Will my stamped concrete sidewalk be ok if not sealed before winter comes?
Q. I recently had a stamped sidewalk installed at my home. However, it was done the end of October and has not been sealed due to cold weather setting in. Will it be ok to wait until spring 2015 to do this?
A. There's always a chance of some freeze/thaw damage to unprotected or unsealed stamped concrete. If a proper concrete mix was used, I like 4000 psi with air-entrainment and fibermesh, you should be ok.
Don't use any de-icing material on the concrete this winter. If it is a main walkway to the house, just use some sand to keep it from being slippery.
If you get 2 or 3 days of weather with temps. around 55 degrees and no rain, I would get the concrete sealed. The concrete should be completely dry for 24 hours before you seal it and 24 hours after you seal it.
When we use a solvent based concrete sealer in temps around 50 - 55 degrees, we cut it with some lacquer thinner to help it dry a little faster. We apply the first coat really thin and usually in an hour can apply the second coat. The ratio we use is 2 gallons sealer to 1/2 gallon lacquer thinner. You can mix it in a clean bucket using a paint stick.
We use a hand held pump up sprayer to apply the sealer and have someone immediately back rolling with a 3/8 to 1/2 inch nap paint roller to evenly distribute the sealer on the surface of the concrete. The first coat should be completely dry to touch before applying the second coat.
If the temperatures stay too cold to seal the concrete, you have no choice other than to leave it unsealed. If you try to seal it and the temperature is too cold, the sealer will not cure properly and lead to it delaminating and turning a whitish color because of moisture issues.