How to Fix Bubbled Concrete Sealer in 4 Easy Steps 

 July 23, 2023

By  Dale Keese

If you're like most homeowners, you may have experienced that all-too-familiar sinking feeling when you notice the bubbled, uneven concrete sealer in the patio or driveway. No one likes to see those unsightly blotches, but now all is not lost. You can breathe a sigh of relief and tackle that project with confidence – all it takes is a few simple steps and you can easily restore the perfect seal your driveway or patio deserves!

You can repair bubbled concrete sealer by chipping away the existing coating and applying a new layer of sealer over the affected area. When applying the new sealer, make sure to follow manufacturer instructions for proper application and drying time.

In this blog post, we'll cover the basics of bubbled concrete sealer and show you how to fix it in four easy steps. So let's get started and make your concrete sealer look and function perfectly!

What Causes Bubbled Sealer?

When applied correctly, a concrete sealer forms a smooth and waterproofing surface that lasts for years. However, bubbles often form in the finished product leaving it unsightly and vulnerable to water damage. Bubbles usually form when the sealer is exposed to high temperatures during application, which causes trapped air to expand within the sealer’s layers. Another cause of bubbled sealer is improper mixing which can lead to CO2 gas being expelled from the curing sealer due to acidic reactivity within the solvent. This can result in tiny air bubbles throughout the application. In some cases, however, it has been argued that bubbles are created by pre-existing holes in the concrete or previous patchwork because the sealers fail to properly adhere to those surfaces resulting in trapped air pockets.

Despite this debate over the cause of bubbled sealer, both parties agree on one thing: The effects of weather and temperature greatly influence their occurrence. As we will discuss further in our next section, both too hot and too cold temperatures negatively impact the quality of our sealer applications. It's important to understand how these underlying factors can contribute to bubbled sealer in order to prevent it from happening in the future.

Effects of Weather and Temperature

The weather and temperature can play an integral part in the cause of bubbled concrete sealer. On hot days, the increasing temperatures can cause the concrete sealer to dry too quickly, leaving little to no time for any trapped air to escape. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to apply concrete sealers at the right times of day when the temperatures are cooler. On cool days, concrete sealers need time to set properly or else they will be prone to cracking, bubbling and spalling.

It is important that temperatures are taken into consideration, as applying sealer in extreme heat or cold isn’t ideal for proper curing and drying times. Different materials have different temperature thresholds. If a sealer’s temperature limits aren’t followed during application and curing, it can turn into a disaster in terms of having a successful coating project. It is also possible that moisture leakage could destabilize the bond between layers that has been created while sealing due to changes in temperature cycle.

Temperature fluctuations can also affect previously sealed surfaces, especially if it is exposed to direct sunlight and high temperatures on a consistent basis over a long period of time. Hence, if you live in an area with huge temperature variations throughout seasons, it is best advised to not use any concrete sealers as they might not last longer before showing signs of wear and tear due to such fluctuations.

Whether you live in an area where temperatures range from extreme hot summers to cold winters or have moderate temperature all year round, these range of temperatures should definitely be taken into account when deciding whether or not you should apply the sealer and how effective and long-lasting that sealer might be over time. Ultimately these considerations will help lead towards reducing instances of bubbled concrete sealer over time and allow for a clean, smooth finish on your surface when done properly.

Now that we know some of the effects weather and temperature can have on bubbled concrete sealant, let's look at how we can address this issue before it becomes a bigger problem.

Key Takeaway

Temperature and weather can play a part in the occurrence of bubbled concrete sealant. Applying sealer in extreme temperatures can cause it not to set properly, potentially leading to cracking, spalling and bubbling. A consistently exposed sealer to direct sunlight and high temperatures over a long period of time can destabilize the bond between layers and cause signs of wear and tear. Before applying any concrete sealers, temperature fluctuations should be taken into consideration for an effective and long-lasting finish on the surface, with the goal of reducing instances of bubbled concrete sealer.

How to Remove Bubbles

Different weather and temperature conditions can greatly affect the effectiveness of your concrete sealer. While some changes in weather can create a smoother finish, drastic temperatures can cause the sealer to bubble. The good news is that removing bubbles from concrete sealer does not have to be a difficult process and with the right techniques you can get back to enjoying a smooth finish with minimal effort.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the most effective ways of removing bubbles is by using heat. If there are small isolated bubbles, use a heat gun directly on the affected area. However, if there are larger areas of bubbling then you will need to apply an alternative method, such as using hot water or sandblasting.

