Fast-Curing Concrete Countertop Sealer Cuts Days Off Production Times

Counter-UV cures instantly upon exposure to ultraviolet light, allowing countertops to be delivered the same day they're sealed
By Anne Balogh, Columnist

When clients are eagerly waiting for installation of their fabulous new concrete countertops, countertop makers want to do everything possible to speed up the production process. But one of the final steps—applying the sealer and waiting for it to cure—often grinds things to a halt. Most finishes, especially high-performance multicomponent sealers, can take hours to become tack-free and several days to reach full cure. In the meantime, the countertop owner is becoming increasingly impatient.

So how can contractors eliminate this waiting time while still giving their countertops a silky-smooth stain-resistant finish? Mark Celebuski of Pinnacle Cast Concrete, Brownstown, Pa., has discovered a solution: Counter-UV from Surface 519—a new sealer that cures almost instantly upon exposure to a special ultraviolet light. After experimenting with the product for only a few months, Celebuski now uses the sealer for all of his projects, including the countertops shown here. This job involved 110 square feet of concrete countertops as well as a 7½ x 9½-foot kitchen island. Pinnacle applied the sealer with a roller, and then waited about 20 minutes to allow it to flow out and penetrate before curing the finish with the UV light. The sealer was then sanded with a planetary grinder to achieve a matte finish. The countertops were delivered to the client the same day.

"I believe this instant-cure UV system is a giant step over one of the major hurdles that have been holding concrete countertop makers back," says Celebuski. "We can now promise customers a two-week turnaround on countertops, from templating to installation. The product allows us to seal and sand in the morning and deliver a fully cured countertop later that day. Application is a continuous process, which is a big plus when you run projects through the plant on a tight schedule like we do."

Before switching to Counter-UV, Pinnacle was using a waterborne epoxy and polyurethane system that would take several days to cure. In addition to the speedy curing time, the UV-activated sealer has other benefits, says Celebuski. These include excellent stain and scratch resistance, little odor and no VOCs, and a sandable finish that permits flexibility in sheen levels.

Product Info

Read more about how Counter-UV offers instant curing.

Like 'touching silk'

Despite all the pluses of the UV-cured product, there are a few drawbacks, Celebuski admits, including higher upfront costs. The sealer itself sells for only slightly more (about $1.20 per square foot) than the product Pinnacle was previously using. However, the UV light is a significant investment, carrying a price tag of about $2,900. The finish will only cure when activated by this high-intensity light source. Applicators also need to take the appropriate precautions when using the light, covering all exposed skin and wearing a protective face shield and eye protection.

For Celebuski, though, the results are well worth the extra expense for the equipment. His customers have compared touching concrete sealed with Counter-UV to touching silk.

"Customers have flipped over the finish. One touch and the job is sold. They can't believe there is any sealer on the concrete; it feels like silk, and is totally stain free," he says.

The UV-cured sealer also has the edge when it comes to abrasion resistance. It is very difficult to damage.

"We don't expect to have many callbacks," says Celebuski. "If we do, the sealer is repairable onsite. You can fix a small area and sand it to match the surrounding top."

Project submitted by:
Mark Celebuski
Pinnacle Cast Concrete
43 Industrial Road
Brownstown, PA 17508
Phone: (717) 823-7408

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