Most people power wash their concrete driveways and sidewalks to remove the accumulation of contaminants, mud, and moss. While this will surely make your concrete look better, you’ll probably be removing the concrete sealer that protects it. So, should you seal the concrete after power washing?
The answer is yes, you should. You can see or feel that the concrete sealer has been removed or damaged during the power washing process, so you’ll need to reseal it. If your concrete is old or is starting to show signs of damage, sealing it can help prolong its service life.
Concrete sealing also helps to prevent dirt accumulation and makes it easier to clean concrete in the future. Leaving your concrete unprotected after power washing increases the risk of permanent damage. Keep reading to get more information on why you should seal your concrete driveways and sidewalks after power washing.
Why Should You Seal Concrete After Power Wash?
Like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to your stamped concrete after it’s been power washed. But if you want to keep it looking its best, you should seal it. Here’s why:
Prevent Staining and Fading
After power-washing your concrete, you should seal it to prevent staining and fading. Unsealed concrete is more susceptible to mold. Not only does this make your concrete look bad, but it can also be dangerous for your family if you have young children who play on it.
Restore the Surface’s Protective Layer
Power washing removes dirt build-up and the protective layer from concrete surfaces. This protective layer helps prevent fading and staining, so replacing it after power washing is necessary.
Sealing the concrete afterward will help create a new protective layer and give the concrete surface a fresh look. Sealers should be chosen carefully, as some sealers can cause staining or fading.
Preserve the Concrete Color
Surface seals can be removed by power washing, but they will not be prevented from reappearance. When you power washes your concrete, it removes the top layer of the cement, which can cause the color to fade. After power washing, concrete should be sealed to preserve its color and make it easier to maintain.
Makes Cleaning Easier
After power washing your concrete, seal it. Sealing concrete prevents it from weathering, staining, and cracking. Also, it facilitates further cleaning. Normally, it is difficult to remove dirt and grime from unsealed concrete. Yet, pressure washers or hoses can easily clean sealed concrete.
Repel Water and Other Elements
Durability is one of the biggest reasons concrete should be sealed after power washing. Not only does it help to repel water and other elements, but it also protects the concrete from weathering, making it last longer.
These are some reasons you should seal your concrete after power washing. You should also decide which sealer is suitable for your project.
Does Pressure Wash Remove Concrete Seal?
Concrete sealers protect your concrete surfaces from weathering, staining, and other damaging elements. But what happens if you pressure wash your concrete? Will the pressure washer remove the sealer?
The answer is yes, pressure washing can remove or damage your concrete sealer. A high-pressure water blasts away the sealer, revealing the bare concrete beneath. This can be a great way to prepare concrete for a new coat of sealer or paint.
What Do You Put On Sealed Concrete After Pressure Washing?
Pressure washing your sealed concrete driveway or patio is a great way to keep it looking clean and new. But after pressure washing, what do you apply to sealed concrete? A solvent-based silane-siloxane sealer (such as Armour SX5000) might be the most effective option.
This sealer penetrates deep into the concrete, forming a long-lasting barrier against water and other elements, and it provides ten times more active ingredients with a natural, unsealed appearance. It also helps to resist staining and fading, and it won’t change the color or appearance of the concrete.
What Can Happen If the Concrete Remains Unsealed After Power Wash?
One important step that should not be forgotten when power washing your concrete is sealing the concrete surface afterward. Failure to do so can result in several problems, including:
- Oil stains: Oil stains are one of the most challenging types to remove from concrete. They can be caused by various sources, including car leaks, grease, and even rain. Once an oil stain has set in, it can be complicated to remove.
Power washing may seem like an obvious solution, but if the concrete is not sealed correctly, the high-pressure water can cause the oil to spread and penetrate deeper into the concrete.
- Stubborn sticky residues: If you’ve ever power washed your concrete patio or driveway, you may have noticed that a sticky residue is sometimes left behind. This can be frustrating, as it can be difficult to remove and may even attract dirt and dust.
When concrete is sealed, a barrier prevents water and other liquids from seeping in and causing damage. Even so, the concrete will become porous and absorbent if the sealant is not applied correctly or wears away over time.
- Fading or chalking: Fading happens when the color of the concrete starts to lighten or fade. Chalking occurs when the concrete surface becomes powdery. Both types of damage can happen if the concrete is not sealed after power washing.
- Efflorescence: Efflorescence is a white powdery substance that can form on concrete surfaces. It is caused by water moving through the concrete and carrying dissolved minerals to the surface. The minerals are left behind when the water evaporates, forming a white crust.
This is more likely to happen after power washing the concrete without sealing it. Power washing removes the top layer of sealant from the concrete, exposing it to moisture and making it more susceptible to efflorescence.
- Etching from salt or other chemicals: Etching happens when chemicals in rainwater or snowmelt react with the calcium in concrete, causing a dull, frosted appearance.
In extreme cases, etching can even eat away at the surface of the concrete, causing pits and cracks. Fortunately, sealing your concrete will help to prevent etching by creating a barrier that protects the calcium from the reaction.
So if you’re power washing your concrete, seal it afterward to prevent any of these problems. A suitable sealant will last several years, so it’s worth the investment.
Does Sealing Concrete Prevent Cracks After Power Wash?
Cracks in concrete are unsightly and can pose a safety hazard. But did you know that cracks can also allow moisture to seep in, leading to further damage? That’s why sealing any concrete that’s been power washed is imperative.
Sealing creates a barrier that helps to protect the concrete from water damage, cracking and other types of wear and tear. It also makes it easier to clean the concrete in the future. And, if you get cracks in your sealant, they will be much less noticeable than on unsealed concrete.
How Long Should You Wait to Seal the Concrete After Power Washing?
You must wait the necessary period before reapplying the sealant after power washing. If the sealant is applied too soon, it will not adhere properly and will not be as effective at protecting the concrete from weathering and staining.
Most types of sealant need to be applied to dry concrete completely, so it is important to wait for all water remaining on the concrete surface to evaporate.
Depending on the temperature and humidity, this can take anywhere from two to four hours. Once the concrete is completely dry, you can apply the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
When Should You Power Wash Your Sealed Concrete?
Concrete can become dull and grimy over time, even when sealed. Power washing is an effective solution if you want to restore the original luster of your concrete. But, you should take care not to damage the sealant. For best results, power wash your sealed concrete every two years.
When power washing, use a low setting and hold the nozzle about a foot away from the surface. Start at the top and work your way down in a consistent pattern. Rinse any cleaner left behind and let the surface dry completely before walking on it or applying any new sealant.
Is it Worth it to Power-Wash Sealed Concrete?
Sealed concrete is a durable and low-maintenance choice for flooring, but it can still benefit from occasional concrete cleaning. Power washing is one method of cleaning sealed concrete, but it must be done with the right equipment and techniques to avoid damaging the surface.
For best results, use a pressure washer with adjustable settings and start with the lowest setting. Work in small sections while moving it back and forth. Apply a gentle stream of water to loosen dirt and grime, then move to a higher pressure setting to remove any remaining residue.
Rinse the area thoroughly afterward to remove any soap or cleaner that could dull the sealant. With proper care, power concrete washing can help keep sealed concrete looking fresh for a long time.
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