Not everyone agrees that either of these methods is necessary or advisable. Some professionals argue that it is better to simply pour new sealer over the bubble prone surface. However, this is only recommended for small areas as re-sealing large sections could put unnecessary strain on the environment and elevate costs.

Regardless of which method you choose, it is important to remember that taking into account the effects of weather and temperature may help you prevent regrowth of bubbled sealer in the future. By understanding how different weather forces can impact your seals and taking necessary precautions such as following proper application techniques, you can better ensure longevity and quality of your sealed surface.

In our next section we will discuss best practices for fixing bubbles in concrete sealers so you can get back to enjoying a smooth finish with minimal effort.

Best Practices for Fixing Bubbles

When it comes to fixing bubbled concrete sealer, there are certain best practices that should be followed in order to ensure that the surfaces remain as functional and aesthetically pleasing as possible. While using a heat gun is generally accepted as the best method for removing bubbles from concrete sealer, some people prefer to use less extreme measures like a vacuum cleaner or pressurized stream of air on a smaller scale. Proponents of this approach tend to believe that using heat can not only damage the sealer but even pose risks of fire if used improperly.

However, these other methods may not be as effective at removing bubbles, especially in larger areas where the amount of power behind the intake of air needs to be substantial in order to make an impact. Ultimately, it is up to personal preference how one chooses to go about repairing bubbled concrete sealer. But in any case, utmost caution should be taken while handling any type of heat gun when dealing with surfaces and materials that could potentially catch fire if used too rigorously.

No matter the chosen approach, patching and repairing is ultimately going to be necessary when dealing with bubbled concrete sealer. This increases the importance of proper preparation before attempting a repair job in order to ensure that all accumulations of dirt, dust, and grime are adequately cleared away so as not to interfere with sealing once again. To avoid further damages and complications, it is important to invest time into properly preparing the surface before proceeding with any type of patching or repair work. With this step completed successfully, fixing bubbled concrete sealer will have greater chances for success.

Patching and Repairing Surfaces

Once the best practices for fixing bubbles have been adopted, the next step is to focus on patching and repairing any surfaces with problematic sealer. Repairing surfaces is perhaps one of the most important steps of maintaining a concrete sealer and preventing it from bubbling since improperly sealed surfaces can be caused by a variety of factors. Most notably, if the concrete was not properly smoothed out or leveled off before sealer application, this could lead to unstable surfaces that can eventually pop up as unsightly bubbles. The same could be said if there are cracks in the concrete, which should all be patched up prior to sealing techniques being implemented.

The debate comes into play when discussing how thorough each surface must be repaired. On one hand, many professionals suggest that proper repair may need to extend beyond just patching the original problem – they might also advise grinding the entire area down before applying a fresh layer of sealant. This could easily take away any pockets of air or instability within the concrete that would otherwise cause bubbles in the future. On the other hand, some might argue that grinding down an individual spot should be enough as long as it's coupled with proper curing techniques and regular maintenance.

Regardless of which option is chosen, it is evident that patching and repairing surfaces plays an integral part when it comes to fixing bubbled concrete sealers. Making sure entire areas are smooth and consistent before applying fresh sealer will help prevent bubbles from forming in the future, ensuring happy customers and long-lasting results. As we move forward, understanding how gently removing excess sealer upon completion can contribute even further to preventing bubble development is worth exploring further.

Gently Removing Excess Sealer

Once you have completed the repair process and have finished patching any cracks, holes, or other damages in your surface, it is time to prepare to remove any excess bubbled sealer. Removing excess sealer can be a tricky process since too much removal, and it may endanger the structural integrity of the surface. However, leaving too much of the sealer on can negatively affect the aesthetics of your substrate.

Before beginning to remove the excess sealer, consider both sides of the argument. On one hand, removing too much sealer may put your substrate at risk if there wasn't an even distribution applied while sealing in the first place. The extra removal of sealant could be counteracted by more sealant being applied during subsequent cycles. On the other hand, leaving too much on could lead to an uneven look for your concrete surface. Examples of excess sealer would include clumps or bubbles that didn't properly spread out across the surface due to poor application techniques or aging of the product between uses.

