This post was most recently updated on January 30th, 2023
Tips To Fix Concrete Sealer Bubbles
We often hear about the appearance of pesky bubbles that appear in finished concrete sealer projects. In this updated article, we explain how to avoid concrete sealer bubbles, and if they appear, how to fix them. If you have encountered concrete sealer bubbles and have any suggestions or have any questions, please comment below.
Solvent-based Acrylic Concrete Sealers are designed to enhance, darken, and give a sheen to decorative concrete surfaces. Unfortunately, when applied incorrectly or overapplied you may have issues with “bubbles” forming in the sealer. This typically happens to Stamped Concrete or smooth decorative concrete surfaces.
When a solvent-based acrylic sealer is applied, some of the sealer penetrates into the porous concrete. If the application is too thick, or if too many coatings are applied, the solvent is not able to evaporate before the sealer dries. When that happens, the solvent gets trapped and eventually creates enough pressure that it forces its way out, creating bubbles.
Tips For Applying a Solvent Acrylic Sealer:
- Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the proper spread rate
- Do not over-apply. Adding too much sealer is not better and may create issues
- Concrete porosity differs. The more porous the concrete is, the more sealer can be applied
- If applying more than 1 coat, allow the coatings to dry thoroughly between applications
So what to do if you get the sealer “bubbles? Here are some steps to take to try and remedy the situation.
- Sweep or blow off the dirt and grime
- Wait until there is not any direct sunlight. Usually late in the day is best.
- Applying a solvent to reset the sealer and “melt” the bubbles.
- Let the sealer sit overnight and dry properly
Note: The bubbles may still come back. In many cases, the above steps will fix the issue. If this does not fix the bubbles from reforming, you will need to strip off all of the sealer and start over.
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing, concrete sealing, and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior restoration. Scott and his restoration Michigan company have restored over 10,000 projects in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the restoration industry and has contributed to numerous restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.
I have about a 1600 square-foot of stamped patio. I put a second coat of vex con sealer and I have small little bubbles. I read one of your post you recommended xylene what’s the ratio mixture for the Celine straight or do you mix it with water and you spray it on a roll it on, and after you do this, do you reseal it again?
Spray the Xylene on straight. No need to reseal after.
I applied SafeT Deck on clean, power washed, pool deck after priming it with the recommended primer and am getting bubbles when it gets hot. Anything that can be done to prevent/repair the bubbles?
Sorry, but no idea with this product.
Can I use a torch to melt bubbles!
Too late!!! I already did and it works great!
Glad it worked but you could have burnt the sealer, leaving black marks. Depends on the sealer base/type.
Effects of over application
Is this water proof? I psinted and then sealed our concrete sun room with a different sealer but water got thru and bubbled the paint under neath. This area is frequently exposed to shifts in humidity and water exposure due to it being a sun room but it’s not heated. I need a water proof sealer… and I’m struggling to find one that will take with out having to strip all my floor again.
You cannot seal over a paint.
Then how do you water proof a cement floor? Like in a garage? I see colored cement that is sealed… how is that done?
You can seal over a penetrating concrete stain but you cannot use a sealer over a paint.
We used the H&C low gloss clear concrete sealer wet look on our stamped patio. Followed instructions stating to apply one coat 24 hours apply second coat in opposite direction. After second application bubbles are forming. Disappointing followed directions and now some sites it states bubbles form because it was over applied. We tried acetone mist which is supposed to be the same as xylene and nothing happened. Any other suggestions instead of stripping it off????
No, if the solvent does not fix it then you will need to strip it: https://www.concretesealerreview.com/how-to-strip-a-stamped-concrete-sealer/
How do you suggest stripping it?
We sent you the link in a prior reply.
have 2400 sf garage new concrete 40 days old. took Dimond sander and sanded floor washed and moped floor clean bought H & C industrial high performance clear sealer to seal floor how can I tell if concrete is dry enough to apply sealer and is this the correct sealer to use the bare concrete is not a consistent color
There are many better sealers than anything from H&C. See: https://www.concretesealerreview.com/what-is-the-best-concrete-sealer/
A few days of drying should be okay before applying a sealer.
