Removing an old water or solvent based acrylic sealer from concrete or paver surfaces doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, to remove an old acrylic you don’t even need any fancy cleaners, or toxic chemicals.
The easiest way to remove an old acrylic is with Xylene and a high PSI (high pressure) or heated pressure washer. You will apply the Xylene which eats away at the acrylic and wash it away with the pressure washer. A few rinses may be required until you get a better handle on how much of the Xylene to apply. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer you can pick up a coatings stripper from any local hardware store, including Home Depot, and follow the directions on the package.
Once the old acrylic has been removed you want to give the concrete or pavers at least 24 hours to dry before applying a new acrylic. When choosing a new acrylic, consider the following so you don’t find yourself stripping away an old acrylic every few years:
1. Professional grade acrylics that offer a higher solids and superior resin base will give you more life and better performance than a low solids “cheap” acrylic. While the $99 price for a 5 gallon pail seems attractive, it will cost you more in the long run when you have to reapply after only 6 months, or strip off after a year. Products like the Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer, or the Armor AR500 High Gloss sealer are designed to bond better and last longer than traditional acrylics.
2. Remember this: Water based acrylics need to be re-coated with water based acrylics (after a good surface scratching); solvent based acrylics need to be re-coated with solvent based acrylics. Solvent based acrylics require less work and tend to last longer than water based so if you have the opportunity to start with a solvent based acrylic it will be easier to maintain and re-coat. Take for example the Armor AR350. In 2-5 years when you decide you want the sheen back you can clean the surface and apply more Armor AR350 right over the old Armor AR350. No removal, no prep – just reapply.
3. Apply the acrylic to a completely dry surface. The only time prep is required before applying a new acrylic is if the old acrylic blushed, or tuned white. This is a clear sign of a water or bonding issue and the acrylic has peeled away from the surface. In this case, you will have to remove the acrylic if it was water based, or use a Blush Repair product if it is solvent based.
Do I have to remove my old acrylic?
Before going through the process of removing an acrylic, talk to a technician to see if you even need to. In many cases a new acrylic can be applied over the old acrylic, and even bad acrylics can be repaired. If you have questions, contact Foundation Armor at 866-306-0246 or Live Chat on their website, FoundationArmor.com. They are a leading chemical manufacturer that specializes in concrete chemicals.