Care and Maintenance for Concrete Countertop Sealers

You’re listening to Direct Colors Podcast Episode 14 – Care and Maintenance for Concrete Countertop Sealers. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for joining us. Our customers often ask us how they can best take care of their concrete countertop sealers and keep them looking great. We’ve given some thought to this question and here to tell us more is Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner.

Amie Nolen: I’m Amie Nolen and today we’re talking with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner about caring for and maintaining concrete countertop sealers.  Welcome Shawna.

Shawna Turner: Thank you.

So what’s the most common damage to countertop sealers after application?

ST:  It has to be placing hot pans either directly out of the oven or off the stove onto the countertop surface, Amie. Excessive heat can do some serious damage to a countertop. While we always recommend exercising a reasonable caution while using sealed countertops, placing hot pans straight out of the oven directly on the surface is an absolute no go. We received photos from a customer as few years ago of epoxy sealer damage and it was major. In this case, the countertop was sealed using our 100% epoxy and 500 polyurethane sealers for an outdoor kitchen next to a pizza oven. In the first place, epoxy coatings should not be used outside because they will yellow with extended exposure to sunlight and they typically do not handle extremely cold temperatures well. Secondly and most importantly, the customer removed his steaming hot pizza pie pans from the oven and slid them across the countertop surface. Eventually the coating melted and the damage in the photos occurred. The solution was to strip off the sealer, re-seal and never put hot metal pans on the countertop again.

Wow. I hope that’s not a common occurrence. How do you know what the best sealer is for your particular project?

ST:  I think where a countertop will be located and how it will be used is most important in making a decision. Outdoor kitchen countertops need durable, chemically resistant surfaces so I generally recommend the 500 Solvent Based Polyurethane. Indoor countertops, especially in the kitchen, should probably be sealed using a water-based polyurethane unless the home is under construction. Water based products have very little odor and that’s a big issue if you’re living in a home or are applying the product in confined spaces such as a bathroom.

What about people who want to use an epoxy or metallic epoxy? Where could that sealer be used?

ST:  Epoxy sealer offers a deep, glossy finish for indoor countertops. If you’re looking for that, you won’t be happy with anything else. As long as the epoxy coating with or without metallic pigment, isn’t in a full sun location in the home, there’s nothing wrong with applying an epoxy finish on a kitchen or bathroom top. I would suggest top coating it with a solvent based polyurethane if possible. Polyurethanes are a more durable coating overall.

Any other recommendations for keeping your countertops looking their best longer?

ST: Absolutely. We put together a little checklist for what not to do with your countertop that I think is super helpful to keep in mind. First, is to never place oven or stove hot pans directly on the countertop surface. Potholders will prevent damage from occurring in most cases.  I’m sure this will come as no surprise given my earlier remarks. Second, avoid dropping objects from a great height on to the countertop surface. Dropping items can cause chipping or cracking if the object is heavy or sharp. I realize people don’t often do this on purpose but regardless, it will damage the finish. Third, don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals. Strong chemicals can cause sealer discoloration and flaking. A mild dish washing soap will most always do a more than adequate job cleaning countertops. The temptation is to use anti-bacterial cleaners and the like in the kitchen but they’re often unnecessary and will cause permanent damage to the countertop. Finally, use a cutting board not your countertop. For best results, cut nothing on the surface of your countertop. Sound, practical advice for sure. At the end of day, wear and tear for a sealer over time is normal. Nothing lasts forever but careful use of a polyurethane sealed countertop will yield 5-7 years of use before it would be ready for a scuff, clean and re-coating.

AN:  Thanks for the sage words of wisdom on how to get the most out your concrete countertop sealers. For more information on how to prevent damage to countertop sealer, visit our decorative concrete design blog. If you have questions, call one of our expert technicians at 877-255-2656 and we’ll help you select the best products and technique for your needs.  If you prefer email, send in a free online design consultation and we’ll get back to you within 24-48 hours.

Direct Colors DIY Home Improvement podcasts are produced twice monthly for your enjoyment and show notes can be found at directcolors.com/listen.  Feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , YouTube and Instagram. Thanks again for joining us!