How To Fix & Remove Bubbles After Sealing Stamped Concrete

How To Fix & Remove Bubbles After Sealing Stamped Concrete




How To Fix & Remove Bubbles After Sealing Stamped Concrete

Many people choose concrete stamping to make patios and pool decks look stunning. But what happens when the sealer is applied to patterned concrete? What if this results in unwanted bubbles and blisters? Don’t panic – this is a common issue and can often be fixed.


We usually get around three jobs every season where we get concrete sealer bubbling in the sealer the following day. It usually happens when the concrete heats up too fast after a cool night. The temperature will be 60 degrees in the morning when we apply it. By noon, the temperature will rise to 95 degrees. This caused the sealer to overheat and dry out too fast, causing blisters.

When this happens, we pour the same sealer that was used into an open 5-gallon plastic bucket with a handle. The following day, we walk around the surface. We use a paintbrush to dip into the bucket and rub a thin layer on top of the blisters. Within 15 to 30 minutes, you will see the blisters emulsify and vanish.

We have been using this Pro technique for over 30 years!


Why Decorative Concrete Bubbles Form

Bubbles in concrete sealers are air pockets that get trapped. As the wet sealer evaporates, solvents evaporate into the atmosphere. This makes the blisters visible on the surface. Hot weather, direct sunlight, or applying a second layer too soon will make sealer application failures more likely.

This can happen on colored patterned concrete. It occurs between the textured surface and concrete sealer. Air gets caught in the imprints and can’t easily escape once sealing begins. Even with proper installation, the decorative concrete sealer has risks.

Fixing Bubbles

Tiny bubbles in concrete sealer may flatten out over time as it is applied, cures, and hardens. But larger ones or lots of little blisters often need repairs for the best appearance. Here are handy step-by-step directions.

Supplies Needed

First, gather these supplies:

  • Solvent like xylene
  • Paint roller and tray
  • Safety gear – gloves, goggles, mask
  • Concrete degreaser
  • New sealer

Xylene can be dangerous. Work carefully while wearing gloves, goggles, and a protective face mask. Ventilate indoor areas very well, too, when you apply sealer.

Prep Work

Clean the concrete with a degreaser to remove oil, grease, or dirt. This helps the solvent penetrate better. Allow the sealer to dissipate completely. Any moisture underneath can cause more bubbles or whitish blotches.

Use xylene to “melt” the bubbly sealer first. Pour some solvent into a paint tray and roll over the problem areas. Applying sealer softens and re-emulsifies it. This allows air pockets to pop and smooth out. It may take several passes back and forth with the roller.

Second Coat

Once the xylene has dissipated, apply a fresh layer of acrylic concrete sealer. Do this in thin, even layers. Use a high-quality solvent-based sealer surface made for textured colored concrete flooring. Read the label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure proper recoat times. Fast drying in hot climates means waiting only 2 hours between layers. Cooler weather conditions may require waiting 8-12 hours between sealer applications. Slow down and get it right – you want a smooth, solvent-based acrylic sealer finish!



Preventing Bubbles and Blisters

Stopping blisters before they ever start is easier than fixing them afterward. Here are handy tips:

Check Conditions

Pay attention to the weather so the concrete is not wet before sealing. Also, pick times when sunshine is less intense, like early evening. Avoid the application of the sealer when there’s a possibility of rain soon. Acrylic sealers hate moisture!

Two Thin Coats

Rushing through sealing leads to blisters and bubbles. Instead, use two thin layers, waiting for proper dry times between them. Thick layers of the sealer are usually applied too heavily. This causes it to evaporate unevenly and trap air while thin layers flow smoothly.

Use a Pump Sprayer

Pump sprayers give a nice, even layer without too much sealer flooding areas. Flooding causes excess moisture and blisters beneath. Adjust the nozzle for a light misting action only.

Using Correct Application Temperatures

Pay attention to concrete and ambient temperatures. Ideally, install sealer when both are between 50-90°F. Avoid direct sun exposure. It causes sealers to evaporate too quickly.

When To Call A Pro

DIY repairs can often nip acrylic sealer concrete surface issues in the bud. But if blisters cover a large area or problems come right back, they may need professional help. Severely compromised application of sealer issues need complete stripping. Then, start over to do it correctly. Hire a qualified decorative concrete contractor that fixes sealer issues rather than continuing quick fixes that don’t work.

Keeping Your Stamped Concrete Looking Great

Don’t let glossy sealer blushing woes stop you. Install gorgeous patterned and stained concrete. Just arm yourself with the causes, prevention methods, and repair techniques. Pay attention to manufacturer guidelines, too. Your concrete can look freshly sealed for many years with some care. It will need maintenance later.


Our Locations:


Nashua, NH

North Hampton, NH

Concord, NH