Those who are serious about protecting a concrete surface couldn't do much better than to apply a concrete sealer. These hardy topcoats offer years of durable protection. Yet eventually even the heaviest duty sealer will itself become worn and chipped. If you would like to learn more about what to do when that time comes, read on. This article will discuss the mechanical methods of stripping an old sealer so that you may apply a new one.
The Importance Of Stripping
A common concrete sealing mistake is to assume that you can just slap down a new layer of sealer on top of the old, worn one. This, however, can lead to a number of problems. For one thing, it may result in an unlevel floor, thanks to the fact that wear rarely affects all parts of a floor to an even degree. Secondly, it may result in a less than durable bond--and thus to a sealer that begins to degrade long before it should. For best results, it is important that your sealer be applied in direct contact with the concrete floor.
There are two principal methods of stripping a concrete sealer: mechanical and chemical. Here we are interested only in the former--that is, in techniques that use the process of physical abrasion to completely strip away the old sealer. Mechanical stripping has two benefits. First, it does not rely on the use of toxic and potentially dangerous chemicals. Second, it promotes a stronger sealer bond by not just removing the old sealer, but by roughening the surface of the concrete as well.
The most common methods of mechanical stripping are shot- and sandblasting. In both methods, a stream of incredibly high-speed particles are aimed at the sealer. The unrelenting force of this stream is able to break up the tough sealer into minute particles, which are then thoroughly vacuumed away. As you may be able to guess from their names, shotblasting and sandblasting differ primarily in terms of the size and the material composition of the particles used.
Shotblasting involves the use of BB-like steel balls. The large size of these balls, as well as their metallic composition, allow them to break up the sealer very easily. In fact, they are so good at their job that it can be easy to damage the underlying floor if not careful. Sandblasting, obviously, utilizes sand particles to accomplish its stripping. Here the risk of damage is somewhat less, owing to the relatively smaller size of the particles at play.
Talk to professionals, such as Mershon Concrete, for more information.