How to Remove Concrete Sealer – Tutorial for Concrete Strippers
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Before you can reseal or repaint a concrete surface, you need to remove any remaining sealer. Any old sealer may prevent your new layers from adhering properly, and it may also cause unpleasant discoloration. Fortunately, removing concrete sealer is actually a very easy process. In this article, you will find a review of the best concrete sealer strippers and a guide to using them. With this information, you can easily and effectively restore your concrete surfaces to tip-top condition.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Concrete Sealer?
- 2 Why Do You Need to Remove Concrete Sealers?
- 3 Different Types of Concrete Sealer Strippers
- 4 Our Concrete Sealer Stripper Recommendations
- 5 How to Use Concrete Sealer Strippers
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Concrete Sealer?
Concrete, much like our skin, is absorbent because it has many pores. This means any salty aspects or anything of moisture which can bring out discolorations, or stains, not to mention the impairments like chips or cracks through which grass or other things might grow, or the surface might become unlevel. A concrete sealer prevents exactly those problems from happening but it can be quite a difficult thing to work with.
This means that truly understanding the component that is a concrete sealant, how it is applied, how it works, and how to remove it is so important to understand before you attempt anything. Laborious, tedious, strenuous are all understated words to use when it comes to the removal of this product. The concrete Sealer was designed to create an external barrier of protection for the concrete. It helps to preserve the durability which lengthens the time in between maintenance or removal.
Types of Concrete Sealer
There are two primary types of concrete sealer, topical and penetrating. The topical kind is set over the top of the surface of the concrete and makes a strong protective layer, which could easily be described as being similar to a varnish due to the shiny finish as the result. As it is only an overlaying coat, it is a simpler task to remove this type. The second type of concrete sealer is a penetrating one. This means the sealer really gets into the pores of the concrete.
Once the sealer is in the pores, it dries and no moisture may enter the pores. As a result, your concrete is protected from the inside out.
There are two further types of concrete sealers that differ in terms of their base. Water-based concrete sealers will require a slightly different removal method than solvent-based concrete sealers.
Water-Based Concrete Sealers
On the other hand, a sealer that is water-based is a much easier task to remove. This makes a happy new homeowner who did not even put the sealer there in the first place. If you are a first-time concrete sealant user then this is probably your best bet because it is more simple to apply and safer to handle and you only need a sponge and some soap water to clean up the sealer if it is still wet.
Solvent-Based Concrete Sealers
Concrete sealers which are based on solvents are slightly more complicated to use, but it is more reliably durable than the water ones, not to mention its ability to stick to the concrete surface. Solvent-based sealers have a lot of VOCs and solvents in general and they might be more difficult to remove but that is also because it lasts longer.
The only downside is the need for high-strength chemicals which can exude some seriously strong and unpleasant smells and vapors.
Determining the Type of Concrete Sealant
You can easily tell if your concrete surface has a sealer by the shiny finish on the outer layer. Before you can remove your concrete sealer, you need to know which type you are dealing with. The type of sealer will determine the method you need to use to remove it. There is a very simple way to figure out what type of sealer you have on your concrete surface. Follow these simple steps to determine what sealer you have:
- Use a small amount of Xylene on a little area.
- Let the Xylene sit for around 20 seconds.
- Wipe the surface carefully.
- A smooth and dry surface indicates a water-based sealer.
- A sticky and viscid surface indicates a solvent-based sealer.
Why Do You Need to Remove Concrete Sealers?
If a concrete sealer is as amazing as previously mentioned, with all of the protective barrier’s glory, why would you want to remove it? After a while, your concrete sealer is likely to start to deteriorate, particularly if it is a heavily trafficked surface like a driveway. Before you can reapply your sealer, it is essential that you remove the traces of the old one. If you do not, you may end up with spots where the new sealer will not stick or patches of discoloration.
Different Types of Concrete Sealer Strippers
What precisely is a concrete stripper? Well, it is one of the most often used methods for removing a concrete sealer. Do not be mistaken if the label says eco-friendly, as there are still a lot of chemicals that can be harmful to your lungs and overall health.
There are three types of concrete strippers that each have a different effect, and they are caustic strippers, solvent-based strippers, and biochemical strippers.
The chemical makeup of this product is a PH alkaline of a high level. It is perfect to be used as a remover for paints like enamel, alkyds, or latex. Unfortunately, it is not as effective with epoxy, acrylic, or polyurethane coats which typically are all about resisting caustic anything. Luckily, it is a safer option to use compared to a product that is solvent-based.
If you are looking for efficiency and fast-acting, and drying, in a concrete sealer remover then look no further than a solvent-based option. Luckily, it will not be as difficult as it is the more sought-after option because of the convenience. Less is more with a solvent-based stripper because just a tiny amount will shock you at how much surface area it can cover and strip the concrete sealer right off.
The best and most often used version of this product is the one that’s based on methylene-chloride, but there are a few options to choose from in the product range. There are ups and downs with everything and in this case, the negative side is that solvent-based strippers are quite toxic and you will need to make sure you take the appropriate safety precautions. On the upside, it is a fast-acting product that offers immense convenience.
