Long story short, I had a stamped concrete patio poured 2yrs ago this May. The contractor stamped it too late so some areas had some crumbling. It looked fine for the first year, but over the first winter, some areas started to break away. I was pretty busy with project last summer and didn't want to reseal the patio until I was done. I ended up finishing up most of the projects and laying sod around October. So essentially I ran out of time, to do probably one of the easier jobs.

With the cold weather approaching I paid one of the workers who tar'd my driveway to come back and spray wet look solvent sealer over the patio to fill the cracks, and protect it from the winter and do any further damage. It was 60 degrees that day. He came back the next day when I was at work and it was high 30's low 40's and did it. So I am not sure if it looks milky/cloudy because it was done in the cold weather, or because the original sealer was water based...

I would like to fix it this summer, and looking over how to remove the sealer, there are different methods for solvent vs water based. So now I am not sure what the original sealer was.

What is the best approach for stripping the sealer off?


enter image description here enter image description here

What it shouod have looked like, and did after first applied: enter image description here

  • There could be a number of causes of cloudiness. If it's trapped moisture, it may eventually clear on its own. If the finishes have different refractive indexes, that can make it look cloudy. That said, you're comparing the result to the bare concrete or what you originally envisioned in your head, and it looks different from that. However, what's in the pictures looks good. Trying to remove the finish will be a lot of work and is likely to look bad. I would leave it as is and just decide that this is the look you were going for. It's going to change as it weathers, anyway.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 3, 2018 at 5:02
  • @fixer1234 thanks for the response. It looks really bad compared to how it should. I updated and added another picture of how it should look, and did when first applied. Something happend when it cured, and im thinking the cold temps.
    – eaglei22
    Mar 3, 2018 at 5:13
  • It's very hard to cleanly and evenly remove sealers and finishes from concrete and leave the original surface. You may think it looks bad compared to what you intended, but to anyone who doesn't know what you intended, the pictures look fine. You will invest a lot of work to remove it and are likely to make it actually look bad; much worse than what you think about the current appearance. Just let it cure and weather for a year, and then decide if it's still worth trying to strip it.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 3, 2018 at 5:29
  • Sand Blasting is expensive but gets the job done May 15, 2018 at 15:59
  • 1
    Yes it will give you a fresh clean start May 15, 2018 at 16:29

3 Answers 3


The best way is to test each removal technique, side by side in an inconspicuous area. Then compare the results. Photograph your progress, take notes.


Power washed it, and used a good concrete cleaner (soap added to power washer). Then used xylol/xylene and rolled it with a paint roller, went over it twice and seemed to do the job. There are a few spots that need touch up with sealer, but thats another day.


  • xylene was going to be my suggestion.. thanks for sharing how it worked out for you! Jul 10, 2019 at 16:08

The cloudiness in stamped concrete is cause to moisture or low temperatures when it was sealed.

You can wash your stamped concrete with HCL 30% in water( 5-10% HCL30% and the rest 90% water). Wash you stamped concrete with this mixture with a broom. After wash with clean water. Let it dry. After roll all them with toluene. Probably you will need to roll it 2 times.( the second one after 1 hour from the first). With this you will success a very good result. you can try a corner before you make all the concrete to see its results. Ground temperature to be 15-30 degrees Celcius.

  • 1
    I had success with Xylene. Have you ever used this product? is there any difference from your method, over using Xylene?
    – eaglei22
    May 30, 2018 at 18:05

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