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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The origin of this phrase traces its roots back to ancient Greece, but the speaker might just as well have been talking about modern stamped concrete. Once that elusive beauty is captured, the trick is to properly maintain your stamped concrete so it remains sound and looks good for many years to come.
Common Causes of Staining
There are many contaminants that can stain concrete or acrylic sealers. Some of the common sources include:
Your concrete sealer is durable, resilient and attractive, but it requires some basic effort to minimize stains throughout its serviceable life. Some suggestions include:
Don’t Jump the Gun on Stripping
If you’re sealer is looking a little worn, don’t jump to the conclusion that it needs to be removed. Strippers contain harsh chemicals that pose a health risk, are harmful to lawns and landscaping, and produce residue that can’t be hosed down the drain. As a result, stripping or removal of a concrete sealer should be a last resort.
There is a common misperception that when a decorative sealer loses its gloss, it has also worn away. But decorative sealers can lose their gloss long before they lose the ability to protect your concrete from stains, freeze/thaw cycles, and other means of damage. As a result, concrete sealers are often applied with greater frequency than necessary and tend to “build up.”
Over time, this build up can cause problems of its own, including:
Try a Repair First
If your solvent-based sealer has bubbled or exhibits signs of whitening and delamination, the best advice is to repair the coating rather than remove it. These lacquer systems can frequently be re-paired with careful use of xylene (or xylol).
This process will solve most of the common sealer issues. Some localized spots may require more than one treatment.