When considering which argument best fits your situation at hand, start by gently removing any excess bubbled sealer from the surface with a metal scraping tool such as a putty knife. It is important to note that as you are scraping off any raised spots of sealant, move very slowly and carefully. This will help to ensure that you don't scrape off any more material than necessary and damage the underlying surface layer. Once you have finished gently removing any excess sealer, it is time to begin sanding and priming the surface in order to create a level finish ready for re-sealing.

Sanding and Priming the Surface

Once you have gently removed the excess sealer, it is important to prepare the surface for the next step. Start by sanding the Bubbled concrete to create a smooth finish. Use a medium to fine grit sandpaper and if necessary, switch to a finer grit gradually until you get the desired result. Sand in a circular motion and avoid concentrating on one spot for too long which can cause indentations and further damage the surface. Be sure to wipe away any dust and debris with a damp cloth before beginning to prime.

Choosing the right primer is crucial for optimal results. Generally, oil based primers should be used with oil based concrete sealers and latex based primers should be used with water based sealers. It is also important to make sure that both the primer, as well as whatever sealer you use after, are compatible in order to ensure best results. After primer application, wait at least 24 hours before applying your sealer so that it can set properly and adhere consistently across the surface.

At this point, you are now ready to start applying your sealant of choice to get the desired finish without bubbling or other imperfections. However before jumping into that process, there are certain best practices you should consider in order to maximize success and get a smooth finish.

Best Practices to Get a Smooth Finish

Once the surface of concrete sealer has been sanded and primed, best practices should be used to get a smooth, even finish. One approach is to use a roller on an extension pole. This allows for coverage over large areas, including difficult corners and angles. Roller covers should be chosen that are appropriate for oil-based or water-based sealers, and should be clean of debris before being applied to the surface. A foam applicator can also be used to fill in tight gaps and detailed spaces. Additionally, moving the roller in multiple directions when applying the sealer helps ensure a consistent finish with no lines from where the roller stopped.

When painting with a brush, angled and flat brushes are best for cutting in around edges or hard-to-reach areas and for priming smaller spaces. Synthetic bristles work better than natural bristles because they resist wear and tear more effectively and can last longer without breaking apart. When painting larger spaces with a brush, it's important to use uniform strokes while keeping the wet edge visible at all times to avoid creating lap marks on the finished sealer job.

Ultimately, how smooth the finish is depends on whether time is taken to properly prepare the surface before painting as well as making sure that each coat is even and free of bubbles or streaks. With patience, diligence and the right tools, a desirable finish can be achieved that gives long lasting results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the entire sealer need to be replaced, or can the bubbled area be fixed?

The bubbled area of concrete sealer does not necessarily need to be replaced. In fact, it can often be fixed relatively easily by following four simple steps.

  1. Careful preparation is key: scrape away any loose pieces and make sure the surface is clean and dry. 
  2. Use a nylon paintbrush to gently apply a concrete patching compound over the bubbled area. 
  3. Allow the patched area to dry and cure completely overnight, then sand it flush with the surrounding concrete. 
  4. Finally, apply a fresh coat of sealer over the repaired area. 

With this approach, the bubbled area of concrete sealer can usually be adequately repaired and protected from future damage.

What is causing the bubbling of the concrete sealer?

The most common reason for bubbling concrete sealer is moisture trapped beneath the surface. If moisture is allowed to become trapped between the concrete substrate and the sealer, it can cause a chemical reaction that produces gas bubbles that can make the sealer appear "bubbled." Additionally, if too much product was applied or if there was inadequate preparation of the surface prior to sealing, then moisture may also be trapped underneath, leading to bubbling.

What special tools or products are needed to repair concrete sealer?

There are several products and tools that can be used to repair concrete sealer. To start, you will need a high-pressure power washer to remove existing sealer, debris, dirt, and moss from the debonded areas of the sealer. Additionally, for deep pitting and other large damage areas, you may need a diamond bit or grinder attachment for your power washer to remove any algae or sweat marks. You'll also need a brush to scrub away any residue or debris remaining after power washing.

To properly repair the concrete sealer, you will also require patching and concrete compound materials like Portland cement patching mix and acrylic-based sealers that come premixed or in powder form. Additionally, if you are repairing a pool deck, you’ll want to make sure the product is specifically designed for use in wet areas. Finally you may find it useful to use an epoxy bonding agent to help create a stronger bond between the old and new sealer layers.

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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