Should I seal stamped concrete?

It is critical to seal stamped concrete. This is if you want stamped concrete that will stand the "test of time". Sealing the surface of your stamped concrete is very important.  So if you are asking yourself, "Should I seal my stamped concrete?" The answer is undoubtedly yes.

If you've recently had your stamped concrete installed, it might be time to seal it. Sealers are necessary to prevent freeze-thaw damage. This is a process in which water penetrates the surface of concrete and expands as it freezes. The purpose of a sealer is to keep water from penetrating the surface, and instead, make it bead up on the surface. Depending on the area you have sealed, you might need to reseal your patio every three years.

Stamped Concrete Sealing Is Necessary

In the photo above, the home owner has elected to seal using a permeable sealant. Not typically used with decorative or stamped concrete. As you can see, the texture is almost invisible without a secondary color and the stamp pattern is almost invisible without a sealant.

During the process of "stamping" the surface of your new concrete patio, driveway or sidewalk, the crew applied a pattern to the surface. It is typical to "tamp" the surface with these stamps, in turn this opens the surface of the concrete up. It creates imperfections and holes in the surface of the new stamped concrete. If stamped concrete is not sealed, it will be damaged through the freeze/thaw cycles which are common in Denver, Colorado. 

This is what I use to apply the sealer. It's the Chain Extreme 3.5 gallon Stainless Steel Sprayer. (Source: www.everything-about-concrete.com)

You should apply a sealer to your stamped concrete every few years or so to prevent stains as well as protect the concrete. It's recommended to use a light profile to avoid too much of a noticeable difference. If the surface starts to deteriorate quickly, you should strip it and apply a new sealer. Although application techniques for sealing stamped concrete are simple, the right one is important. Most sealers are applied with a standard pump sprayer. The spraying method is most effective for even coverage. Some types can be applied in a crosshatch pattern to reduce the risk of less than complete coverage.

In the video above our crew stamps a new stamped concrete patio with a textured skin stamp. You can see how destructive the process is to the surface.

Will the Surface Be Slippery After I Seal It?

The chances are low with my 2 favorite sealers, however it could be. (Source: www.everything-about-concrete.com)

Most stamping products specify a number of square feet per gallon. If the manufacturer says 300 square feet, that's fine. But if the manufacturer says two hundred square feet, then that's too little. If you want your stamped concrete to look as good as new, you'll need to reseal it every few years. You should be careful not to over-seal it, as this can lead to delamination or peeling of the sealer. This is very common (delamination or peeling of the sealant) when it is applied over a previous application of older sealant.

Whenever I seal or reseal stamped concrete, I like to go very thin with the first coat. I might spray it on as thin as 500 sq. ft. per gallon. (Source: www.everything-about-concrete.com)

Before Concrete Sealing

In the photo above, this stamped concrete patio has not been sealed or colored in five years since its installation. This photo was taken before our crew completed a rejuvenation on this stamped concrete patio.

After Concrete Sealing

In the "After" photo above, our crew has completed sealing and coloring the stamped concrete patio. The before photo directly above is the before photo.

If you fail to seal it, the result will be a dull surface and a dingy look. Older sealants will discolor over time and some areas might appear cloudy or even white. Most homeowners think that their stamped concrete is ruined and beyond repair when they have aged sealant. With proper and routine maintenance, stamped concrete can maintain its look from day one. You can also try re-sealing your stamped concrete with a different solvent, such as xylene. This is a strong solvent that will re-wet your old acrylic sealer, allowing it to bond better. Re-emulsifying your existing sealant can really be a good alternative to resealing your stamped concrete as it uses the existing sealant. 

Will Xylene Remove Concrete Sealer?

You will have to first remove any signs of chipping and peeling from the surface. Then apply a solvent-based stripper like Xylene to remove the sealer. Keep in mind, if your concrete was stained or dyed using Xylene, it can damage or change the color of the concrete. (Source: askinglot.com) For the best results with Xylene, re-emulsify the old sealant and then pressure wash once the previous sealant is liquid again.

Prep the Surface First, thoroughly sweep the surface of all dirt and debris. Remove any grease, oil, mastic or paint, choosing your cleaner based on the stains that you have. After the stains have been removed, mop with floor cleaner and water. Any cracks or pitting will need to be filled in before applying the sealer. (Source:

Keep Your Stamped Concrete Looking New

Sealing and rejuvenating your stamped concrete will ensure your investment will stay looking great for many years. The best way to preserve your stamped concrete is to apply a sealer every time it's needed. This is where many homeowners go in the wrong direction. Neglecting to maintain your stamped concrete is not only frustrating in the long run, but can cause real damage. The sealer will protect it and make it last a long time. It will protect your driveway, sidewalk, and even your pool. It will also protect your home from the elements and prevent cracking and pitting.

The best time to seal stamped concrete is when the air temperature is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It's best to apply the sealer in cooler weather, before 10 am, and after 4pm, when the temperature is at its lowest. This will prevent the sealer from fading over time, and will prevent cracking and pitting. Moreover, it will help protect your home from stains and harmful chemicals.

Conditions for Applying Concrete Sealant

Applying sealant hot conditions above 70 degrees might cause bubbling in the surface of the new sealant. This can be treated and fixed, but it is best to schedule for prime conditions. Applying sealant in conditions below 55 degrees can lead to poor finish and sealant that might fail early.

The right sealer is important to maintain the appearance of stamped concrete. It not only prevents staining and UV rays, but it also helps protect the concrete against water damage and cracking. A wet look finish is more subtle, but it doesn't lose color in the sun. If you're concerned about the look of your stamped-concrete, it's important to choose a sealer that has a high gloss finish.

Choosing the right sealer is essential for your new stamped concrete. A high-quality sealer will prevent the concrete from fading and will protect it from water damage and harmful chemicals. It is also important to choose the correct material. You can choose from satin finishes to high gloss finishes. The satin finish is the most subtle and will give you a more subtle look. Adding a wet look is not as expensive as you might think.

One of the fastest growing segments of the construction industry is decorative concrete. From exciting new concrete projects to stunning renovations, decorative concrete has become an attractive option. Stamped concrete, acid stains, dyes, exposed aggregate – the styles of decorative concrete are endless. To make sure your new decorative concrete project has a look that lasts, use the family of W. R. MEADOWS decorative concrete sealers. (Source: www.wrmeadows.com)

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