Tips for Sealing Concrete Patios
Even though concrete patios aren’t exposed to vehicle traffic or deicing salts like concrete driveways are, they still take plenty of punishment. Backyard barbecues, outdoor campfires, heavy foot traffic, and unrelenting sunshine can cause patios to fade, discolor, and abrade if they are left unprotected. A good sealer can keep new concrete patios looking great for many years to come and even improve the appearance of existing patios, especially if they are topically colored. If you aren’t already offering sealing as a routine part of your concrete patio maintenance plan, here’s what you need to know to get started. 

Prepare the Surface

Before sealing a new or existing concrete patio, the surface must be free of dirt, oil stains, old coatings, and any other substance that might inhibit sealer penetration. Newly placed slabs typically require very little preparation, while existing surfaces may need to be power washed with soap and water and possibly acid etched. For more guidance, see Preparing Surfaces for Sealer Application .
 Watch Your Timing

When you apply a patio sealer is almost as important as good surface prep. As a general rule, wait to apply outdoor sealers when the temperature is between 50 to 90 degrees F so the sealer will cure properly (see The Effects of Temperature on Sealer Reactivity ) . Also make plans to apply sealer when the patio won’t be in use for a few days, since dry times can range from one to three days. Allow new concrete patios to cure completely (typically 28 days) before sealer application.
Choose the Best Sealer for Your Project

When choosing a sealer, make sure the product is compatible with the decorative concrete patio surface you plan to apply it to and the type of finish you want to achieve (such as matte vs. high gloss). Acrylic sealers are well-suited for outdoor use because they are UV resistant, non-yellowing and breathable. If you don't want a sheen on the patio surface and prefer a natural look, a penetrating sealer will provide good protection without forming a surface film. See other important factors you should evaluate when choosing a sealer appropriate for your project.
Use the Right Tools

Many sealers for concrete patios can be applied using simple tools, such as a paint roller of pump-up sprayer. As a general guide, solvent-based sealers are best applied by spray while water-based sealers are best applied by roller. If the patio is textured or stamped, be sure to use a roller with a fairly thick nap so you can work it into the depressions. Whatever method you choose, always follow the manufacturer’s recommended application guidelines and coverage rates. For more application tips see Choosing the Best Applicator for Concrete Sealer .
Decorative Concrete Fair
Expand your skills, build your knowledge, and grow your earning potential at Brickform’s 2018 Decorative Concrete Fair, happening August 21-23 in Springfield, Ill. Attend instructional demonstrations with the biggest names in the industry, and take part in lively discussions and round tables. Register today
Saltwater-Resistant Pool Deck Sealer
SurfKoat’s line of Deco Guard sealers provide superior water and salt resistance compared to standard sealers, making them a great choice for around saltwater swimming pools. Available in low sheen, high gloss and water-based formulas.