Why You Should Seal Your Concrete Patio
Whether you're getting a beautiful new patio or you have an existing one, it's important that you properly protect and maintain your investment. A good sealer can keep your patio looking great for many years to come, or rejuvenate a lackluster surface. Sealing a concrete patio can be compared to waxing your car, wearing sunscreen or applying Scotchgard™ to your favorite item of clothing. A sealer will improve your patio's appearance, keep it from fading due to UV exposure and protect it from stains.
Whether your patio is plain concrete, colored concrete or stamped concrete, sealing after the slab has cured as well as every few years after is recommended as part of the maintenance plan. A sealed concrete patio will have a rich color and glossy sheen if desired. You can even select a tinted sealer that will further enhance the color of your patio. For colored patios, a sealer will also help prevent efflorescence, which is a white powdery residue that can form on the surface. Slip resistant sealers are also available. These are great for using on patios near outdoor cooking areas, where sprinklers may get the concrete wet or in humid climates.
Another benefit of sealing a concrete patio is stain protection. In the great outdoors there are a number of things that can leave unsightly stains on the surface of your patio – leaves, dirt, fertilizer, pet urine, oil, spilled drinks and much more. The right sealer will keep all of the above from penetrating the surface of the concrete and leaving an unsightly stain.
A third reason why you should seal your concrete patio is that it will reduce the chance of freeze thaw damage. Freeze thaw damage can cause cracks or surface flaking and is caused by water penetrating the surface of the concrete and then expanding as it freezes. A sealer will keep water from sinking into the patio. You know your sealer is working because water will bead on the surface. When this no longer happens it is time to reseal your patio. High traffic areas of your patio may need resealing on a frequent basis.
In review, a sealer will enhance and protect your patio. When properly sealed and resealed the service life of concrete is greatly extended. Make sure that your contractor seals your patio with the appropriate product and at the appropriate time. Experts recommend using penetrating sealers outdoors because it sinks down into the concrete and has a more natural, matte finish. A sealer should be applied after fresh concrete has cured. Most contractors wait 7 to 14 days, but the official time for curing is 28 days.
If you are having a driveway installed at the same time, it should also be sealed. On the other hand, if you're resealing your existing patio it can be more cost effective to seal your driveway too. Learn more about sealing concrete driveways.