Stamped concrete, often called textured or imprinted concrete, replicates stones, such as slate and flagstone, tile, brick and even wood. The wide variety of pattern and color choices make it popular for beautifying patios, pool decks, driveways and more. Additionally, it’s an affordable paving option that requires less maintenance than other materials.
Proper Care & Maintenance of Your Concrete:
Concrete is the most durable product on the market and can last a long time when properly cared for.
Here are some guidelines on maintenance and troubleshooting tips!
Cleaning and sealing stamped colored concrete should be done on a regular basis, just like any other home maintenance. The frequency will depend on weather/sun exposure, and how high the traffic area is with cars, foot traffic, and any elements the concrete is exposed to. We recommend resealing every 2-4 years. If you wait longer to reseal the color will fade and concrete will stain easy. Keeping a fresh coat of sealer will protect your investment, preserve its beauty and keeps the color as vibrant as the day it was installed.
Always keep concrete surface free of debris to avoid dirt buildup or it could stain. Fertilizer, leaves, animal urine/feces (especially birds), mud, tree sap and debris etc. will stain concrete, especially freshly poured. If you witness any staining the sooner they receive attention, the easier they are to remove. Stains can remain permanent if they are allowed to penetrate into the surface. Cleaning can be easily accomplished by using a medium bristle broom, leaf blower, garden hose or a power washer to remove residue. (If needed) Apply dish soap, scrub, and rinse.
Each situation is different, and results may vary. Whatever recommended method is chosen should be performed on a small test section before addressing the entire area to determine if the results are successful. Special care must be taken to properly monitor all concentrated cleaning solutions. After any use of cleaning solutions they must be thoroughly rinsed to remove the cleaning material residue. Or will result in discoloration and etching over time.
- Do not use rubber/plastic mats or carpet backing mats moisture will get trapped in sealer.
- To prevent scratching and rust we recommend using protective caps on furniture legs.
- Outdoor planters should be on plant stands or plant pot elevators/risers so moisture does not get trapped in the sealer.
- Rinse off any concentrated pool chemicals including salt from concrete immediately to prevent surface damage and discoloration.
- Properly treated swimming pool water itself will not hurt concrete surface. For salt water pools after treatment leave pool cover off until salt dissolves.
- Do not use any orange citrus base, lime away or CLR they are a natural form of acid and cannot be used on concrete.
- If rust occurs use rid-o rust or brake cleaner to remove For Calcium buildup, use a calcium remover ( NOT CLR )
- Grease and oil stains, Use Zep industrial degreaser & cleaner or a product called Valspar
- Tire marks on driveways or garage floors can be removed with Use Zep industrial degreaser & cleaner
or engine degreasers. Rinse well with water afterwards.
Trouble Shooting Sealer:
Here arc a few solutions for when a concrete sealer does not perform properly, or the appearance is not what was expected.
Each situation is different, and results may vary. Whatever remediation method is chosen should be performed on a small test section before addressing the entire area to determine if the results are acceptable.
- Problem: Sealer has bubbled
Cause: Product was applied too heavily, or in hot weather/direct sun.
Prevention: Carefully follow manufacturers recommended coverage rate and apply during the coolest part of the day when concrete is not in direct sun. Two thin coats should be applied rather than one heavy coat.
Solution: If you notice bubbles while your applying sealer (STOP) let it fully dry and see Solvent Wash Instructions. If bubbles accrue after you finished sealing then perform a solvent wash with a thin coat of surface aid and allow to dry. If bubbles are spotty just use a 3” chip brush with solvent where isolated problem areas are.
- Problem: Sealer turned white
Cause: Water based sealer was used (do not use water base sealer) or
product was applied too heavily, there are too many coats of sealer on the concrete or moisture got trapped underneath the sealer.
Prevention: Follow manufacturers recommended coverage rate; do not re-seal concrete until previous coat(s) have worn away or have been stripped off.
Solution: If water based sealer is used it must be stripped. If it hasn’t, apply thin coat of surface aid and allow to dry. If that doesn’t work stripping might be needed.
- Problem: Sealer is peeling or flaking off
Cause: Product was applied too heavily, there are too many coats of sealer on the concrete or concrete was not prepped properly before application. Also, because concrete sealer lasts 2-4 years, some peeling and flaking should be expected as the product wears away, especially in areas of high traffic or direct sunlight.
Prevention: Follow manufacturers recommended coverage rate and preparation methods; do not re-seal concrete until previous coat(s) have worn away or stripped.
Solution: Pressure wash or scrub concrete to remove any loose material. Allow to dry completely. Perform a solvent wash to reactivate the sealer. If solvent wash does not provide the gloss and seal desired, apply a LIGHT coat of sealer after solvent wash has dried (if a water based sealer was used it must be stripped)
- Problem: Concrete shows streaks, roller marks, or drips after sealer is appliedCause: Careless or sloppy application; product was applied unevenly without keeping a wet edge;
wrong type of sprayer or spray tip was used.
Prevention: Carefully follow application instructions on products technical data sheet. Solution: Perform a solvent wash to redistribute heavy areas of product.
Solution: Perform a solvent wash to redistribute heavy areas of product.
- Problem: Water spots on sealed concrete
Cause: Hard water from landscape sprinklers or garden hose dries on concrete and leaves minerals behind upon drying.
Prevention: Adjust sprinklers from spraying concrete.
