3 Frequent Questions About Concrete Sealer

Concrete sealers are considered one of the best ways to maximize the durability and longevity of a concrete surface. Unfortunately, many home and business owners fail to capitalize on this protective technique--simply because they do not understand it well enough. If you would like to improve your knowledge of how to successfully seal a concrete surface, read on. This article will answer three of the most commonly asked questions about the technique.

Are water based sealers compatible with solvent based ones?

This is a common question among those who own a concrete floor that already has a sealer on it--generally one that will soon be in need of replacement. Those with floors currently protected by a water-based sealer often consider making their next sealer a solvent-based one, thanks to the fact that solvent sealers generally boast a slightly longer lifespan. On the other hand, those solvent-sealed floors often want to go with a water-based sealer in order to make cleanup less demanding and lower the intensity of the fumes.

Yet before switching from one type of sealer to another, it is important that you realize the two are not compatible. Solvent-based sealers tend to interact in a harmful manner with water-based sealers, with the result being a significantly weakened layer of protection for both. Not only that, but applying one type of sealer directly atop the other will lead to unforeseen and often undesirable changes in the appearance of the floor.

To avoid potential problems, it is vital that you completely remove any old sealer before applying a new one. While this is most true when switching between sealer types, it is generally also considered a good idea when applying more sealer of the same type. That's because the weakened bottom layer may lead to failure much more quickly. Companies like Mershon Concrete can help you decide on the best kind of sealer. 

Is it okay to seal a floor in hot weather?

The easy answer here is: no. At least, not if the temperature is greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or so. That's because all sealers must undergo what is known as evaporative curing. This involves the liquid portion of the sealer--whether solvent or water--evaporating into the air, thus leaving behind only the resins, polyurethanes, and other protective substances.

Proper curing has everything to do with the concrete's surface temperature. Excessively hot concrete will cause the liquid to evaporate too quickly, leaving behind a severely weakened layer of sealer. This is especially true of solvent sealers, which have a much higher rate of evaporation than water sealers. For best results, avoid sealing concrete in hot summer weather. If there is no way to do this, try to schedule the sealing for a time later in the day, when temperatures won't be quite so extreme.