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topic 18861

How to remove sealer that is flaking off stamped concrete


Our stamped concrete needs resealing. The problem is that the previous sealer is flaking off (like paint does). How do we address this problem so that the new seal will adhere?

Susan Stewart
- Carlsbad, California


You need to provide more information to get any useful answers.

What is 'stamped' concrete, an embossed pattern? Poured onsite or precast? What is the original sealer material? When was it applied? Is it in sunlight? Do you know the history? If the sealer was applied before the concrete was ~fully cured, alkalinity in the concrete may have attacked the sealer. Was it professionally applied, and how was the concrete pretreated (if at all)? I presume that groundwater is not a problem in Carlsbad -- please verify.

Ken Vlach
- Goleta, California
contributor of the year honored Ken for his countless carefully
researched responses. He passed away May 14, 2015.
Rest in peace, Ken. Thank you for your hard work
which the finishing world continues to benefit from.


I have a similar problem. I want to remove a water based sealer from brick. Especially, the sealer was Valspar Stone Masonry Darkener and Sealer. (I was trying to match some darker brick, but this product only slightly darkens.) The ingredients in the sealer are: 1.water 2.acrylic copolymer 3.ester-alcohol 4.ethylene glycol 5.dibutyl phthalate. The sealer was applied to the brick about a week ago (one coat).

Thank you,

Vance Jones
- San Angelo, Texas


Oops, I applied sealer over my concrete acid stain before the color was right. We are homeowners and recently applied a concrete acid stain (Malay Tan) to an addition we made to our home (approx. 900 sq. ft.). Thinking the color would be more the color it was when damp mopped (the wet color) after the sealer was applied, we applied one coat of sealer. The color is nothing like we thought it would be. What are our options to either darken the overall color or remove the layer of sealer so we can apply another color of stain?

Connie McKay
home owner - Amarillo, Texas


I have the same problem, our concrete outside was stained and sealed the same day without our approval and we need to know what to do to FIX it. The contractor put a striped stain and has a lot of drip marks all over the deck of our pool and it needs to be redone. The are telling me that it may not turn out but I need to know what we can do to remove the god awful stain off of out concrete. Can we do it ourselves? What did you come up with?

Toni Barnes
- Owasso, Oklahoma


I recently finished a concrete project and wanted to decorate it with pavers. I pre-stained the pavers with a sealer. Now the sealer has stained my pavers and I don't know what will remove the state what do you suggest? Please advise. Thank you in advance.

Marin Chavez
- Los Angeles, California

Acid Stain Concrete Video


Going back to the first question of this string, I too have flaking concrete sealer on a poured, stained and stamped concrete patio.

The patio was sealed with a epoxy type chemical seal when first poured. After several years I used a water-based sealer (Quick Commercial Grade Concrete Sealer formerly known as acrylic concrete cure and seal) and followed directions for application. There are areas that are white and flaking.

Does anyone have suggestions for the best way to remove and reseal?


Robert Casteel
- Ft. Collins, Colorado

July 15, 2008

Hi, folks. I see no answers on this thread yet, but letters 31904 and 30775 seem to offer at least a couple. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 21, 2008

to Toni in Oklahoma, did you ever find an answer? We are looking for a contractor to remove concrete sealer our builder recently had applied, but it needs to be removed so we can apply "Kool Deck" coating product to pool concrete and the pool can't be finished until sealer is removed

Kathy Smith
- Edmond, Oklahoma

December 19, 2008

I found that using a paint stripper product worked quite well in removing the sealer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't do any harm to the concrete..

Phil Variava
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

June 29, 2010

The sealer I placed on my acid stained kitchen floor was supposed to be uniform satin finish. It has an uneven mottled look where it is definitely matted in areas. How do I correct?

