Adventures in Sealing Concrete Countertops

Technically one would think once you seal concrete countertops you’re done. That’s only true if it’s done correctly. In my case it seems like three times is a charm or better be a charm because after this I’m done. You can read about the first attempt here and here. In the second attempt at applying the sealer the application process went just fine and the finish looked really beautiful. I  used the V-Seal E3/2K Epoxy Resin sealer again and applied it with  3″ roller with a 1/4″ nap. I foolishly thought we had won the battle. About a month later Fabio was opening a bottle of wine on the counter and turning the bottle on the surface caused a small area of the sealer to release from the substrate. My heart sank but I tried to convince myself it was just in that small area and we could patch it. Unfortunately that was not the case and we were able to easily peel the sealer right off the concrete.

Peeled off sealer

Sealer that had been peeled off...boo hoo!!

After many conversations with the technical people at V-Seal no one was able to give me a definite answer as to why we had experienced a “total fail”. Common reasons include a chemical either in the concrete mix or in the release agent used to release the counter from the form that repels the sealer. We could pretty much rule that out. Another cause may have been flawed application, either applying the sealer too thick or thin. The people at V-Seal suggested using a mil measuring tool the next time I applied the sealer to ensure the proper amount was applied. Right, because it’s so easy to find a mil measuring tool and to measure something that’s about the thickness of a sheet of paper. It was also possible that the acid stain used to color the counters was not neutralized properly causing the sealer to fail. Entirely possible. Yet another possible culprit is the baking soda mixture used to neutralize the counters could have remained in some small pores resulting in poor adhesion of the sealer. As you can see there is a laundry list of reasons as to why the sealer failed but I really couldn’t identify one as the sure culprit. Consequently I had to find another product to seal the counters because I just couldn’t bring myself to use the same sealer. But I had to take a break from the sealer madness. I was sooo disappointed, disheartened, blah blah blah.

So now we’re at attempt number three. This time around I’m using Epoxy 1040 from Contractor Source. Why did I choose this product? Well, I don’t want to use a penetrating sealer because they don’t resist stains well. If you spill wine or lemon juice it needs to be cleaned immediately or it will stain. That just won’t work around here. Acrylics and polyurethanes are softer than epoxies and acrylics have the tendency to yellow. That leaves me with the epoxy. The guys at Contractor Source were nice and answered all of my million questions.

Before applying the sealer the guys from Double P polished the counters a bit by hand with 100 and 200 grit diamond resin pads. This was to open the pores of the concrete again so it would absorb the sealer.

Concrete Counters After Grinding

Concrete Counters After Grinding

I then applied another coat of acid stain because the color had been diminished a bit by all the abuse.

Concrete Counters After Staining

Concrete Counter After Staining

Concrete Counter After Staining

Better view of the color

Concrete Counters After Staining

Even better view of the color

And now this afternoon, 24 hours after neutralizing the acid stain, I’ll be applying the sealer with a 1/4″ nap, 3″ roller. I was warned not to use a foam roller with this product because it will cause air bubbles. Everyone wish me luck!!

Anyone else have experience with decorative concrete? I’d love to hear your story!

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About designnsuch

I am a just turned thirty, diy maven in the midst of a major home renovation.
This entry was posted in Decorative Concrete, Kitchen, The Great Renovate and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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