Summer is upon us again, and building owners and businesses alike are getting ready to host outside events and so are thinking about prepping their concrete for protection and aesthetics. Sealing your concrete IS an essential step in maintaining its durability, appearance, and lifespan; however, it’s crucial to choose the right time to complete this task to ensure the sealer’s optimal performance. But which season is really the best time to seal your concrete with an acrylic sealer? Well, let’s dive into that question to find an answer!
WHAT IS AN ACRYLIC SEALER?
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 gray or decorative concrete. Acrylic sealers are available in water-based and solvent-based formulations for both interior and exterior applications. True acrylic sealers are also non-yellowing when exposed to UV light.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING WHEN TO SEAL CONCRETE WITH AN ACRYLIC SEALER
- Temperatures: The ideal temperature range for sealing concrete is 50° F through 80° F (10° C – 27° C). At these temps, the sealer can cure and adhere properly to the concrete surface. Avoid sealing your concrete during extreme temperatures [over 90° F (32° C], as it can lead to improper curing and blistering or bubbling, especially when solvent-based sealers are used. When the concrete surface is too hot, it can lead to flash-set and whitening of the sealer which can cause improper adhesion and delamination.
- Humidity: High humidity levels can slow down the curing process, possibly reducing the adhesion, and may lead to issues such as blistering, whitening, and delamination.
- Weather: Concrete sealers need a dry surface for proper application, and so you should avoid sealing if rain is expected within 24 hours of application. Additionally, try to choose a day with little or no wind, as strong winds can introduce debris and dust onto the freshly sealed surface. Strong winds can also lead to premature curing where the surface of the sealer has dried before the sealer had a chance to properly adhere to the surface of the concrete.
- Extended Daylight Hours: Days get longer the closer to summer you get. Whereas this isn’t necessary for sealing, it does give you more time to complete your sealing project during daylight, making it easier to see and address any imperfections or inconsistencies in the sealer application.
- Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Be sure to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific product you are using; most include information about what factors you need to be aware of. Also, choose a time when you can allow the sealer to cure without being disturbed by foot or vehicle traffic.
REGIONAL GUIDE ACROSS THE USA
- Northeast: Spring and Early Fall: The Northeast experiences harsh winters with heavy snowfall, making it crucial to seal your concrete during the warmer months. Spring and early fall are the best times to seal concrete with acrylic sealers in this region, as they offer moderate temperatures and lower humidity levels.
- Southeast: Late Winter, Early Spring and Fall: In the Southeast, summers can be extremely hot and humid. Late winter, early spring, and fall offer the most suitable conditions for sealing concrete in the Southeast, with temperatures ranging from 50° F to 80° F (10° C to 27° C). Sealing your concrete during this time allows for proper curing and maximum protection.
- Midwest: Spring and Fall: The Midwest experiences a wide range of temperature fluctuations throughout the year. Both spring and fall offer the most moderate temperatures and lower humidity levels, making them the ideal seasons to seal concrete in this region.
- Southwest: Winter, Spring and Fall: Summers in the Southwest can be scorching, with temperatures often exceeding 100° F (38° C). These extreme conditions can negatively impact the curing process of concrete sealers, making it advisable to avoid sealing during the summer months. Winter, spring, and fall offer milder temperatures and lower humidity levels in the Southwest, making them the perfect seasons for sealing concrete. Sealing during these seasons will ensure optimal curing and protection for your concrete surfaces.
- Pacific Northwest: Late Spring and Early Fall: The Pacific Northwest is known for its wet weather, especially in their winters and springs. High levels of rain and humidity can interfere with the curing process of concrete sealers, making it essential to wait for drier conditions before sealing your concrete. Late spring and early fall tend to offer drier and milder conditions in the Pacific Northwest, making them the best seasons to seal concrete. During this time, you’ll have a better chance of proper curing and maximum protection for your concrete surfaces.
After discussing the factors you need to look for and the regional location of the project, in broad terms, Spring is in fact the best time of year to seal concrete. With its moderate temperatures and humidity levels, it tends to provide ideal conditions for the application and curing of sealers. However, now that you hopefully have a better understanding of what is needed for sealing concrete, you can select the perfect time to get your space ready. So, grab your sealer, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to have some fun in the sun while ensuring your concrete surfaces are protected!
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