Solution: Use Zep industrial degreaser & cleaner Squeegee concrete dry in areas where hard water dwells on concrete.
- Problem: Concrete is dark and blotchy after scaler is applied Cause: Uneven application or wrong product was used.
Prevention: Follow the application methods on the product technical data sheet.
Solution: Perform a solvent wash to redistribute heavy areas of product. If appearance is not acceptable after solvent wash, allow product to wear away over time or chemically strip and reapply product. Only use scalers that are specifically listed as acceptable for sealing existing, cured concrete
Instructions for Solvent Wash:
We recommend a product called surface aid to fix the most commonly used problems with concrete sealer issues. Generally SCS INC. has it in stock or our supplier Easton Enterprises at 6045 Birch Dr, Flint MI 48507 (810-760-4905) ALWAYS FOLLOW ALL SAFETY AND PERSONAL PROTECTION PRECAUTIONS ON THE CONTAINER.
For best results apply the wash on a cool, overcast day (not in hot, direct sunlight). Before applying the solvent wash, make sure concrete is clean. If you’re fixing a problem right after your concrete was sealed no need to rewash. If you notice strands of sealer coming off roller head, you are dragging the product as its begging to dry or the surface of concrete is to hot.
Start by Pouring the solvent into a metal or solvent-resistant paint tray or spray can, use a solvent resistant 3/8-1/2 roller & a 3” chip brush to apply the surface aid. Always start at the highest point of patio generally at the steps and work your way back doing a section at a time. We recommend you use a chip brush up against home, so you don’t get sealer on siding or brick.
When applying to remove bubbles, sealer that turned white, with a roller use a steady, even stroke to apply the solvent but do not over-roll back and forth aggressively as this can cause bubbling. After a few minutes, the surface aid will reactivate the sealer, turning it back to its original liquid form. If bubbles are spotty just use a 3” chip brush with solvent where isolated problem areas are. When solvent wash is completed allow the concrete to dry. Another coat of sealer should not be needed.
When stripping is needed (follow the above directions) When the surface aid reactivates the sealer turning it into a liquid form, at this point any excess sealer can be removed by wiping it off a section at a time with a squeegee or rags. When solvent wash is completed allow the concrete to dry. Typically, no additional coats of product should be applied since most problems are caused by over application of the sealer initially.
- NEVER use salt or deicing material of any kind, this will cause deterioration of your concrete. We recommend Tube Sand; it’s very gritty making it great for traction and has no adverse effect on concrete. Most hardware and box stores carry it.
- When possible remove snow and ice buildup from your concrete surfaces as soon as possible to minimize the effects of freeze/thaw cycles.
- Concrete is very porous like a sponge, when left unprotected it will get saturated from rain, snow and ice in the winter. We highly recommend keeping up with your sealer especially driveways. Without a protective sealer, moisture and salt can penetration into the surface of the concrete from vehicles.
- Minimize “warming up” vehicles on driveways especially for the 1M winter; this can cause deterioration from the exhaust of the vehicle.
- We recommend caulking saw cuts and control joints before freezing weather. Rain, snow or ice migrate through control joints/saw cuts and saturate the ground under the concrete. Even though the concrete is reinforced with wire mesh, it may shift and move when freezing/thawing occurs. If this movement occurs without caulking it can cause cracking.
- Gutters, downspouts and all drainage needs to drain away from your concrete. Without proper drainage rain, melting snow/ice creates precipitation that may lead to settlement and cracking problems.
- A metal snow shovel will scratch your concrete. Use a plastic snow shovel.
- Always keep up with your maintenance
DIY Re-Seal Concrete Process:
Generally concrete needs to be resealed every 2-4 years. To determine if your concrete needs to be resealed, perform a test by pouring water on the concrete surface. If the water absorbs and makes the surface noticeably darker, the concrete needs to be resealed. If the water does not absorb and beads, the concrete is protected and does not need to be resealed at this time, see Proper Care / Maintenance Tips & trouble shooting sealer prior to resealing.
- Power wash dirt/debris from concrete surface. It is critical to start with a clean surface, see Proper Care & Maintenance. (Tip: If grass is growing on sides and on top of concrete use a weed whip or edger to remove grass prior to power washing)
- Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap to surface and scrub with a push broom.
- Rinse well with a pressure washer until there is no sign of soap suds.
- DRY surface completely by using a leaf blower or by waiting 24 hours to air dry. DO NOT APPLY SEALER TO A DAMP/WET SURFACE.
- Once the surface is completely dry, apply the sealer as follows:
Stir in one jar of Anti-Slip agent (Shark Grip) to a 5 gallon pail of solvent based acrylic sealer. (Can be purchased at Sherman-Williams). APPLY SEALER USING A 3” chip brush & 3/4’THICK nap roller. ANTI-SLIP AGENT WILL NOT TRANSFER THROUGH A SPRAYER. Apply sealer in approximately 2′ x 4′ sections. This will ensure full coverage without missed spots. Keep stirring sealer while applying to keep the Anti-Skid suspended in the sealer.
Sealer should be applied when air temperature is about 45 °F.
- If needed, a second coat can be applied after the first coat is tack free. You should wait hours before walking on resealed areas, weather permits time, usually the next day.
- Your stamped concrete should be resealed every 2-3 years to protect your investment. One 5 gallon pail of sealer will cover approximately 750-1000 sq ft.
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