Protecting the Finish -Sealing and protecting
Sealers are used to protect concrete countertops from acids and oils. Two types of sealers are commonly used to protect concrete countertops. The first is a penetrating sealer that flows into the concrete's pores and seals them. The other type leaves a coating or film on top of the concrete, creating a physical barrier between the concrete and contaminants.
A penetrating sealer is often applied by the manufacturer, but is sometimes applied by the homeowner. Coating sealers, such as a wax, are usually applied by the homeowner on a regular basis. While these supply a high level of protection, they are not impermeable.
Sealers can make the concrete stain-resistant, but this does not imply that they are stain-proof.
Before applying a surface sealer, the concrete counter should be clean, dry and free of all contaminants. Ensure to read the label and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Perform a test patch in an inconspicuous area so you can see what the sealer will look like. Let it cure for a couple of days, then test it with a variety of contaminants.
Sealers that coat the surface of counters repel liquids, causing them to bead up.
Concrete countertops can develop hairline cracks. While these tiny cracks don't signal structural damage nor create a void, they are more susceptible to absorbing liquid and should be sealed more often.
Sealers come in a variety of types and finishes - liquid, paste wax and spray on, semi-gloss, natural and wet-look. Experts also recommend products not specifically designed for concrete use, like Butchers Wax. Carr recommends a grout and tile sealer and a cleaner that contains a small amount of sealer.
With concrete countertops, it's important to stay on top of the spills. Clean spills as soon possible to avoid permanent staining. Also avoid setting hot pans and dishes on counters as they can damage the sealer. Concrete countertops should not be used as a cutting board. Knives can cut through the sealer, creating weak spots.
Mild soap in warm water makes a good cleaner for concrete counters. Use a dishrag or sponge and avoid scouring pads. Cleaners containing abrasives, bleach and ammonia should not be used since they can damage the sealers.Neutral pH cleaner can be used as they do not react with sealers and are widely available in most do it yourself centers.
Giving concrete countertops the appropriate care ensures they stay beautiful for years.