I recently epoxy painted my concrete patio and waited about 2 days to add this oil based clear concrete seal with a roller and almost immediately little bubbles started to form. Any thing I did wrong? And can I fix it without stripping everything?
You cannot add a sealer like this over an epoxy, it will bubble and peel. You will have to fully remove it and start over.
What kind of water sealant can you use over a epoxy based paint?
You cannot apply a sealer over a paint.
Quiet the sealer make bubbles already clean the old sealer
What kind of solvent what I use on the bubbles
I sealed the driveway today and have bubbles. How soon should I apply the solvent and should I spray or roll
Spray it on. Do it whenever you have time.
After applying my second coat of Everclear sealer to my aggregate concrete patio, there was areas of tiny bubbles. I used a floor squeegee to knock down all the bubbles. The first coat of sealer did not bubble, but the second coat of sealer did bubble. What’s the happens if I don’t do anything? Or should I apply another coat of sealer? If I apply xylene, do I apply another coat of sealer? Will xylene dull the finish or thin the second coat of sealer applied?
Xylene will only melt the bubbles, it does not dull the finish and you do not need to apply more sealer after.
I have recently had my concrete grinded and sealed with acrylic solvent. It has some bubbles in the sunny areas with some shinny patches that make it look a bit darker. Also some faint roller marks, Particularly noticeable when it is really cloudy. Can I spray with xylene to correct and should I roll after or just spray. If I roll generally how much working time do I have?
Solvent based acrylic sealers will not work well for plain white concrete. It will never dry evenly and will be splotchy. They are for decorative concrete surfaces only such as pavers, stamped, stained, etc.
Apply xylene will not fix your issues. You need to remove it and use a proper sealer for plain white concrete that is not acrylic.
What kind of solvent?
Xylene typically works well for this.
How do you control xylene when you pour it on floor How long does it take to desove the bubbles
Spray it on with a solvent resistant pump sprayer. Should melt within a minute.
How do l strip the old multiples layers sealer from a stamp concrete drive way
See this: https://www.concretesealerreview.com/how-to-strip-a-paver-sealer/
I sealed my two stamped patios with Euclid everclear doing the first coat on a Tuesday night about 8pm and the second coat Wednesday morning at 530am. Wednesday night got home from work and it is bubbled. I’m going to try xylene, but how heavy do I apply it? Best to backroll after spraying? Any other tips?
Do not roll. The article gives the tips as to when and how to fix it.
We sealed our aggregate patio and now that it is dry, in spots when we walk on it there is a crackle sound. Will that go away and what would cause that, could it be little bubbles that we are stepping on?
Not sure what it is or if it will go away. Sounds like it did not adhere correctly.
Sealed my aggregate pool deck and porch and the first coat was fine. It’s been 24 hours and second coat has small bubbles. I can hear them pop, but have to get down at ground level to see them, can I leave them since it’s not a cosmetic issue?
Awesome!!! Thank you!
I had to grind a driveway that was coated once with xylene and then two years later another guy applied water based, which didn’t hold up but for about three months! I Ground it down to bare concrete, (980sq feet took me two days) muriatic acid washed, and double rinsed with a pressure washer. Let it dry all day and came back the next to apply xylene, put the first coat on one day then had to apply a second coat the following, as recommended and cross rolled as recommended. There was streaks and a few bubbles that appeared. Then… Read more »
Nothing else besides the tips in the article.
Recently resealed my driveway and when purchasing the solvent based sealer product I was told by the sales guy that even though the drum label recommended I put 50% solvent 50% sealer on the first coat, I wouldn’t need any solvent at all. I explained that I was was resealing over old existing sealer. He said there won’t be an issue but if I was concerned I could add 2lt of solvent to a 20lt drum of sealer. I’ve now got blistering in a section with lots of little pea sized blisters. I applied the sealer on a 21 degree… Read more »
No, bubbles are not caused by a lack of adding solvent. It is not normal to thin your sealer with a solvent prior to applying.
