Tips for Working with Low-VOC Products

Solvent-based curing & sealing products are superior to water-based products in several ways:

  1. They bond better with the concrete substrate.
  2. They provide deeper/richer color to decorative concrete.
  3. They have better “recoatability” when re-applying over old sealers.
  4. They can be used at lower temperatures.
  5. They do not separate, require agitation, or “go bad” if stored for long periods of time.

Certain states have enacted VOC regulations that limit the solvent choices available to coatings manufacturers. In order to meet those regulations, ChemMasters has developed the “A-Team” of cures & seals. These VOC compliant solvents have all the advantages inherent to solvent-based products, but tend to evaporate more quickly, especially in warm weather. As a result, using low-VOC products requires learning a few different methods for application to accommodate for the increased evaporation rate of those solvents.

Tips for Applying Low-VOC Solvent Based Products

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  • When solvents evaporate too quickly, small bubbles can form in the coating. Avoid applying low-VOC products during the heat of the day.
  • When surface temperatures exceed 100° F, working time is significantly reduced. Try to apply in the cool hours of the morning or evening, and avoid over-working product during application. Application to surfaces exceeding 115° F should be avoided.
  • Keep the pail of sealer cool prior to use. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight.
  • Use of rollers to apply low-VOC products can accelerate solvent evaporation. When possible, use a pump-up hand sprayer.
  • If roller application is necessary, keep a pan of xylene nearby to “back-roll” areas that become stringy, and to “re-wet” the roller if cob webbing or spider webbing occurs.
  • Keep your sprayer tip within one foot of the concrete surface.
  • Maintain adequate sprayer pressure. Low pressure will cause dribbling that will leave an variegated appearance.
  • Adhere closely to the recommended application rates. Over application can result in blushing, whitening, blistering or peeling of the coating. Coatings must “breath”, but lose that breathability if they are too thick.
  • Consider use of ChemMasters' Gloss Restorer™ SRT for coatings that are weathered and dull, to avoid coating “build up” from multiple applications over several years.
  • Use a sprayer designed for aggressive solvents, such as the Chapin Extreme.
  • To avoid issues associated with use of low-VOC products, consider use of ChemMasters' Stamped & Decorative Concrete Sealer 400A which is a low-VOC material that is formulated to perform like a high-VOC product. Stamped & Decorative Concrete Sealer 400A uses a unique slow-evaporating solvent system that increases user-friendliness, and reduces bubbling, stringing, cob webbing, blushing, whitening, blistering and peeling.
  • Contact ChemMasters' Technical Service Department with any questions regarding use of low-VOC products.