Concrete sealer manufacturers often advise DIYers to wait until the sealer is dry before using, cleaning, or even applying a second coat. So, how long does it take to dry?
On average, it takes the concrete sealer 4 hours to dry to enough for a recoat, 24 hours to dry enough to be walked on and 3 days to fully dry. Oil-based concrete sealers usually take longer to dry than water-based concrete sealers.
The dry time of a concrete sealer ultimately depends on the type of concrete sealer, the number of coats, and the drying conditions. To know for sure how long it takes your concrete sealer to dry, check the manufacturer’s instructions.
This post reveals more about the dry time of concrete sealers including the dry times of popular concrete sealer brands and how to make concrete sealers dry faster. Let’s dive in.
How Long Should Concrete Sealer Dry Between Coats?
On average, you should let concrete sealer dry for at least 2 hours between coats. It takes between 2 and 6 hours for concrete sealer to dry enough for a recoat under normal drying conditions. But, in less than optimal drying conditions, concrete sealer can take up to 24 hours to dry enough for a recoat especially if the room temperature is below 50 degrees F.
Concrete sealers don’t have the same recoat rule as paints. For paints, you should recoat when the first coat is completely dry. But, for concrete sealers, you should recoat before the first coat gets completely dry.
If you allow the first coat to dry completely, it will become hard and seal the concrete making it impossible for the second coat to stick. So, the dry time for concrete sealers means how long it takes for the first coat to be less tacky enough for a second coat.
The dry time between coats is mainly determined by the type of concrete sealer. For instance, concrete sealers made from Silane compounds can be recoated in 90 minutes or less. That’s because the sealer works underneath the top layer of the concrete so you can re-coat the top layer sooner. On the other hand, concrete sealers made from epoxy coatings take up to 6 hours to dry enough for another coat because epoxy coatings contain a large volume of oils and solvents.
To know for sure how long to wait between coats of a concrete sealer, you should ask the store-keeper or check the manufacturer’s instructions.
How Long Does It Take Concrete Sealer To Cure?
It takes an average of 3 days for concrete sealer to cure. The cure time refers to two things; the first is how long it takes for the concrete sealer particles to fully harden and solidify and the second is how long it takes for the sealer to react and become waterproof. Both of these occur through the oxidization of the concrete sealer particles. The process takes between 48 hours and 90 days to be completed depending on the type of concrete sealer.
For a concrete sealer to dry, the concrete sealer solvent has to be evaporated so the sealer is no longer wet. But, for the sealer to cure, the particles have to be oxidized. This happens through oxidization or air current. As the sealer is exposed to air current, the oxygen in the air causes the sealer particles to bond together and harden.
The air current also causes the concrete sealer to react and solidify with the concrete surface. This then prevents water from reaching the concrete and this is why concrete sealers only become fully waterproof when the sealer has cured.
Most concrete sealers cure fully in less than a week, usually about 3 days. However, some concrete sealers especially those made from Silicate compounds can take several weeks to dry. This is because these sealers penetrate through the concrete surface and dry in the concrete. Since it is tough for air current (oxygen) to flow inside the concrete, the sealer will take longer to become oxidized (or cure) and can continue to react for up to 90 days.
How To Speed Up Concrete Sealer Dry Time?
There are a few ways to get your concrete sealer to dry faster. But, before we move on, you should know that these methods are not to be used to dry the concrete sealer completely.
You should only use any of these methods to speed up the dry time of the sealer after application. If you use any of these methods to dry your concrete sealer completely, the sealer will develop cracks.
Here are the top 3 ways to make your concrete sealer dry faster:
- Use a hairdryer
- Use fans to dry the concrete sealer (this also helps to make it cure faster)
- Add a catalyst or drying agent to the concrete sealer
This guide will show you how all of these methods work, when to use them, and the tools and supplies needed to use each method.
1. Use a Hairdryer
If you ever see a hairdryer with a painter, don’t be surprised because they use it to dry slow-drying paints after application. The idea here is to expose the concrete sealer coat to increased heat.
Since concrete sealers dry based on evaporation and heat levels, increasing the heat levels around the concrete sealer coat will make it evaporate and dry faster. This method should be used within the first 2 hours after applying the concrete sealer.
For this method, you’ll need these tools and supplies:
- A hairdryer
- A pair of gloves
- A face mask
- A hairdryer
Here is a guide for this method:
- Put on a pair of gloves and a face mask.
- Plug in and turn on the hairdryer.
- Set the hairdryer between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Move the hairdryer around the concrete sealer for 5 minutes – do this every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours after applying the concrete sealer.
- Turn off the hairdryer and leave the concrete sealer to dry itself.
Tip: You can also use a heater in the absence of a hairdryer.
2. Use Fans To Dry The Concrete Sealer
Another method to dry the concrete sealer faster is to turn on the fans in the room. This method can be used any time and even when the sealer has dried because the method also helps to cure the concrete sealer faster. The idea here is to increase the air current around the concrete sealer. More air means more oxygen and more oxygen means that the concrete sealer will dry faster.