Used solid color concrete stain on a two car garage floor, properly prepped and applied, dried completely. Put an oil based concrete clear sealer on top in one section with a brush (cut in) no bubbles at all. Rolled the remainder with a foam roller and a zillion of tiny bubbles formed. Tried xylene on a small spot and it melted the top coat, but also the stain underneath. This solution worked, but was a pain. Used a heavy floor roller (like for vinyl floor) which popped all the little bubbles. Swept up the white powder and reapplied the clear… Read more »
What is the best way to apply the solvent?
I’ve done three garage floors and a patio. After the prep work, I now always use a brush to avoid bubbles.
the problem I ve had could be i have put a acrylic sealer over water based colour sealer ive tried xylene didn t do any thing and Bubbles & blisters & flaking on it could you give me any advice what best to do if you know
You probably need to strip all and start over. https://www.concretesealerreview.com/how-to-strip-a-paver-sealer/
Will that take the colour off it
Possibly but you really do not have have any other way to remove the sealer that is failing.
can’ t get the sealer to dry. has been on the floor for 4 days
I have been using a foam sectional roller,for years, to apply the concrete sealer to my stamped concrete. The last couple of years I have rolled the sealer on , it looks fine but the next day there will be bubbles all over the place. What is causing this. Someone told me I should be spraying it on instead of rolling it.
Answers to your questions are in the above article. Spraying will not make a difference.
I am in the process of learning to install epoxy flooring. I have a potential customer who has new floor. The floor was not sanded or ground. The concrete has some smooth and some rough spots. This is interior floor in house. It also has a stain sprayed on afterwards and sealed. I do not know what product. Then the customer applied epoxy flooring from a kit purchased at the hardware store. The epoxy has no consistency. Smooth in some areas, not so smooth in others, bubbles here and there but lots of them. I assume the epoxy did not… Read more »
Yes, you will need to grind to fix.
What kind of solvent to melt the bubbles?
Aromatic solvent or Xylene.
What kind of a solvent to melt the bubbles
Aromatic solvent or Xylene.
will putting wax on the floor help with the bubbles?
Bubbles appeared a while back and before I could get concerned they went away. Now we’ve had days of rain and it’s been colder so the bubbles have reappeared and seems to be more. A couple have caused pealing and now I’m concerned. When things dry out, what’s the best method/products to ensure they don’t return?
Might need to strip removal all and start over to fix this issue. Feel free to post some pictures.
I have a different question. I did a sink and countertop in concrete. (Henrys feather finish) The countertop turned out perfect however the sink bowl looks awful. You can still see the fingerprint marks where I went in a circle around it, totally my fault not following directions… I went ahead and sealed it because I was just tired of dealing with it but now I really need to get it back out of the bowl and start over. What should I do? Can I just sand it or do I have to put a stripper in first??
You will most likely have to grind this off to fix but this is not our specialty.
Is it true that concrete sealer bubbles will go away after a few days . That’s what our contractor told us
Possible but not probable. You will know soon.
I have had my driveway stained/sealed twice in the last 2 1/2 months by the same company. I’m not sure what they aren’t doing right, but it is constantly bubbling. The first time they applied, they did a coat, then it rained.. came back the next afternoon and applied another coat. It bubbled with small bubbles. When you walked over it when it was dry it sounded like waking on bubble wrap. The bubbles burst and sloughed off, exposing the concrete underneath. It was awful. It was on our car tires, trash can wheels.. would be in the street after… Read more »
They just put a coat on today. This is what it looked like before they applied it.
I should add the first time it bubbled, they tried to use acetone with a stiff brush in a small spot to see if it would re-emulsify. It made it worse.
I doubt you can fix this by adding more. Removal by stripping and/or grinding may be needed.
huge problem on one wall of a swimming pool Stands ON the ground to fit the entrance to the pool
from the stoep of the house. Never sunshine there either. Don’t know if the water and wet wall comes from the pool !! Nothing could stop this problem in 12 years!! I am looking after the house and would
like to solve the problem for the owners. What sealer could help. Do you know Mighty Sealer? as the painter recommends?? or is it a Multi Sealer.
A sealer will not fix this issue.
I covered my decorative concrete with xylene and back rolled it and several days later more Bubbles and fogging occurred in the sealer.
