The 5 Best Ways To Remove Concrete Sealer (I Like # 4)

Amazing! The 5 Best Ways To Remove Concrete Sealer (I Like # 4)

Information about The 5 Best Ways To Remove Concrete Sealer (I Like # 4)

Phil Puccio

how to remove concrete sealerThis is an acrylic solvent based concrete sealer that will need to be removed and resealed

Is your concrete finish turning white? Or is your seal peeling and peeling?

Over time, most concrete sealers will begin to degrade, either from the sun or from water getting under the sealer and turning it white.

For these reasons and a few more, I have had to strip and remove many concrete sealers from decks, walkways, floors, and tamped concrete.

I’ve found some methods that work better than others. Below I’ll show you the five ways I think are the best for removing sealant from concrete.

What type of seal do you have? water or solvent based

How to check what type of concrete sealer you have with xylene.

It’s good to know if you have a water-based acrylic sealer or a solvent-based acrylic sealer on your concrete.

Why? Because that can determine which method you choose for removal.

To check this, pour a little xylene on the surface and leave it there for about 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, rub the area with a rag and see if it’s sticky or not.

If the area feels tacky or sticky then you have a solvent based sealer, if not you have a water based sealer.

will remove xylene concrete sealer

Xylene is a strong solvent and will re-emulsify the concrete sealer. Wear the right protection if you have never used it.

This is how you check for solvent-based sealing

I pour something like this on the concrete and let it sit there for 30 seconds. Then I’ll rub it a bit.

how to remove concrete sealer

If your sealer is an acrylic solvent based sealer you will feel that it is a bit sticky. If it is water based it may look as clear as the picture but not sticky.

1. Removes Power Washing Concrete Sealer (yes)

High pressure cleaning to remove concrete sealing

Power washing with a surface cleaner attachment is a great way to remove old, white concrete finish.

Pressure washing works really well for removing water-based concrete sealers as in the picture above.

You can see a definite difference where I started washing the concrete and where I didn’t.

How much and how quickly you remove the sealer depends on how much water pressure you have and how well the sealer adheres to the concrete.

On this job, I went over the surface twice with this cleaner, then used a fan tip on the pressure washer to rinse off the concrete. I let it dry for 48 hours and resealed it, it looked like brand new concrete when I was done.

2. will xylene remove concrete sealer (yes)

Removes xylene concrete sealer

Xylene works well for removing solvent-based concrete sealers. It’s a little messy, but xylene will re-emulsify the concrete sealer and soften it to the point where you can pressure wash it off.

Removes xylene concrete sealer

You can pour or spray the xylene in small increments, do not let the xylene evaporate.

Brush it around to loosen it from the surface. The surface gets quite slippery so be careful.

Spend about a minute or two scrubbing (depends on how thick your sealer is). Add more xylene as it starts to dry.

Power washing to remove concrete sealing

Immediately after scrubbing, use your pressure washer and surface washer to remove the concrete sealer.

You may or may not remove everything in one application. Again, it depends on how much is in it. Just go over it a second time if you notice more sealing there.

You can tell when the concrete is dry by seeing shiny patches on the surface.

how to peel and remove concrete sealer

This is what the seal looks like after you remove it. It’s a bit of a mess, but there’s no really good way to catch it. Protect any plants or grasses as the seal will likely kill them.

After removing the sealer, allow the concrete to dry for a few days before sealing again.

3. Remove concrete seal by sandblasting

Sandblasting to remove concrete seal

Light sandblasting will remove the thin layer of concrete sealer and prepare the concrete for the new coat of sealer.

You’ll need to hire someone to do this as it’s not really a DIY project. If not done properly, you could damage the concrete. But an experienced person can remove the entire seal fairly quickly.

Sandblasting is a little dusty and messy, but it removes virtually all of the old, peeling sealer.

It can also remove some of the original paint, so re-inking the surface before sealing is another step you may need to do.

Recoloring is pretty easy these days, I’ll show you what to use below.

4. Soda blasting to remove concrete sealer

Soda blasting to remove concrete sealer

Soda blasting is similar to sandblasting, it just uses a different abrasive to blast the surface.

Sodium bicarbonate is used instead of sand or quartz. It’s basically baking soda, but a little coarser.

Soda blasting is gentler on the concrete and causes less damage to the concrete. It’s also water soluble and much better for the environment.

Soda blasting is very effective for removing concrete sealer. While it’s still dusty, the dust isn’t quite as harmful as sandblasting dust.

This is also a method that you will need to hire someone to do as it involves some equipment that most people don’t have.

It’s much faster than high pressure washing or using xylene and does a better job.

You’ll likely have to re-stain the surface before re-sealing, but the concrete will look new when you’re done.

5. Dust-free wet blasting

Wet blasting to remove concrete seal

Wet blasting is like sand and soda blasting, except water is added to make the process dust-free.

Wet blasting is an excellent way to remove sealant from concrete. An experienced operator can remove almost 100% of the concrete seal without damaging the concrete.

There’s still some mess to clean up, but it’s less than soda blasting and sandblasting. Sometimes the media blasted with the water is crushed glass or walnut shells.

Again, you will hire someone to quickly and completely remove the concrete sealer.

Bonus! 6. an environmentally friendly way to remove concrete seal

How to remove concrete sealer

If you can’t pressure wash your concrete sealer off and don’t want to use a strong solvent like xylene then then NOCK-OFF concrete stripper will remove the seal.

You roll it up with a 1/2 inch knobbed paint roller at about 100 square feet per gallon. Leave for about 30 minutes and scrape off the loosened concrete sealer.

It may require more than one application, but it’s safer to use than xylene and more DIY-friendly than sand, soda, or wet blasting.

Then rinse the concrete with a pressure washer to remove any residue and your concrete will be stripped of the seal and ready to be sealed again. (of course let it dry for 48 hours before sealing)


How to re-ink stamped concrete after removing the sealer

How to recolor stamped concrete

After removing the concrete sealer, you may want to re-ink your stamped concrete. This is especially true if you had some sort of demolition done to detach it.

Recoloring stamped concrete is actually quite easy if you use a product called texture enhancer by Deco Crete Supply.

Texture Enhancer is a colored powder that you mix with water. It comes in 20 colors so you have plenty to choose from.

You basically brush it up and let it dry. It dries fairly quickly but allow at least 24 hours before resealing with Deco-Crete’s D-1 Concrete Sealer.

Watch as the Deco-Crete Supply guys re-stain the concrete after removing the old concrete sealer.


how to reseal your concrete

How to seal stamped concrete

I like to seal the concrete again D-1 Concrete Sealer by Deco Crete Supply.

This is a colour-enhancing, film-forming and penetrating concrete sealer that is excellent for stamped concrete, garage floors, patios, pool decks and sidewalks.

It will not peel, fade or turn white like the sealer you just removed.

After 2-3 light coats of D-1 Sealer, the concrete will exactly match the “wet look” when you apply the stain.

Watch the guys at Deco-Crete Supply show you how to seal your stamped concrete after removing the old sealer.


More information on resealing stamped concrete can be found HERE!

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