To protect your concrete surfaces investment they need to be sealed. Yes, I know concrete is one of the surliest, meanest and toughest products we can manufacture and mold into a final product. It needs some TLC from time to time. A little attention is all concrete requires and it will be loyal for years and years.
The following How-To is going to explain how to seal your concrete surface.
For this example, I am going to use a new driveway, sidewalk and porch (and with most sealing applications) you are going to need the following list of items:
- Concrete Sealer
- Flat head screw driver
- Throw away pint cup, plastic cup (something that will hold sealer you need to cut in with)
- 9-inch roller frame
- 9-inch roller cover (backup recommended)
- Chit brushes – Several
- Screw in extension pole for your roller frame
- Painters Tape
- Paper Towels
- Piece of Cardboard or Plastic
- Caution Tape
- Trash Bag
Before any concrete surface can be sealed is MUST be Clean and Dry. If it is not your throwing money away and going to end up with terrible results.
We are going to assume the surface is clean and dry and we are ready to start sealing. We have purchased all our products and we are ready to go. Double check the forecast as well as look at the sky and no rain for 12 hours. Great! Let’s go!
Caution Tape the Perimeter of the Concrete to Be Sealed
Take the stakes you brought with you and hammer them into the ground around the perimeter. They do not have to be super close together but close enough so that the caution tape will not droop onto the sealed surface. The stakes just have to be solid enough to hold up the tape in a light breeze – we are not setting up a circus tent.
Once your stakes are set – tie off your tape to the first logical stake and unroll as you walk to the next one. Pull some tension on the tape and wrap it a few times around the stake. After you have wrapped it a few times, lighten up the tension on the roll. If the tape stays wrapped between your first two posts – great. If not wrap it better until it does.
Once you get the feel for the tension needed – tape it all off. When you are done taping, you are ready for step two.
Place the cardboard or plastic you brought in the center of the area to be sealed and set the concrete sealer on it.
Using the flat head screwdriver, insert it into the tabs below the outside of the lid and pry the tab outwards. Once all the tabs are sticking out you can gently remove the lid and set it on the cardboard. Take an extra CLEAN stake and stir your concrete sealer for about 60 seconds. Nothing too fast or crazy.
Drag the stake from the inside of the container to the outside to clean off the excess sealer – then set it on the cardboard.
Grab your throw away cup and a paper towel. Dip the cup into the sealer enough to allow the entrance of sealer to fill the cup up about half way. Wipe off the outside with a paper towel. Grab two of the chit brushes.
Put one in your back pocket and keep the other ready for step three.
Now you are going to cut in the concrete sealer to areas close to the home.
If you are not good at cutting in with a brush, take the time to painters tape off all areas you don’t want to have sealer on. (This doesn’t mean that once you have the tape on you don’t have to be careful.) You still do. When the sealer dries you will have to come back the next day and remove the tape.
All areas next to the home, building, porch posts or whatever it may be needs one width of brush concrete sealer applied. This will allow you to roll over with the roller in the next step but still allow you enough space to stay clear of the home etc. you don’t want sealer on.
Once you cut in to everything with your clean brush, you must then apply the sealer to the sides of exposed concrete. Yes, that means the sides of the front porch, sidewalk or driveway that is sticking out of the ground. Does this mean we HAVE to get all the way to the dirt in new construction? No. Use your best judgment in this and apply the sealer to the point you think will be backfilled then go just a smidge further.
Now that you have cut in and applied sealer to the sides of everything it is time to stand up!
Place your spent brushes on an extra piece of cardboard outside the area to be sealed and close to your vehicle so you can remove them during clean up.
You are going to assemble the roller frame and roller cover that you will use for your concrete sealing project.
Pick up the sealer and take towards the front porch. Set down on the sidewalk close to the porch. You are going to dip the roller directly into the container to obtain your sealing product.
When you bring the roller up, keep it over the container. Tap – GENTLY – the metal arm onto the side of the container to remove excess sealer. When the dripping is lessened, you are going to swing the roller from around and start sealing the top surface of the porch.
When you set your roller cover down be sure to be in the center of the porch from front to back and about a roller cover and a half (15 inches from the edge). This is due to when you first set your roller down it will have the most product in it. If you do it right next to an edge or next to where you already sealed there will be TOO MUCH sealer in one area. In this manner once you start rolling you have control of how much product goes where.
You want to apply the sealer evenly and ALWAYS keep a wet edge. This ensures there will be no time for the sealer to dry and you end up having a disconcerting line in your final product where dried sealer was covered with fresh sealer.
Once you completely seal the porch pick up your container of sealer and walk away from the porch about 10 paces while staying on the sidewalk.
Set the container down and retrieve you extension pole. Firmly attach the roller frame to the pole.
Dip your roller, tap off the excess and start rolling out the sidewalk in the same manner you did the porch.
With the extension pole attached, I like to keep a very light grip and not apply pressure to the roller. I control the direction of the roller and the speed but I allow the cover and product to ‘do its job’ and apply the sealer.
Once you have an even thin layer, it is time to reload your roller cover with product.
Continue this along the length of the sidewalk making sure too much sealer gets in the control joint grooves. (You want to end up at a groove – not start over one)
When you complete the sidewalk, it is time for the driveway.
Your driveway – if poured correctly – should look appear to be multiple large squares.
You will start closest to the garage and work one square at a time. Keeping mind of what direction you are going along with making sure you do not land lock yourself. You know – paint yourself into a corner.
Continue sealing your driveway with even amounts of sealer until square by square you are complete.
If you need to grab a drink or take a QUICK break, you can do so upon completion of an entire square of your driveway. NOT IN THE MIDDLE of one!
Whatever you do, make it quick and get back to sealing.
Once you have completely sealed everything you can then relax and take a deep breath.
Place the container on the cardboard in the street and set your rolling rig on top at an angle.
If the job was large enough to use more than one container, grab the empty. If only one container than open up a trash bag.
Take the roller and frame as a unit off the pole. Place the pole in the back of your truck and throw the frame with cover into the bag. Set the bag down, find the container lid and seal the container completely. THIS IS STILL GOOD PRODUCT as long as it is stored and sealed correctly. Set the container with the cardboard under it into your truck. Grab the trash bag and pick up all chit brushes, paper towels, plastic or anything else you may have used during the project. Once everything is in the bad, tie it off and place it into the truck.
Take a couple pictures, make sure your caution tape is up and if so head on down the road to the next one!