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How To Get Roller Marks Out Of Concrete Sealer 

 November 5, 2021

By  Dale Keese

Roller marks are one of the most common issues that arise when concrete sealer isn’t applied correctly. Because of this, many people often wonder how to efficiently remove it.

Applying Xylene to the affected area is a popular and effective solution to get rid of roller marks on concrete sealer. Applying an efflorescence cleaner can also work depending on the sealer type. Otherwise, you can also choose to sand then reseal the surface.

With all the solutions available, there’s no need to worry if you encounter roller marks. Read on below to find out everything you need to know about each of these options.

How to Remove Roller Marks From Concrete Sealer

Roller marks can commonly occur when applying concrete sealer with a roller.

Rollers are a specific type of applicator that is recommended for low-viscosity concrete sealers, which can be determined by the presence of under 30% solids. Roller marks can appear when sealers are applied using a heavy force, using a roller on heavy solids especially on smooth interior surfaces, without keeping a wet edge, or unevenly on the surface.

Time

If the roller marks are in an area that is not easily visible or commonly used, you can also just allow it to disappear on its own with time. After all, sealers will age due to wear and tear eventually, so any roller marks that occurred from a previous application will eventually disappear when subject to the elements.

In the event that you do need to remove the roller marks right away, try these methods.

Xylene

Xylene is a widely-used corrective agent for roller marks on concrete sealers.

Keep in mind that using xylene is only effective for water-based sealers acrylic sealers within the first 24-48 hours after application. However, if you used a solvent-based sealer, you can use xylene anytime.

  1. 1
    Apply xylene to the affected area either by pouring or using a hand-held roller. Let the xylene sit on the surface for up to 2 minutes until the sealer has visibly softened up.
  2. 2
    Dampen a hand roller using xylene, then apply the roller back and forth with your hand as if you were painting a surface. Start in areas of heavy sealer coverage and work towards the light areas with a goal of uniformly covering the surface while trying to ensure a consistent and even covering.
  3. 3
    Continue the process until the xylene has repaired the entire affected area.
  4. 4
    If there is any excess sealer discovered during this process, you can use a 2” solvent-resistant paint brush to remove it.
  5. 5
    Let the xylene evaporate while the sealer dries. Repeat steps 1-4 if there is excessive acrylic buildup.

Once these steps have been completed, reapply the topcoat evenly.

Tips for using xylene

  • Depending how severe the roller marks are, it may require further steps such as repeated application or aggressive scrubbing to efficiently remove the roller marks.
  • Keep in mind that when using xylene, remember that you must always test it on a small area first to ensure that the results will be satisfactory when applied to a larger area.
  • Removing roller marks on concrete sealer by using xylene is best done on an overcast day, without any wind.
  • Xylene is a flammable product so be sure to follow precautions when working with this product.

Resealing

Resealing is the last resort for fixing roller marks in concrete sealer. It’s the most laborious, time-consuming, and costly option so this should only be done if the other methods don’t work.

First, gently sand the sealer surface using a fine sandpaper, though a screen of 220 grit or under will work too. If the affected areas are small, you can work with a hand-held palm sander. Smooth the ridges of the lap lines then wash the surface and leave it to dry.

Once the surface is dry, apply a new but very thin coating of the same sealer that you used. Alternatively, you can also apply several thin coats of wax or finish. If the lap lines are a minor issue, then several thin coatings of wax or finish will be adequate for covering the lap lines and will result in a smooth, even surface.

However, if the roller mark issue is extreme, you may want to remove the sealer and apply a new coat. Before deciding to remove the sealer, you first have to know if a water-based or solvent-based sealer was used. Once you know the type of sealer used, you can then apply the appropriate methods or products for removing each.

To remove water-based concrete sealer, apply a stripper made for water-based concrete sealers. Allow it to do its work removing the sealer by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the sealer has already softened the concrete, scrape any excess sealer mechanically.

To remove solvent-based sealer, scrape off any concrete sealer that is already chipping or flaking off. Then apply a solvent-based stripper, allow it to soak, and then scrape off any excess sealer. Repeat if necessary until all sealer has been removed. 

Avoiding Roller Marks

Though you can correct roller marks, the goal is to avoid them completely so that you can ensure the job is done properly from the start.

Here are tips for avoiding roller marks in the future:

  • Only use rollers for applying low viscosity sealers. If you need to apply high viscosity sealers, use a push-pull applicator.
  • Use as light a touch as possible when applying the sealer, and in thin coats only as opposed to heavy coats.
  • Don’t overload the roller with material.
  • If working on a porous surface, spray the sealer instead. Rollers, as well as push-pull applicators, will likely leave roller marks behind on porous surfaces.
  • Keep a wet edge which entails covering 2-3 inches of the previous pass with your subsequent pass using a roller. This will avoid sealer build-up on the past edge, thus reducing the likelihood of a roller mark. Not maintaining a wet edge is one of the most common reasons roller marks occur.

Having good control over your application and using the proper applicator are essential to avoiding roller marks whenever applying sealer.

With this helpful information, you’ll have everything you need to avoid roller marks in the future or remove them properly if they do occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to remove streaks from concrete sealer?

Streaks can occur when applying concrete sealers if the product has been applied unevenly, without a wet edge, or too heavily. This can be avoided by applying thin and even coats, with a light hand.

The most effective way to remove streaks on concrete sealer is by applying a small amount of xylene on the affected area. This would only work if you used a solvent-based acrylic sealer and if it’s water-based, streaks must be corrected with xylene within 48 hours of application.

Let xylene sit on the surface of the concrete sealer for 1-2 minutes, until the sealer softens up on the concrete. Dip a hand roller in some xylene, ensuring the roller is damp, then apply it back and forth aiming for uniformity. Continue the process until the xylene has covered the streaky affected area.

Use a 2” paint brush made for solvent-based sealers for removing any excess. Allow the xylene to evaporate as the sealer dries up. Lastly, apply the sealer topcoat.

What is the best roller to use when applying concrete sealer?

You can choose from several high-quality rollers that are designed for concrete sealers. Many of them are available on Amazon:

-   Pro Grade Paint Roller Cover Set
-   Paint Roller 6 Inch ¾ in Roller Naps
-   Purdy White Dove Roller Cover

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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