This is something which more people should look into. If you are not crunched for time and you have a hankering to improve the state of our planet then this is your best bet. It is a plant-based product that is celebrated as the safest to use of all strippers. It may not be the most effective or impactful of all the strippers but at least it’s not contributing to the impact on mother nature.
Our Concrete Sealer Stripper Recommendations
There are so many concrete sealer removal products on the market, but the trick is finding the right one for you. Naturally, a determination of what type of sealer to look for is needed first but after you have done that you can sieve through our compilation of the different products on the market.
The Best Versatile Concrete Sealer Stripper: AQUAMIX Sealer & Coating Remover
This sealer and coating remover is the most versatile option because it can effectively remove epoxy, paint, adhesives, sealers, finishes, and coatings. You can use this product for even the toughest projects, and it is non-flammable. If you are looking for an eco-friendly option, this is not it. It will break down the toughest layers of adhesive and grout from a range of surfaces.
- Removes even the toughest sealers, adhesives, and epoxies
- Highly effective
- Harmful if swallowed or inhaled
- You need to wear eye protection
The Best Eco-Friendly Concrete Sealer Stripper: DUMOND Smart Strip
If safety for you and the environment is a top concern for you, look no further than this eco-friendly stripper. Although it is slightly more expensive than other options, this stripper will effectively remove almost any coating from a range of surfaces. You can use this concrete sealer remover on water, oil, and solvent-based sealers without leaving toxic residues and with a relatively low odor. The results are just as good as traditional solvent-based strippers without toxicity and environmental damage.
- Eco-friendly option
- Biodegradable formula
- No residue
- Highly effective on a range of surfaces and products
- Slightly more pricey
- May need to apply a few times
The Most Effective Concrete Sealer Stripper: TRU-STRIP Industrial Strength Sealer Stripper
If you are not concerned about chemical content and you simply want to get the job done, this is one of the most effective sealer strippers available. This stripper is industrial strength and is capable of removing acrylics, glues, epoxies, and urethanes from a range of surfaces. Despite the strength, this industrial sealer stripper is safe for use on most surfaces, and it is easy to apply.
- Industrial strength
- Safe on a range of surfaces
- Bighly effective
- Suitable for removing acrylics, glues, epoxies, and urethanes
- Removing epoxies and urethanes may take more time
- Fumes are flammable
How to Use Concrete Sealer Strippers
We know that simply just identifying the best product option is not enough. That is why we have made some instructions for actually removing the concrete sealer. All you need to remember is that the type of sealer you are trying to remove defines the method you will use. This will be quite a heavy-duty task, but once you are finished, your concrete surfaces will look stunning and fresh.
The first step to removing your concrete sealer is to pour your stripper onto your concrete surface. Always wear sturdy shoes when doing this, particularly if you are using a highly corrosive stripper. Use a broom to brush the sealer over your concrete to ensure all areas are covered.
Leave the stripper on your concrete surfaces for as long as the directions indicate. Following this, all you need to do is wash down your surface to remove the stripper. If you notice that some of the old sealer remains on your concrete surface, you can repeat the process a few times until you are happy with the result.
Tips and Tricks for Stripping Concrete Sealer
It may seem pretty straight forward but it might take you some time and a considerable amount of effort! In order to avoid any mishaps or mistakes, we have compiled a list of suggestions you can consider before you take on the task of removing sealers.
- Remember that you can never add less but you can always add more later on. Keep controlled with your work and only add a small amount each time.
- Sometimes all you need is to reseal the concrete again, especially if it is a solvent-based sealer.
- Make sure to always read and follow the instructions and the directions which are always on the label of the product you are using. Some of them vary in waiting time and others need extra layers.
- Using a pressure washer will make your life much easier.
- If you are not looking to hurt your arms and shoulders with excessive scrubbing, you can try to use a brush with hard or wiry bristles so that f scrapes more effectively and gets into the concrete’s pores nicely.
- Always think safety first! There are some harmful formulas and chemicals inside the chemical concrete strippers.
- Avoid the sunlight when working with concrete strippers.
- To keep the stripper active, cover it with a wet, or damp rag.
- Make sure you have protective gear like a glove, an eye mask, and a respiratory mask for any fumes which might emit from the chemical products.
Knowing how to remove your concrete sealer is an essential part of maintaining your concrete surfaces. With our easy-to-follow buying guide, you will be able to find the best concrete sealer stripper for your needs. If you follow our removal guides, you will have your concrete surfaces stripped and prepared in no time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Remove Acrylic Sealer From Concrete?
Here are a few routes you may go in order to remove a concrete sealer. One option is to mechanically or manually remove it by sanding or grinding down the sealer until it is gone, or you can use a chemical route. In order to get the optimal result, use a product that is solvent-based.
Can I Use Muriatic Acid to Remove Concrete Sealer?
Concrete acid etching, with muriatic acid, is also a great option to go with. You need to make sure you neutralize the concrete after you use a product like this.
Can I Use Vinegar to Remove Concrete Sealer?
Even though it might be environmentally friendly in so many ways, it just is not as effective as you might hope it to be.
How Long Will Concrete Sealer Last?
As with most things in life, the longevity of concrete sealers depends on the environment or any other external forces like foot traffic. A penetrating concrete sealer can last up to 25 years.