Preventing Decorative Concrete Sealer Problems

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Before and after a concrete sealer

Decorative concrete can provide endless design options, but in order to protect those designs, sealer is a must. Even so, decorative concrete sealer problems can be a common issue. In fact, problems with sealer are among the most common reasons for contractors to be called back to a jobsite. When a concrete sealer does not perform or look in the way expected, the reason is usually due to applying the sealer in non-ideal conditions, over-applying it, or a buildup of multiple coats of sealer. Here are some of the most common decorative concrete sealer problems and how they can be prevented.


Bubbles that appear in sealer usually indicate it was over-applied. It is vital for the sealer to be applied thinly to avoid supporting the presence of bubbles. When a concrete sealer is applied too thickly, there is no opportunity for displaced air to escape. Rather than applying one heavy coat of sealer, it is much better to apply two thin coats, with the first coat acting as a type of primer. Most of that first layer will actually disappear into the surface of the concrete. It is the second coat that will provide the gloss, color enhancement, and even finish required for an optimal result. While this can be more time-consuming than applying one heavy coat, the result is worth it.


Bubbling of concrete sealer can also be an issue if the sealer is applied in hot temperatures or if the concrete is located in direct sunlight. During such conditions, the sealer may develop a skin prior to the solvent evaporating, which can cause bubbles to form in the surface. The best way to prevent this type of problem from occurring is to apply the sealer during the coolest part of the day and ensuring you are following the manufacturer’s rate of recommended coverage.

Flaking or Peeling Decorative Concrete Sealer

In other instances, the concrete sealer may begin to peel, flake, or turn white, sometimes referred to as blushing. This can occur when the sealer is applied to concrete that is too fresh or wet. When this happens, it becomes impossible for the sealer to bond with the surface of the concrete. Instead, the sealer will float on a film of water trapped on the concrete. Over-application can also result in blushing. To avoid such problems, it is important to wait until the concrete is completely dry to apply the sealer while also ensuring you are following the manufacturer’s recommendations for coverage rate.