The downside to this method is that the increased air current will also carry dust nibs and debris. If these contaminants fall on the concrete sealer, it will turn messy. So, you need to protect the concrete sealer coat by cleaning the surroundings first or by building a paint tent around the concrete sealer.
For this method, you need these:
- All the fans you can get
- A pair of gloves
- A face mask
- Masking tape
- Drop sheets
- A vacuum
Here is a guide for this method:
- Vacuum the work area – If the area is very filthy, you need to build a paint tent.
- To build a tent, cover the surrounding area with drop sheets and hold the sheets together using masking tape.
- Put the fans inside the paint tent and direct the fans at the concrete sealer.
- Turn on the fans and leave them on for as long as possible.
- After a few hours, inspect the concrete sealer if it has dried, and turn on the fans.
Tip: In addition to using the fans, you should also open all the doors, windows, and air vents in the room.
3. Add a Catalyst or Drying Agent To The Sealer
Catalysts and drying agents are often powdery substances that contain metalized dryers and absorbent substances. The dryers and absorbents dry up the moisture in the concrete sealer causing it to dry faster.
There are different catalysts and drying agents out there but you need to be sure that the one you purchase is compatible with the concrete sealer you have.
To use the catalyst or drying agent, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Usually, you’ll need to sprinkle some of the catalyst or drying agent directly on the concrete sealer after application.
How Long Does It Take For Concrete Sealer Smell To Go Away?
It takes between a few hours and some days for concrete sealer smell to go away. On average, a concrete sealer should stop smelling completely after 24 hours. But, the smell can linger in the room for a few more days if the concrete sealer isn’t drying. This can happen if you over-apply the concrete sealer and if the drying conditions and room temperature aren’t at optimal levels.
It’s very common to notice that your concrete sealer coat is smelling. This happens when the sealer coat is still wet and the smell that you perceive is the odor of active solvents in the concrete sealer. To prevent the concrete sealer from solidifying in its container, manufacturers include solvents in the container. The solvent can be petroleum-based, acetone-based, or water-based. When you apply the sealer, these solvents would also be applied and they have strong odors.
However, as the sealer starts to dry and the solvents are dried up, the concrete sealer will gradually stop smelling. When the solvent is completely evaporated, the sealer will stop smelling. If you can still smell the sealer, it’s because it’s not drying up and there are still active solvents in the sealer. This can be a result of concrete sealer application or less than optimal drying conditions.
In this case, you need to find out why the concrete sealer isn’t drying and fix it so the sealer can dry properly and stop smelling. If the smell becomes unpleasant, you can get rid of it by using air diffusers, air purifiers, or air fresheners in the room.
Dry Time Of Different Types of Concrete Sealers
Next, let’s find out the dry time of common concrete sealer brands.
Stampted Concrete Sealer
It takes 4 hours for Stampted concrete sealer to dry. You should recoat the Stampted concrete sealer before it dries (within 4 hours) because once the concrete cures, a second coat will not stick. You should also know that it takes up to 3 days for Stampted concrete sealer to fully react, cure, and become waterproof.
Eagle Concrete Sealer
Eagle concrete sealer takes about 24 hours to fully dry. This is because the sealer is a penetrating sealer meaning that it absorbs into the concrete and as such will take longer to dry and cure. Eagle concrete sealer manufacturers claim to only apply the sealer on porous concrete so the sealer can penetrate. If you use it on patched or sealed concrete, it will not dry properly because it can’t penetrate the sealed concrete surface.
Behr Concrete Sealer
According to the manufacturers of Behr concrete sealer, you should leave each coat to dry for at least an hour before touching it. However, the concrete sealer takes 4 hours to dry enough for a recoat and 48 hours to fully cure. Asides from concrete surfaces, you can also use Behr concrete sealer on masonry and brick surfaces.
Diamond Clear Concrete Sealer
Diamond clear concrete sealer is a transparent sealer coat that dries to touch in 1 hour and for recoat in 4 hours. Diamond clear manufacturers advise waiting 10-12 hours before the concrete sealer is exposed to wheel traffic which means that the sealer cures in less than 24 hours.
Driveaway Concrete Sealer
It takes Driveway concrete sealer 10-12 hours to dry and 48 hours to cure. But, you can re-coat the concrete sealer in less than 6 hours after the first coat was applied. Driveway concrete sealer is designed for high traffic surfaces like driveways so it would automatically take longer for this concrete sealer to cure. As an expert tip, leave the concrete sealer to cure for 3 days before exposing it to when traffic.
In summary, concrete sealers have varying dry times based on the type of concrete sealer and the drying conditions. However, your concrete sealer should dry in 24 hours and cure in about 3 days as these are the average figures. To know for sure how long it takes for your concrete sealer to dry and cure, you should check the manufacturer’s instructions or website.
To speed up the dry time of the concrete sealer, you can use a hairdryer, fans, or drying agents. Finally, ensure to leave enough dry time between coats of the concrete sealer so it doesn’t turn sticky or whitish.