as to whether or not sealing stained concrete is beneficial, it’s crucial to realize that there are benefits and drawbacks associated with applying a sealant. Considerations such as environmental factors, cost of materials and labor, and projected results should all be taken into account when making the final decision.

Ultimately, sealing stained concrete can help protect the surface from wear and tear as well as add an extra layer of protection against stains; however, if not applied correctly or on surfaces that may resist adhesion, it could cause more harm than good. Homeowners should carefully weigh their options before investing in any sealing project.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What types of sealers are best for stained concrete?

When it comes to sealing stained concrete, the best option is to use a concrete sealer. These sealers are specifically formulated to penetrate deep into the pores of the concrete, helping to protect against water, wear and tear, staining, mold growth, and more. Concrete penetrating sealers also provide a natural-looking finish that won't alter the color or texture of your stained concrete.

Additionally, they don't require any maintenance or periodic reapplication like other types of sealers may require. All in all, concrete penetrating sealers offer superior protection and beautiful results for your stained concrete surfaces.

What can I do to make sure the sealer adheres properly to the stained concrete?

To ensure the sealer adheres properly to stained concrete, it is important to thoroughly clean and prepare the surface before applying the sealer. This can include using a pressure washer, scrub brush, or detergent to remove any dirt, dust, and debris from the concrete. Additionally, it is important to rinse away any remaining cleaning solution after this has been done.

Once the surface has been properly cleaned and prepped, you can apply a primer specifically designed for use with sealer, if necessary. This will help ensure that the sealer has a good bond with the concrete. Finally, follow any directions on the sealer closely as certain types of sealer may require multiple layers or light sanding in between coats. Taking these steps will help ensure that your sealer adheres properly to your stained concrete.

What are the steps for sealing stained concrete correctly?

The steps for sealing stained concrete correctly are as follows:

  1. Clean the Concrete - Thoroughly clean the concrete surface by using a power washer to remove all dirt, debris, oils, and other contaminants prior to applying sealer.
  2. Repair any Cracks or Issues - If your concrete has any cracking, now is the time to repair it with a filler product that is compatible with the sealer you will be using.
  3. Prep the Surface - Make sure that the concrete surface is completely dry before proceeding. Use a stiff-bristled brush to work in the pressure washer solution further, and then use a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining residue on the surface.
  4. Apply First Coat of Concrete Sealer - For best results it is recommended to apply two coats of sealer for maximum protection. Begin by choosing a sealer specifically designed for outdoor use and one that is compatible with stained concrete. Application methods may vary depending on the type and brand of sealer you are using; follow label instructions carefully. After applying an even coat and allowing it to dry fully according to directions, thoroughly inspect the surface and apply a second coat if necessary.
  5. Clean Up & Protect - Once completely dry, sweep away any excess sealer or debris and protect your newly sealed surface from weathering by covering it with a tarp or plastic sheeting when not in use.

About the author

Hey, I'm Dale Keese.. thanks for reading.. hopefully this article can save you some time and trouble with your sealing job. I'm also in the process of making some video walk-throughs for youtube so check back soon! thanks

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