Kevin Owens
homeowner - St. Helens, Oregon

March 1, 2011

Hi there.
Having just found this site, I decided to try to answer the questions asked by several people.
I hope this helps others even if the response is too late to help those who asked over 2 years ago.
Here goes anyway:
Concrete decks, driveways and patios that have been coloured or imprinted or both coloured and imprinted or acid stained etc, have all probably been treated with a sealing coat to protect the finish.
Sadly however, this finished coating only lasts for a limited period which is determined by several factors including (but not limited to) wear and tear, weather, salts, chemicals, de-icers, etc.
There are two main types of sealer. Solvent or water based.
if the sealer used on your installation was solvent based acrylic then I have a solution for you. If however, your sealer was water based then you are in for some serious hard work.
Taking the first one (solvent based acrylic).
If your driveway etc., looks faded and worn but doesn't seem to be peeling or flaking then here's a simple test. If the surface is dry, get a cup of water (plain good old fashioned water) and pour it directly onto the surface and watch what happens. If the surface goes a darker shade then it needs re-sealing to bring it back to its former glory. If the surface is wet from rain etc, then observe the colour and make a mental note of how it looks and check again when dry by wetting with water as above.
You also need to check for signs of wear and tear, blistering, chipping etc.
If in your honest opinion you feel that no repairs are necessary and that the surface is sound, (you'll be fooling nobody but yourself if you lie to yourself) then just go and purchase some more concrete sealer and apply according to manufacturers directions or contact your local driveway installer and get a quote. Most of these guys will be glad to come and look at the area for you and give their opinions. Remember to get more than one quote!
Applying fresh sealer will protect your investment but needs to be re-applied after a period of approx. 18 to 24 months depending on use of the area.
Remember, it cost a lot of money to put this area in place so protect it.
If the area is flaking or peeling then you have two choices, 1st choice is to break down the existing sealer with a solvent called xylene thinners (pronounced zylene) by applying by brush or spray to the affected area and brushing vigorously to dissolve the sealer. Don't worry about removing the sealer as the thinners will just dissolve the old sealer and it will harden as soon as the xylene evaporates. Simple but messy.
The other choice of the two is to Strip the area of the old sealer. I import an Italian product called "Ideal Stripper" which is manufactured by Ideal Works. I'm sure a similar product can be found in the states. If you check out the concrete network then I'm sure you'll find similar.
If your sealer is water based then I'm afraid that most of these sealers will probably require mechanical removal as they are of a completely different composition so be prepared to spend perhaps several days/weekends with an electric sander on your hands and knees trying to break down the offending product.
There are loads of websites with this information so just google the problem.
And REMEMBER salt is abrasive, so in winter, try to avoid using salt or if you have to, then wash it off properly afterwards and my last bit of information for you is this,
if any type of acidic product has been used for cleaning an area, then you need to neutralise the ares using baking soda (a good fistful added to 25 liters of water will do nicely. stir it up and slosh over the affected area and then wash off with clean, clear water.
I hope some of the above will help someone.
Best of luck

Tim Butler
- Mitchelstown, Ireland

May 23, 2011


It seems most of these problems could have been avoided with proper preparation of the surface prior to application of the sealer. Pressure washing is a key element in removing any old product from the surface. Once pressure washed, be sure to allow the surface enough time to dry (at least 48 hours but always check product specifications). Once dried to product specifications be sure to check the entire surface for imperfections and fix accordingly. Once the sealer is applied there is no going back, so take your time and inspect diligently. If you have flaking issues or a recent layer of sealer, then it will most likely require an application of stripper prior to the pressure wash.

My advice to anyone seeking a professional opinion on stripping and sealing products would be to go to (or call) your local supplier and talk to an actual sales rep. for the product info. If you do your homework it will pay off in the end. When applying your sealer be sure to apply evenly and in the same direction while keeping a "wet edge". Remember that a sealer is meant to keep liquids from penetrating your concrete so once an area is sealed and dried, any additional sealer is repelled by the first coat (some products may require additional coats). This may cause flaking down the road or an uneven sheen. There are endless variables involved that can lead to all of your problems but I hope this will help some of you.

Graham Vale
Painting,Staining,Sealing - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

May 21, 2011

600 sq ft of stamped colored concrete was poured four years ago and never sealed. What should I clean it with before sealing it for the first time?

Roberta Sommers
Home owner - Murrieta California

June 13, 2011

Any sealer can be removed, most sealers are fairly easily removed by either emulsifying them. been doing redos from others work for over 16 years and yes any sealer can be removed if you know how. If you have a water based sealer it comes right up with a little know how. Solvents are easier to mess with but you need to know what you are doing without a mess. Emulsify is the key word to any sealer or any coating.

- San Angelo, Texas

June 13, 2011

600 sq ft never sealed? depending on where you are I would first wash with plain water and a light scrub brush then let it dry dry dry.
I would recommend a polyaspartics sealer and seal 3 coats. If you are outdoors you can simply roll it then 90° that roll. If you like the results then done, or one more 90 °, it's not overkill, just smart

- San Angelo, Texas

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