Stamped concrete is purchased as much for it's 'look', as it is for it's durability. Without a regular maintenance schedule of sealing to protect the surface, the 'look' of the product will quickly deteriorate under assault from the harsh Canadian winters and the widespread use of salt as a de-icer by the municipalities. It really defeats the purpose of having stamped concrete installed in the first place if it soon deteriorates, due to a lack of maintenance, and the product actually becomes an eyesore.
Regular resealing with a concrete sealer is the most important thing that can be done to protect the surface finish from damage.
First, you need a high quality sealer that is concrete specific. Endura Stamped Concrete uses a sealer that is manufactured in Canada, and is designed to deal with Canadian conditions. The durability of this sealer is unmatched in the industry and it is used by most established stamped concrete installers. We have an integral anti-slip additive which will give the traction required on snow and ice. In fact, we will not seal without the anti-slip additive as we feel the minimal cost of the additive itself is well worth the extra safety and security it provides in low friction conditions.
Sealer application procedures are also critical. The area must be powerwashed with a high pressure power washer THE DAY BEFORE sealing is to take place. This is to ensure that there is absolutely no trace moisture left on the stamped concrete slab, especially in the 'control cut' lines. Otherwise, moisture will react with the sealer and leave a 'white film' over the affected spots after the sealer has dried and the only way to get rid of this 'haze' is to reseal that area again.
Sealing of stamped concrete cannot take place if the temperature is very high, over 35C, the UV index is very high, or if there is high humidity. It is possible that if sealing is performed on stamped concrete in one or more of the above mentioned conditions, the sealer will, after it has dried, start showing bubbles. The 'bubbling sealer' phenomenon does not affect the integrity of the sealer itself but it is certainly unsightly to look at. Again, the cure is to reseal the areas involved until the bubbles dissolve and re-emulsify within the sealer.
Sealing of stamped concrete must be done with 2-3 light coats, instead of one heavy coat. This ensures the carrier can evaporate more easily and quickly and leave a solid film of sealer on the surface of the stamped concrete. A too thick coating of sealer also promotes bubbling in certain instances.
Tinted sealer is available through Endura Stamped Concrete if you would like to change the colour of the slab. It is a fairly simple procedure that will make an old, stamped concrete surface look like it was completely removed and replaced with a different one.
Concrete sealer is extremely toxic to the surrounding landscaping and will quickly kill expensive plants and flowers if they are close to the area being sealed and are unprotected. At Endura Stamped Concrete, we like to go a little overboard when protecting the adjacent landscaping with lots of plywood sheets and tarps. We think, frankly, that it's a little irresponsible to be sealing stamped concrete and not think to provide even a minimum of protection to the surrounding, and usually very expensive, landscaping.
STAMPED CONCRETE SEALING AND REPAIRS