Why has my Brick Paver or Stamped Concrete Sealer Turned White?
This is a very common question and a fairly common occurrence. Typically this happens to filming acrylic based sealers that leave a shine on the surface. These sealers are typically applied to brick pavers and stamped concrete surfaces to enhance the overall appearance.
There is not one specific reason that your old sealer has blushed by turning white or cloudy so there is not one remedy to fix. In his article we will go over the main reasons that your sealer has failed so you will be able to fix this problem permanently.
Cheap Acrylic Sealer
In general just stay away from paint store or Big Box stores brands. These “wet look” sealers have a high fail rate due to the inferior acrylics used.
Solution: To fix you will need to remove the sealer with a concrete or paver sealer stripper.
Trapped Water/Moisture and Over Applied Sealer
Trapped moisture under the sealer is the most common reason that the sealer has turned white. This happens to sealers that are not breathable or over applied. The sun will raise the moisture out of the concrete or bricks but the water cannot escape as it is trapped under the sealer.
Solution: Applying a solvent such as Xylene or Lacquer Thinner will emulsify the current sealer, removing the trapped moisture and restoring the shine. Not a guaranteed fix but is worth the attempt.
Solution 2: If the solvent does not work you will need to use a sealer stripper to remove and start over.
Efflorescence Salts Trapped under Sealer
Efflorescence is a soluble salts that raises to the surface of the concrete after it is installed. This may never form or may take up to year to show. Make sure that all efflorescence is removed prior to sealing the surface.
Solution: Strip off the sealer first then use an efflorescence cleaner to remove the white residue.
Polymeric Sand Issue (New as of last few years)
We have seen more and more issues with polymeric sand installs. Not so much an issue with the sand, but rather poor installation. Polymeric sands are installed by sweeping the sand into the joints then blowing off the excess form the top of the surface. The sand is then misted with water to activate the polymer bond. The problem arises when the sand is not completely removed from the top of the surface prior to misting with water. The polymeric sand in many cases contains “cementious” properties. This when activated by water may leave a thin layer on top called a “poly haze”.
Solution: Strip off any sealer then use a mild acid or white vinegar to remove the poly haze.
Please ask any questions you may have on removing the white haze from your brick pavers in the comment area below.