stamped concrete reseal newbie: xylene use, complete strip, water vs. solvent, etc.
I've purchased a 7 year old condo, with a 7 year old stamped concrete patio. I would like to update the finish on the patio, which hasn't been resealed since it was put in. I would like to figure out the best plan of attack going forward, giving myself the best finish, while using the least amount of time and effort.
Since this is a complicated issue, I feel the need to give the following facts:
My neighbor, who's in the concrete business, said that he's fairly certain that the contractor initially put down a product called Diamond Clear on both his and my patios, which according to my info is a water-based cure and seal, manufactured by the Euclid Chemical Co.
In between every-other-year reseals, my neighbor has been applying xylene to his patio, with reasonably good results. After each reseal with Diamond Clear, the only issue seems to be that he has experience some initial whitening of the finish, which then fades after some time. He has concluded that he should wait until the autumn, when the humidity is lower, and then apply the Diamond Clear for the best possible results. He is using xylene on a monthly basis to keep the finish looking its' best.
* Since I'm not 100% certain of the composition of the existing finish, I will use the suggestion offered on this forum by mustangmike, to try and discern whether the existing product is water or solvent based, by using a small amount of xylene on a very small area of the patio, while looking for bubbling, etc.
~ Should I just save myself any potential headaches, and plan on completely stripping the existing seal in the autumn, and then applying a product of my choosing.
~ What is the best stripperand method?
~ What is the best product to seal stamped concrete? Diamond Clear, EverClear, or other?
~ Should I plan on putting any kind of a anti-slip sand/grit additive into the mix, or will the finish dull naturally over time?
~ Can I follow my neighbor's lead and use xylene in the meantime, in order to "freshen-up" the finish, or will this end up causing potential chemical compatibility problems with whatever seal product I ending up choosing for the eventual new finish in the autumn?
I apologize for making such a lengthy, question-filled post, but this seems to be a complicated issue, especially for a newbie. Any input would be greatly appreciated!