Should I have just sprayed it with xylene and not back rolled it?
Yes, and do this late in the day when the sun goes done.
What type of solvent do you recommend for the bubbles.
can second coat be applied if bubble have appeared in first coat
The bubbles may get worse with a second coat.
I have a stamped concrete curb poured in two sections, on the second section there was no release powder used. The colours are now different, the contractor said he will add the release before sealing to match the colour. Will this work? Or do I need to use a different method to match the colours?
It should work but it may not match exactly.
Put 1st coat of 300sb sealant on slate tables. Turned out lovely. Spouse suggested 2nd coat. 2nd coat now has bubbling and fibers. Can I use very fine sand paper/sponge or fine steel wool to "knock it down" before reapplying? There was tack cloth residue on table before 2nd coat applied. Really hoping to avoid stripping…☺
Not sure if that will work and it may just repeat when you apply another coat. Might want to contact the manufacturer for some help.
Sealed a stamped patio and sidewalk. Used honeycomb 300 temputure was perfect and it bubbled up very bad in spots.. Then went over with 3 coats of xylene.all over the bubbles were gone.. The customer called back 5 hours later and said their was bubbles.we went back to the job and the bubbles were everywhere and alot worse. Is my only option now to strip it and start all over?? Thanks for answered!!
Probably will need to strip and start over.
I'm preparing to use SS30 on exposed aggregate concrete. There is a chance of rain tomorrow. Most of the patio is exposed but not all of it. How long does it take to dry, and if it rains within 12 hours, will that be fatal?
It typically can take a rain in about 4 hours after applying.
Had a new stamped concrete patio installed last week. 1 week later bubbles started showing up. What causes this and how do we fix it?
This article explains why and how to fix it. Try Xylene solvent.
applied a new supposedly state of the art sealer called black diamond today. it is a water based acrylic with 43% solids. wet the driveway, backrolled after spraying and sealer left streaks or dark lines where sealer overlapped, sealer sat for 30 seconds before backrolling. rep said it dried too quickly and it was too hot but it said nothing about high temps on the label, just be above 55 degrees. any suggestions on how to get rid of the lines without stripping..
You will most likely need to strip. Did they suggest a way to fix? They have contacted this website about trying their sealer and we were hesitant. Let us know how it goes.
Sealed paver driveway w solvent based sealer, looks good. Ran out on second spray coat in one area. Came back to finish that area a few days later which was above 90 degrees the area I finished turned white. Then took a paint brush with Zylene and spread on affected pavers. They then turned much briter than everywhere else. Any suggestion on how to fix?
Spray xylene on entire area when done to even out the appearance. Use a pump sprayer.
The Xylene must of melted the internals of the spray bottle I used it was only in the bottle for 2 hours now the spray bottle doesn't work , just saying
You should apply with a pump sprayer that can handle solvents. Not an inexpensive \”spray bottle\”.
We rolled sealer on new driveway, ended up with terrible streaking, sunny areas are worse. Will a second coat help?
Hard to say for sure as it depends on the type of driveway and the type of sealer you used.
I have stains on my patio pavers. Before I seal it, I want to remove the stains. Some of the stains are from
teak wood sealer. I tried muriatic acid and a few other things and nothing has worked. Any suggestions?
Try a graffiti remover and pressure washing to remove the teak stain.
we recently resealed our stamp patio and today woke up the white patches and lots of bubbles, how do we fix this?
Try applying xylene solvent to the affected areas.
Ok, will that help with the foggy white patches as well?
Yes it should.
Jody, the only fix is the xylene or to strip it all off and start over.
Elaine, probably not. Sorry.
Elaine, we have only seen solvent based sealers create bubbles.
I paid someone to stain and seal my new concrete floor and it is terribly bubbled. Is it possible to somehow sand the sealer off, or down? I really don't want to have to strip it. The drywall and doors are already installed.
DeeDee, you cannot sand it. What type of sealer was it? Solvent or water based?
Why can’t it be lightly sanded or screened like a wood floor finish is?
It will not work. Uneven surface, damage the concrete, uneven appearance when resealed, etc.