What Happens if You Seal Concrete Too Soon?
Although it may be tempting to want to seal newly installed concrete, wet concrete is never good for sealing. Sealing concrete right after the concrete driveway has been laid could be tempting, but it is always a mistake to attempt to seal wet concrete. The concrete has too much moisture, which needs to dry out during curing. Unsealed concrete is porous and absorbs various liquids, such as water and oil. The type of liquid used can affect how stained and discolored the concrete becomes. These fluids can cause the concrete to discolor, disintegrate, and break down. Concrete driveway cracks and chipping may result from this.
So just as much as it is crucial to use caution when preparing the mixture, it is also much more crucial to wait until it is sufficiently dried to avoid breaking.
Why You Should Delay Before Sealing Concrete
In general, the curing process of the concrete takes about 28 to 30 days. This is the timeframe the concrete loses its excess water and dries up. However, if you coat the surface of the concrete with a sealant before the curing period, this would obstruct proper evaporation of the surplus moisture. The wetness will weaken your driveway over time and harm it. The concrete would be more prone to crack and break and the surface might become uneven.
Why Is Concrete Sealing Necessary?
Sealing concrete helps protect it in several ways regardless of when you do it. Using a sealant on your driveway will guarantee that the concrete can withstand vulnerability and frequent freezing and thawing damage. Additionally, sealing your concrete will greatly improve its visual aspect and make it more stain-resistant, mold-resistant, and efflorescence-resistant.
There are numerous sealant options available for you depending on the level of protection you require and how frequently you are willing to go through the process. For Instance, when trying to avoid damage from freezing and thawing, a water-repellent compound is the best option to go for.
How Can I Tell Whether The Sealant Is Dry?
To test whether the sealant is still wet, spongy, moist, or tacky, touch a spot at the edge of the driveway with a stick or pencil. It may take as little as 30 minutes on a sunny day, but it can take up to three hours when it’s more humid. Topical sealants are simpler to detect as dry than penetrating sealants. This is because, with penetrating sealants, even though the surface may seem to be dry, the reaction may still be occurring below the surface.
Although when in doubt, it is better to anticipate that the sealant won’t be completely dry until after the suggested drying period.
Common Mistakes People Make When Sealing Their Driveways
- Applying the sealant too soon is the biggest error people make when attempting to seal their driveways themselves. They begin without waiting for the driveway to cure completely.
- Choosing the proper sealant for an old concrete driveway is another problem. If you don’t pick the right one, your concrete driveway may not receive the proper protection. For instance, if you apply a glossy sealant, stain protection might not be there.
- The sealant won’t dry properly if the weather and temperature aren’t quite suitable for the task. The best times to seal are late spring, early summer, and early fall when temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and above for 24 hours. Additionally, it must be dry outside because rain readily ruins newly applied sealant.
- Not washing the driveway before applying the sealant is another error people make when sealing aged concrete. The performance of the concrete is affected when dirt, dust, and other contaminants become trapped under the sealant.
- The last mistake is neglecting your driveway once it has been cemented. The concrete is no longer shielded if the sealant is not reapplied at the appropriate intervals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Surfaces Should I Seal?
The exterior concrete of any area where there are freeze-thaw cycles. In some places, sealing concrete is necessary to achieve specific goals including stain resistance, dust reduction, abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, or maintaining a pleasing look.
What Should Concrete Be Sealed With?
Use reactive penetrating sealants or acrylic-resin sealants to prevent water and de-icing salts. Use silicone if you also wish to repel oil stains (a type of reactive penetrating chemical sealant).
How Long Can My Sealant Last?
Reactive chemical sealants endure the longest since they permeate the concrete and degrade only if the concrete surface itself degrades. This sometimes could take ten years or more.
An epoxy or urethane system, which typically lasts 5 to 10 years depending on traffic exposure, can provide comparable performance. The shortest performance life is provided by acrylic-resin sealants, which is typically 1 to 3 years.
Can I Apply A Sealant Myself?
Yes.Using basic tools like a paint roller or pump-up sprayer, you can apply sealants. These include reactive penetrating sealants, acrylic-resin sealants, 50%-solids urethanes, and 50%-solids epoxies. Although, high-performance sealants like polyaspartic urethanes, polyureas, and 100%-solids epoxies need to be professionally installed using specialized equipment and application methods.