Podcast: What is the Best Outdoor Concrete Stain and Sealer?

You are listening to Direct Colors podcast, episode 12. I’m Amie Nolen and today we’re talking with Direct Colors General Manager, Shawna Turner, about the best way to renew color on outdoor concrete and pool decks.

AN:My stamped concrete looked great when it was first installed but now the color has faded and the finish is dull. What can I do to restore the color again?” We get this question a lot. Stamped or textured concrete is often integrally colored with contrasting color accents and sealed. Over time, especially if the concrete goes unsealed for a significant period time, the concrete loses some of its topical color once the sealer begins to break down. Shawna Turner joins us to talk about how to make stamped concrete look new again. Welcome Shawna.

AN: What would you recommend for exterior decorative concrete that hasn’t been sealed for a several years?

ST: First, I would see what the concrete color looks like when it’s wet. If the color is satisfactory when the concrete is wet, you most likely just need to seal the concrete using a quality concrete sealer. Most acrylic concrete sealers last between 2-3 years depending on the climate before re-application is needed.  It’s important to know what kind of sealer was originally used if at all possible.  To avoid undesirable chemical reactions, solvent based sealers should be resealed using a solvent based sealer and the same for water based products. Something else to keep in mind is if your concrete happens was sealed with polyurethane, the surface must be scuffed or abraded before another coat of polyurethane can be applied. If you attempt to re-coat without sanding first, the new sealer will peel right off the concrete. No fun for sure.

Now, if you still think the color isn’t right even when it’s wet, then our Liquid Colored Antique Concrete Stain is the product for you. We formulated this product in response to customer demand for a stain that would renew stamped and textured concrete even if it has been previously sealed. The color flows into the lowest parts of the stamp impression, adding natural looking highlights. Our antique stain can also be used on smooth or broomed concrete for a rich, more solid color appearance. I’ve used the antiquing on my outdoor concrete at home. I love it. So easy to use and maintain.

AN: How do you apply the stain and which concrete sealer would you typically use for outdoor concrete?

ST: While we do offer individual samples and sample kits for testing or small projects that would generally be applied with a foam brush, Liquid Colored Antique is always sprayed from a fence and deck sprayer preferably from Ace Hardware True Value for larger projects. The key to success with this product is to shake it very, very well before pouring from the container and to shake it periodically during application just to make sure the product remains in solution at all times. The application itself is very straight forward. Spray even saturating coats onto the concrete until the desired color is achieved. As for the best sealer choice for this product, I always use the Sprayable Satin Finish Sealer on outdoor concrete. It works great in conjunction with the concrete stain and it’s a safe, non-slip choice for most patios and pool decks.

AN: So why are you such a fan of this product?

ST: Most of all I appreciate the how easy it is to use and beyond the initial surface prep, how quickly I can finish a project using the stain. Once the concrete is clean and dry, you simply spray down the product and allow for 6-8 hours dry time before sealing. There’s no additional cleaning or rinsing in between. Really a joy to work with when you need to get something completed quickly. I love all the color options too. Sometimes I combine colors, use multiple colors or both. It’s really a very flexible, user friendly material.

AN: Are there any projects that might require a little closer scrutiny before applying the liquid colored antique and sealer?

ST: Yes, concrete stamped and accented with powdered release at the time of installation can sometimes become a problem a few years down the line, especially if left unsealed for a while. The powdered release, usually darker than the concrete itself, flakes away leaving an unsightly speckled pattern behind.  Unfortunately, repairing the damage using an antique stain is sometimes only a temporary fix and the problem often continues. So what can be done? First, power wash the concrete to remove as much of the loose colorant as possible. Sand those areas where significant color loss has occurred to prevent more damage and apply the Liquid Colored Antique to the dry, clean concrete. Properly preparing the concrete prior to application and sealing well with a high quality concrete sealer will reduce the chance of future damage.

AN: Thank you for the helpful DIY tips on renewing color on outdoor concrete and pool decks. Sounds like it’s easy than we first thought! 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.


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