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When Nox-Crete’s Eastern Canada Division Manager, Mike Gauthier arrived at a jobsite earlier this year, the task at hand was one familiar to decorative concrete professionals everywhere – removing a decorative acrylic sealer from stamped concrete surrounding a residential pool.

In this particular instance, water vapor was trapped under 450 square feet of sealer, creating a cloudy, unattractive appearance across the surface. When applied too heavily, sealers don’t penetrate concrete as intended. Instead, they create an obstructive film on top, preventing excess moisture from evaporating.

“It was all white everywhere,” said Solda Pools Concrete Manager Christian Devcic, the contractor on the job.

Trapped water under the existing sealer created a cloudy appearance.

Trapped water under the existing sealer created a cloudy appearance.

In the past, Devcic had removed acrylic sealers with chemical strippers requiring multiple applications for complete removal. This time he would be using Nox-Crete’s Deco-Strip, with Gauthier’s guidance.

“When I got to the site, he asked how many days it would take,” Gauthier said. “I said ‘I’m thinking more like 3 hours.’”

Gauthier and Devcic quickly got to work. Using saw joints in the slab as markers, they separated the pool deck into sections, each one measuring 50 to 100 square feet.

They then roll-applied Deco-Strip two sections at a time, which simplified the application process and prevented over-application, Gauthier said. Once one section had been applied, they moved on to the next.

“You’ve got to be quick,” Devcic said. “After you apply it, you can’t power wash it right away, but you also can’t wait too long.” Nox-Crete recommends keeping the Deco-Strip wet with multiple, light applications until the acrylic sealer is completely soft, which could take 15-45 minutes.

About 15 minutes after a section of sealer was soft, they removed the Deco-Strip and sealer solution with a 3,000-PSI power washer. The treated surface was like new – the old sealer completely rinsed away, ready for quick disposal.

“It made zero mess around the outside perimeter,” Devcic said. “Some acrylic resin went into the pool and hardened into little balls. All I had to do was get a net and scoop it out. It was really easy cleanup.”

Overall, the Deco-Strip process took two and a half hours, Gauthier said.

Gauthier and Devcic applied Deco-Strip in sections.

Gauthier and Devcic applied Deco-Strip in sections.

“It’s a solution that takes 3 hours,” Devcic said. “It’s great stuff.”

In addition to being more effective at removing old sealers, Deco-Strip is also safer than other options, Gauthier said. The product includes environmentally friendly solvents that make it both powerful and biodegradable. Unlike other strippers that include hazardous methylene chloride or aromatic solvents like xylene, Deco-Strip offers unequaled results without posing potential harm to workers or the environment.

The lack of aromatic solvents also means Deco-Strip doesn’t have an offensive smell, Devcic said.

“There was an odor, but it wasn’t strong,” he said.

Effective, safe and inoffensive, working with Deco-Strip was an eye-opener, Devcic said. He plans on recommending the product to colleagues.

“I was very impressed,” he said. “I’ll definitely use it again.”