Why You Should Seal Stamped Concrete
Whether you're having a beautiful new stamped concrete patio, walkway or pool deck poured or you already have one, it's important that you protect your investment. The right sealer will keep your stamped concrete looking great for many years, or rejuvenate an existing stamped surface. Sealing a concrete can be compared to waxing your car, wearing sunscreen or spraying Scotchgard™ on your favorite shirt. A sealer will improve the appearance of stamped concrete, prevent fading caused by UV rays and protect it from stains and harmful chemicals.
Sealing after new concrete has cured and every few years for existing concrete is recommended. Stamped concrete that has been sealed will have a rich color and glossy sheen if desired. Sealers are available in many different gloss levels, ranging from no-gloss to high-gloss. A tinted sealer can even be used that will further enhance the concrete's color. Additionally, a sealer will help prevent efflorescence, which is a white powdery residue that can build-up on the surface. Slip resistant sealers, which are especially useful around a pool, are also available, but may not be necessary since the concrete is already textured.
Protection against stains is another benefit of sealing stamped concrete. Your stamped patio, walkway or pool deck will be subjected to many things that can leave stains on the surface, chlorine, salt, chemicals, leaves, dirt, fertilizer, pet urine, and more. The right sealer will keep all of these from penetrating the surface of the concrete and leaving an unsightly stain.
If you live in a cold climate, a third reason for sealing your stamped concrete is that it will reduce the chance of freeze thaw damage. Freeze thaw damage can cause cracks or surface flaking and happens when water penetrates the concrete surface and then expands as it freezes. A sealer will keep water from sinking into your concrete. Water should bead up on the surface of the concrete if your sealer is doing its job. If this is not happening, it's time to reseal your stamped concrete. High traffic areas will likely need resealing on a frequent basis.
In summary, a sealer will enhance and protect your new or existing stamped concrete. When properly sealed and/or resealed the service life of concrete is greatly extended. Make sure that the contractor you hire seals your patio, walkway or pool deck with the appropriate product and at the appropriate time. Experts recommend using a penetrating or film-forming sealer outdoors and selecting a more natural, matte finish. Keep in mind that it is very important that sealers used on exterior concrete allow both air and moisture to pass through. With new stamped concrete, a sealer should be applied after curing. Most contractors have success waiting 7 to 14 days, but the official time for curing is 28 days.
Learn more about sealing concrete pool decks.