Welcome back to our blog! As you know, we always strive to provide you with information that enriches your understanding of construction materials and improves your ability to get the most life out of our products. Today, our focus is on a product that’s a favorite among professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike: the acrylic sealer. While these sealers are celebrated for their aesthetics and durability, it’s important to recognize that several factors can wear down their lifespan.
In this blog, we will delve into these factors, arming you with the knowledge to optimize your sealer’s longevity and maintain the aesthetic appeal of your sealed surfaces for as long as possible.
UNDERSTANDING SEALER LONGEVITY
Acrylic sealers are liquid membrane-forming compounds that when applied on concrete, form a thin protective film. They are typically breathable and available in a range of sheens to enhance the natural beauty of grey or decorative concrete. Acrylic sealers are available in water-based and solvent-based formulations. True-acrylic sealers are non-yellowing when exposed to UV light. The longevity of acrylic sealer depends on several factors; including the type of solids (resin) used in the sealer, the quality of the product, the application process, how well it’s maintained, and the environmental conditions the sealed surface is exposed to.
FACTORS IN ACRYLIC SEALER DEGRADATION
- Sunlight (UV Radiation): Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is one of the major causes of sealer degradation, with prolonged exposure causing discoloration, brittleness, and cracking/peeing. True-acrylic sealers are non-yellowing when exposed to UV light.
- Temperature fluctuations: Changes in temperature, particularly frequent or drastic ones, can lead the sealer to expand and contract, causing cracks/peels.
- Moisture: While sealers are designed to provide a barrier against moisture, consistent or high levels of water exposure can lead to sealer deterioration over time.
- Physical Wear & Tear: Regular to heavy foot or vehicle traffic, as well as dragging heavy objects across the surface can scratch and compromise a sealer’s integrity.
- Chemical Exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals, like harsh cleaning solutions, oils, deicing salts, and pool chemicals, can break down the sealer, causing discoloration, clouding, or even total failure of the seal.
- Improper Surface Preparation & Application: If a sealer is applied without proper surface preparation or applied too thick, it can result in premature failure. Also, applying sealer on a damp or dirty surface can prevent proper adhesion, leading to peeling or flaking over time.
- Quality of the Product: Lower-quality sealers may not have the needed resistance to UV radiation, moisture, and other environmental factors to have a long sealer life. Sealers that are engineered with UV-stable resins will not yellow when exposed to UV radiation. However, sealers that have non-UV stable resins and utilize UV inhibitors will only delay the yellowing or discoloration of the membrane.
PROPER MAINTENANCE TO EXTEND YOUR SEALER
Acrylic sealers are known for their excellent durability and protective properties, providing a robust barrier against moisture, dirt, UV radiation, and general wear and tear. However, to keep your sealed surfaces looking their best, some routine maintenance is essential.
- Regular Cleaning: Dirt and grit can act as abrasives, gradually wearing down the sealer. Regularly sweep and hose wash your sealed surfaces to prevent this. Avoid pressure washing and harsh chemical cleaners that could potentially damage the sealer.
- Prompt Stain Removal: Don’t let stains sit on the sealed surface. Many acrylic sealers will provide spill and wipe protection, but prolonged exposure could lead to discoloration and damage of the sealer.
- Reapply Sealer as Needed: Regularly inspect your sealed concrete surface for signs of wear or damage, such as peeling, flaking, or fading. When you notice these signs, it’s time to asses and determine if reapplication or rejuvenation is needed.
- Avoid Excessive Weight and Abrasion: Be mindful of the weight and type of traffic your sealed concrete surface is exposed to. Heavy vehicles, sharp objects, or abrasive materials can cause premature wear and reduce the lifespan of the sealer.
PROPER APPLICATION AND SURFACE PREP
The longevity of your acrylic sealer doesn’t solely depend on how well you maintain it after application; it starts with proper surface preparation and correct application.
- Surface Preparation: It’s crucial to ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and free of old sealer or any other material that might interfere with the new sealer’s adhesion. Following recommendations on surface preparation by the manufacturer of the specific product in question is always recommended.
- Application: Apply your acrylic sealer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, this involves using a roller or sprayer, back-rolling and applying in thin, even coats. Over-application can lead to issues like clouding, peeling, blistering, and bubbling, which will reduce the lifespan of the sealer.
RECOGNIZING WHEN TO REJUVENATE & WHEN TO REAPPLY
Finally, it’s essential to know when it’s time to rejuvenate or reapply your sealer. Indications that rejuvenation or reapplication is needed include:
- Loss of Gloss: Over time, your once shiny sealer may start to look dull. This is often the first sign that it’s time for rejuvenation.
- Surface Degradation: If you start to notice pitting, cracking, or other forms of degradation in the sealer or substrate, this is a clear signal that the sealer might need to be removed and reapplied. Exterior sealers may be rejuvenated but that will depend on the severity and type of degradation.
- Water Absorption: Acrylic sealers are membrane-forming, and therefore, water will typically sit on the surface. If you notice water soaking into the surface instead of standing/beading up, then this is a sign that your sealer is wearing off and it’s time for reapplication.
Acrylic sealers offer excellent protection and aesthetic enhancement to a variety of concrete surfaces. However, getting the most life out of your sealer relies on proper maintenance, correct application, and recognizing when it’s time for rejuvenation and reapplication.
With the myriad of variables at play, it is challenging to establish a definitive timeline on how long an acrylic sealer will last. Factors such as the quality of the sealer, the surface preparation and condition, the correctness of application, the intensity of traffic at the location, the prevailing climate, and a host of others, all converge to determine this timeframe. Please visit Concrete Network Sealer FAQ to view life expectancy based on the type of sealer you are planning to use.
As the demand for durable and low-maintenance concrete surfaces continues to grow, concrete sealers remain an essential component in preserving and protecting these investments. By understanding the factors that affect sealer longevity and implementing the tips provided in this blog, you can enjoy the benefits of a well-sealed concrete surface for an extended period.
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