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Cloudy Sealer May Signal It's Time to Strip and Reseal

Question:

I have a colored, exposed-aggregate driveway. Over the years, the sealer has become more and more cloudy. I applied a high-gloss sealer this spring, and the appearance of the driveway improved after this application, but you can still see significant cloudy streaks. I think I need to strip the sealer and reapply. What are your suggestions? What products should I use?

Answer:

After too many reapplications of sealer, there comes a time when the coating can no longer breathe. When this occurs, moisture builds up and condenses under the sealer, making it turn white and cloudy. It typically does not occur in all areas and often appears random and streaky. After time, the sealer can also start to delaminate (come away from the concrete or previous layer of sealer), which will only make the cloudiness worse.

It sounds like you have reached the point where you have too much sealer, and as you suspected, it is time to strip and start over. I would start by contacting the sealer manufacturer and ask what they recommend using to strip their product. In general, a good-quality chemical stripper will do the trick. (see The Best Method for Stripping Sealers). It may take multiple attempts to get it all off, depending on how many layers of sealer are on the slab. After stripping the sealer, scrub the surface with soap and water, followed by rinsing with clean water. Hot water is better if you can arrange it. Let the driveway dry for a minimum of 24 hours, then reseal with one or two thin coats of sealer.

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Chris Sullivan

Author Chris Sullivan, ConcreteNetwork.com technical expert and vice president of sales and marketing for ChemSystems Inc.

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