I have written about removing sealers but have not as yet written about the proper application of the New VOC Approved Sealers.
As anyone in this business knows already we are having serious issues with blushing of clear sealers on Stamped Concrete for many reasons. The main reasons are over-sealing and applying incompatible sealers over each other.
If you have been following this blog I have tried to keep all those interested in our progress in dealing with this issue. You know that we have been diligent in trying to find the answer to this problem.
I am happy to say that we finally have found a solution and on both fronts. Applying sealer when warranted in the past was a no brainer. You identified that a resealing was needed and either had a professional provide the service or chose to do it yourself. In either case it meant no more than opening a can of sealer and either rolling on a new coat or spraying on a coat.
It didn’t seem to matter how many times you resealed provide you followed the instructions but along came the new EPA Regulations commonly known as VOC Regulations. This was the attempt to prevent Volatile Organic Compounds from polluting the atmosphere. The EPA as I understand it reached out to the Sealer Community to ask whether changing the formulation of the sealers being used at the time would create any issues. No one seemed to think that it would and therefore they initiated the change thinking that it would not be an issue. Unfortunately it is an issue based on what we in the industry are experiencing related to blushing or whitening of sealer.
One of the problems is that the Old Sealers and New VOC Approved sealers are not compatible and therefore when applying the new sealer over the old that re-emulsifies the old sealer and when it commingles with the new sealer whitening and or blushing occurs due to the chemical compositions being incompatible and moisture being blocked from evaporating.
These problems seen to have started about 2005 and has become worse particularly during resealing. It seems that new jobs using thin coats of VOC Approved sealers work fine on new work but on older work is where the problems continually occur.
We have been working on a solution to this and can report that our removal of the older sealer and application of a New VOC Approved Sealer has produced great results. The trick is getting off the old sealer. If you hire the right sandblasting professional who blasts using water with the proper medium that you can be successful and if done correctly will solve your sealing problem for good. It is imperative that the person be used since it must be done safely and efficiently.
I have been working at finding a solution for this for about 2 years now and trust me although there are many strippers on the market to do the same thing there are many downsides to using them, the main one being not properly rinsing prior to resealing that will only reduce your chances of a successful solution but waste precious time and expense doing it. I presently have a 55 gallon drum that cost me $2,000 sitting in my warehouse that I have to pay to dispose of.
The removal old sealers effectively can only be done quickly and efficiently by a professional. These people not only use ENVIORNMENTALLY SAFE products to remove sealers but can get it done both quickly and inexpensively. In general they can remove about 2000 square feet a day at a cost from about .65-$1.00 per square foot. Allot cheaper and faster than I have been able to do it for and be comfortable that all the sealer has been removed so that the approved sealer can be applied and reapplied in the future without any issue.
If you have a newer project that you are experiencing these whitening problems it might be as simple as re- emulsifying your sealer using Xylene to allow moisture to escape that might be trapped under the sealer. If the problem is caused by using to many coats of sealer then at that point you might have to remove what has been improperly applied and start with new sealer.
Remember that thin multiple coats works best and do not opt for trying for a shiny look since to many coats are needed to achieve this look and might destroy the breathability of the sealer and therefore lock in moisture coming from below and create blushing.
Stamped Concrete installer please try to put plastic down prior to pouring, this dramatically reduces the chance of having these problems whether a job is new or resealed since it acts as a barrier from moisture getting to the surface from below.
If anyone reading this blog has any questions whether you are a Homeowner or Contractor I stand ready to help and can be reached by email at Ted@split-rok.com.
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