Imagine your Great-aunt Emma running naked in the middle of Manhattan’s traffic. Some things are better covered than others and won’t last as long if they’re not.
Outdoor decorative concrete projects are the same. If the sealer is not applied, colors can fade and water marks can form. Stains can also penetrate, leaving oil marks where the service man left his car. A good sealer will make the job last.
In a tight economy, sealing outdoor decorative concrete jobs is worth it for your customer. Let’s look at some of these issues.
Sealing outdoor decorative concrete jobs will increase the project’s cost. It is not cheap to buy a reliable concrete sealer. The cost of applying the sealer, as well as the preparation and cleaning up the surface, can make the price very high. Your job is to explain to your customer that they have made a significant investment in decorative concrete, and it must be protected.
Sealing outdoor decorative concrete projects is the best and most effective way to reduce color changes caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. A decorative stained concrete surface that is not sealed will quickly show signs of wear. Your customer could be told that this is what happens to unsealed projects and then let them decide whether sealing is necessary. But, they will be unable to comfort themselves with a “I told them so” from you after the faded colors appear. Negative comments and criticisms will do more harm than good for your business. It is often enough to show them concrete samples (not just pictures) that demonstrate the depth of color when decorative concrete has been sealed.
Time is money. This is why it’s tempting to bid on a job in order to reduce labor costs. It’s tempting to just remove the sealer and clean the concrete and call it done. This allows you to move on to the next task. The customer will be able to use their space earlier for the big barbecue they planned. Expect an angry call from the customer if their unsealed patio has purple circles due to wine spillage or brown stains from the neighbor’s St. Bernard.
Sealing outdoor decorative concrete surfaces is a great way to make sure they are maintained. The surface can be easily cleaned with a hose and spills can be wiped up. Customers love this idea. Maintenance is another aspect of sealing outdoor decorative concrete surfaces. Concrete should be sealed regularly. This idea is not liked by customers. For you, the contractor resealing just means more business.
Concrete has enemies. Mother Nature pounds the concrete surface with snow and rain, and then sends in freezing temperatures. Unsealed decorative concrete surfaces allow water to enter the concrete’s pores, causing the vicious freeze-thaw cycle. Who knew that movers would transport a large crate over the unsealed surface, leaving behind huge scrape and scratch marks. A good sealer prevents water from getting into the concrete and protects it from abrasion. This is exactly what your customer needs.
Sealing concrete can make it slippery if it is wet or greasy. When sealing outdoor pedestrian surfaces, contractors should use slip-resistant additives. On our website, you can find the American Disabilities and OSHA standards for slip resistance. Safety is easy and cheap for sealed concrete surfaces. You shouldn’t skip the additive. Although they are less slippery than sealed projects, they don’t have the same benefits as sealing.
Let’s sum it up: There are both pros and cons to sealing outdoor decorative concrete. We recommend sealing. However, as a contractor, you have to work with your client to determine what is best for them. Do it with good conscience.