Exploring New Home Construction

7 Tips To Prepare Your Concrete For Sealing

Sealing concrete can be an effective way to protect it from the elements and potentially lengthen its lifespan. Before you apply concrete sealing, you need to prepare the pad. Here are the steps you should consider working through.

1. Sweep and Dust Debris

Before getting started, sweep and dust all of the debris off the concrete. These crumbs can mess up the processes explained below, and if they're still lingering on the floor when you apply the sealant, they will get in between those two elements and prevent proper adhesion.

You can use a power washer to remove dirt and debris from the concrete if you like, but let the water dry thoroughly before applying any acids, cleaners, or sealants.

2. Repair Cracks and Holes

If you're adding sealant to your cement floor, you should take advantage of the opportunity to repair the cracks and holes in your concrete. You can buy patching material that works like caulk. You just clean out the hole, and then, you press in the filler. You may need to sand it to level it with the rest of the area.

3. Test for Existing Sealant

Ideally, you don't want to add your new sealant over your old sealant. If there are remnants of old sealant, that can make your second coating uneven. As a result, you need to remove your existing sealant.

If you aren't sure if the concrete is sealed, you can test it with a few drops of muriatic acid. If the acid fizzes, that means you don't have a sealant on the existing floor. If the liquid behaves normally (no fizzing), you have a sealant on the floor.

4. Remove Sealant With Muriatic Acid

Luckily, you can work to remove the sealant using muriatic acid, so you don't have to buy two materials for this task. Start by diluting the acid in water. Be very careful; the acids can burn your skin or damage other items if you spill it on them. This is the same acid people use for etching concrete, and it is strong.  

For easy application, put the solution in a spray bottle. Then, spray the concrete with the acid and scrub.

5. Apply a Degreaser

Whether the floor has an existing sealant or not, you need to remove built up grease and oil. You can use strong dish soap with a bit of water for this purpose -- dish soap is ridiculously effective against grease. Alternatively, you can use a commercial degreaser product or a stripper designed for use with concrete.

Mop the substance you decide on, into the floor, and scrub with steel wool as needed to remove stubborn stains. For large spaces or concrete with lots of grease, you may want to use a floor cleaning machine.

6. Vacuum up the Slurry

The grease, water, and cleaner will ultimately make a slurry of residue that sits on your floor. To remove that, you can vacuum it up with a shop vac that can handle wet and dry messes.

7. Neutralize the Floor

All the old sealant, acids, cleaners, and other substances can leave a residue on your floor, and even if the floor looks clean, you still need to do a bit of prep work so the new concrete sealant sticks. You can buy neutralizers that are designed for this process. This is essentially like doing a thorough rinse of your floor, but it's more effective. Use a clean mop and water to apply the neutralizer.

Finally, you can apply the sealant. To get help with any of these steps, contact a professional concrete sealer.