Concrete Sealer Still Sticky? (Here’s What You Need To Know)

Sealers do a good job of protecting concrete surfaces from wear. They also enhance slip resistance while making the concrete easier to clean. Due to these benefits, sealers are a must-use in every concrete project.

When applying a concrete sealer, there are a few things that can go wrong. For instance, the sealer may remain sticky even after the normal drying time lapses.

If you have found yourself in such a scenario, here are some of the mistakes you may have made during installation and the ideal remedies.

Concrete Sealer

What Causes Concrete Sealer to Be Sticky After Application?

There are three main reasons why concrete may still feel sticky after application;

• The 2 Part Ingredients Weren’t Mixed Thoroughly

Some concrete sealers are sold as a 2-part epoxy or polyurethane. If you read the instructions, you will see the ratios recommended by the manufacturer and more guidance on how to mix these two ingredients.

If you mix a 2-part epoxy lightly, the desired reaction may not occur and the concrete sealer may remain sticky even after the required drying time.

The Solution – Use a Mechanical Mixer

Whenever you are preparing a concrete sealer, the best way to ensure all ingredients are mixed thoroughly is by using a mechanical mixer. This will ensure all product on the walls and at the bottom is mixed with the other ingredient.

If your concrete sealer is still sticky because you did not mix it thoroughly, scoop off a significant amount of the tacky product. It’s okay to leave some behind.

Then re-apply a fresh coat of concrete sealer which has been thoroughly mixed this time. Give it time and watch it dry.

• Using Too Much Sealer in Every Coat

Some people assume that applying too much sealer will create a stronger and thicker layer over the concrete. But that’s not true. When you apply too much sealer than needed in every coat, you will end up with an extra product that will not dry.

The Solution – Don’t Be Too Generous When Applying the Sealer

As tempting as it may be, don’t soak the concrete surface with excess sealer. Use only enough product for every coat. This will prevent the tackiness issue and you won’t be wasting product.

In instances where concrete sealer is sticky because it was applied in excess, you can fix this issue by striping off the tacky sealer and cleaning the floor. You may apply an extra coat of concrete sealer to make up for any patches that didn’t dry.

• Low Temperatures

It’s pretty obvious that if the temperatures are low, the concrete sealer will take much longer to dry. Like other types of sealants, concrete sealers dry through evaporation.

If the temperatures are low, very little evaporation will be occurring every minute. That’s why you may notice the sealer still being sticky hours after it was expected to dry.

The Solution – Turn Up the Heat

You can turn up the HVAC system if the concrete sealer is indoors. This will increase the temperatures and speed up the drying process.

Alternatively, if the concrete sealer is being used outdoors, you can make use of electric blankets to heat the sealer. If you don’t have access to either, you will just have to be patient and wait for the sealer to dry on its own.

How Long Does Concrete Sealer Take to Dry?

Most concrete sealers dry within 1 to 3 hours. However, they will fully cure in between 1 to 7 days. Because we live in places with different climates and environmental conditions, you should expect your concrete sealer to be dry to the touch within 12 hours. Within the first 12 to 24 hours, it may look ‘wet’ or glossy. This is very normal.

You should be concerned if the concrete sealer is still sticky after 24 to 48 hours of application. In case the concrete sealer is taking an abnormally long period to dry, do not be quick to remove or clean it off.

Take a step back and evaluate what you may have done wrong. That’s the best way to ensure you don’t repeat such a mistake in the future.

Is Sticky Concrete Sealer Most Likely to Fail?

A concrete sealer that’s still sticky days after application isn’t something you should take lightly. If left on the concrete for too long, it will eventually lead to failure.

Concrete sealers are quite acidic and they can affect other areas where the product has dried correctly. As if that’s not enough, sticky sealer can clog the pores in concrete thus breaking the bond between these two materials and reducing adhesive strength.

If you notice that your concrete sealer is still sticky, make arrangements on how you can strip off the excess product, clean the surface to remove any remnants and apply a fresh coat.

Do You Have to Remove Concrete Sealer If It’s Sticky?

Not really. if you are dealing with a problem like flaking or peeling then removal will be the best solution.

If the concrete sealer doesn’t want to dry up, the best course of action is to strip the excess product and re-apply a new coat. You don’t have to use products like Xylene to remove the entire film of the concrete sealer.

What are Other Common Concrete Sealer Problems?

Concrete sealants remaining sticky isn’t the only problem you can run into when dealing with this product. There are a bunch of issues that are also common and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these obstacles and how you can avoid them.

Some of the other issues you can experience with concrete sealers include;

• Formation of cloudy patches beneath the sealer – This usually occurs when too much moisture is trapped under the sealer during application. This problem can be solved by reactivating the sealer so that the moisture can escape.

• Efflorescence – It’s when salt deposits form on the concrete sealer. If not dealt with, efflorescence can lead to delamination. To fix this issue, these salt deposits should be scrubbed with water. Because they are soluble, they can easily be absorbed by water.

• Peeling – If a concrete sealer is peeling then it must have been applied to a weak substrate. with peeling there is no option but to remove the sealer, clean off the concrete and re-apply it.

• Blistering – The sealer will blister if it’s applied to concrete that’s too hot. To fix blisters, you have to pop them and apply a fresh coat of sealant.

How Can You Prevent Concrete Sealer from Being Sticky?

There are a few tips during installation that can prevent the sealer from being sticky. One of these tips is to wipe off excess sealer every 20 minutes after application.

Most people treat sealers like surface coatings. Sealers shouldn’t be left to dry on their own. After applying it over concrete, give it twenty minutes and wipe off any excess.

This ensures there is no extra residue that remains tacky after the sealer has penetrated the concrete and dried.

Will Concrete Sealer Be Sticky If Applied Too Thick?

Applying thick coats of concrete sealer won’t cause it to be sticky. However, it will lead to several other problems. For instance, bubbles may form inside the dried sealant.

Also, heavy applications of sealer can trap too much moisture inside the concrete thus affecting adhesion. You should avoid applying concrete sealer when it’s too thick. Every coat of sealer should at least be 5 mils thick.

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