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Ovation Concrete Countertop Sealer FAQs

This page contains frequently asked questions about Ovation DIY Concrete Countertop SealerTM.

Top Questions about Ovation


Application Process

Care and Maintenance

Stain and Scratch Resistance

Other Properties

Where can it be used?

Concrete Surface Preparation


Common Issues and Troubleshooting

Resealing and Compatibility with Other Sealers



Q: How is Ovation Concrete Countertop SealerTM different?

A: Ovation is a revolutionary new single component, water based concrete countertop sealer that also offers excellent performance. In the past, single component sealer choices were limited to under-performing acrylics or flammable solvent-based treatments. Ovation is water based, food safe, non-flammable and can be used indoors and outdoors. It’s easy enough for DIY concrete countertop projects, and high performance enough for pro projects.

Ovation: Safe. Simple. Effective. The simple sealer for everyone.


Q: How does Ovation compare to Omega?

A: Omega is a professional grade sealer that requires precise mixing, a separate priming process, and provides extreme chemical resistance and stain protection. Ovation was formulated to be simple, easy to use for DIY concrete countertops, and offer good protection provided basic care is exercised.

Please see this article for a detailed comparison.

Q: Where can I buy Ovation Concrete Countertop SealerTM?

A:  Click here for purchasing information.


Q: What is the coverage and cost per square foot?

A: A 16 oz bottle covers approximately 50 to 100 sq ft using 4 coats, depending on the porosity of your concrete. Spend only $69.99, for $0.70 per sq ft at maximum coverage to $1.40 per sq ft at minimum coverage.

A 64 oz bottle covers approximately 200 to 400 sq ft for only $169.99. Cost per sq ft is $0.42 at maximum coverage to $0.85 at minimum coverage.


Q: Where can I find the instructions?

A: Click here for the Ovation instructions. It is essential to watch and read the full documentation before applying the sealer.


Q: What equipment is required to apply Ovation?

A: Ovation is applied with foam rollers. It is important to use high quality foam rollers, because this will result in a better surface finish quality. You may purchase packs of foam rollers as well as handles from the Sealers category in our online store.


Q: I have a technical issue with Ovation. How do I get help?

A: First, please be sure that you have read this FAQ, read the written instructions, and viewed the extensive instructional videos. If you still have issues, in order to assist you properly we need complete and detailed information. Please fill out this form for sealer technical support.


Q: What test data do you have?

A: Extensive testing for stain and acid resistance has been performed following the procedure explained here. Performance is excellent at 1 hour. Ovation stands up to many substances well past 1 hour, but in general we recommend that you clean up spills promptly.

Here are the detailed results.

Ovation-Concrete-Countertop-Sealer-performance characteristics

(Please note: Acetone caused damage in less than 1 hour. Please see below for further information about acetone and alcohol.)



Q: How many total coats and how long did you wait for it to cure before the testing?

A: Testing was done on 4 coats, when the finish was 2 weeks old. This represents typical long-term performance. Early performance was very good too, but hard to characterize, as the finish is still curing when it’s only a couple days old. Sealers cure and gain performance in a similar way to how concrete cures and gains strength over time. A sealer can be dry to the touch, but that does not mean it has achieved its full protection.


Q: Will Ovation work on all concrete?

A: Yes and no. Of course the surface of the concrete has to be correctly prepared. Even on correctly prepared concrete, although Ovation’s performance is not related to the kind of concrete it’s applied to, its appearance can be. Different concrete mix designs, casting techniques, curing regimens, surface processing techniques, environmental conditions, etc. will influence how well Ovation is applied and how it looks.

In particular, very porous concrete can present challenges, showing dark lines that are sometimes interpreted as roller marks. Please see below for details on dealing with porous concrete. Bear in mind most DIY concrete that uses ordinary home center concrete will likely be more porous as compared to professional grade concrete made for concrete countertops. Highly porous concrete will require more sealer, especially for the first coat.

It’s strongly recommended to test Ovation, or any sealer, on a trial sample before sealing a real project for the first time. Practice in timing and application method is essential, because the outcome is often directly related to the skill and care of the person applying the sealer.


Q: Does it stand up to mustard?

A: Mustard is an extreme staining agent due to the coloring (often turmeric) and acidity. Similarly, red wine, and coffee are extreme staining agents. These substances will make a slight stain on Ovation (a little color, not etching) after 1 hour or more.

Only the surface of the sealer stains – the concrete does not stain – and it is fixed easily with bleach. Simply saturate a cotton ball or paper towel with bleach and let sit on the stained area. Bleach will not harm Ovation up to 24 hours exposure.

The real issue would be if Ovation were susceptible to acid etching. Many of these staining agents are also acidic, and if the acid ate through Ovation to the concrete, not only would the sealer be permanently damaged, but also the concrete would be damaged. Fortunately Ovation is impervious to acids such as vinegar and lemon juice up to 1 hour.

One food substance that is particularly challenging for Ovation is Tabasco Sauce (a brand of hot pepper sauce). Tabasco Sauce can permanently damage the sealer if left on too long. The general rule of thumb for Ovation is to wipe up spills promptly, and in general most substances should not be allowed to sit for more than 1 hour.


Q: Does it stand up to acetone? Alcohol?

A: No. You should take care not to get acetone on a surface sealed with Ovation. Isopropyl alcohol is also damaging to Ovation. Acetone causes damage in less than one hour; alcohol takes longer to cause damage.

These solvents will dissolve Ovation and cause it to become very soft and lose its protective ability. Wiping up spilled acetone can physically remove cured Ovation.

The damage from acetone and alcohol may not be readily apparent, but the solvents do affect the finish and reduce its ability to protect the surface.

Note that drinking alcohol such as wine is different from isopropyl alcohol. Ovation performs very well against wine, and in fact red wine was one of the substances tested which caused no damage well beyond 1 hour of exposure.


Q: Is it grease/oil resistant?

A: Vegetable/olive oil has no effect on Ovation up to 1 hour of exposure.


Q. Will it prevent water marks?

A:  Ovation is a breathable finish. After some time, water will go through the coating of Ovation and soak into the concrete. These are not water marks in the sealer, they are simply wet concrete. The concrete will dry out on its own. See below about water penetration.

Note that Ovation does NOT allow through particles other than water, such as the staining agents in red wine or the acidic substances in lemon juice. This is because of the differing molecular weights of water and these other substances.


Q: Can Ovation be used in wet areas such as sinks, tubs and showers?

A: Yes, but keep in mind as explained above, Ovation will allow water to pass through and darken the concrete underneath.


Q: I know Ovation is supposed to be fine for wet areas, but I am seeing some water penetration. What’s going on?

A: Ovation is a breathable finish. This means that water will go through the sealer and wet the concrete underneath. This causes no harm to either the sealer or the concrete and will dry out on its own. Many natural stones (granites) exhibit the same behavior, especially in bathrooms, and this is no cause for concern.


Q: There is milky white residue stuck to the inside of the bottle. Should I be concerned?

A: A small amount of the matting agent will settle out and get stuck to the inside of the bottle, and it will not mix in even with vigorous shaking. This is not a cause for concern. The amount of matting agent that is stuck to the inside of the bottle is not enough to affect the sheen of the sealer.


Q: Is it food safe?

A: Yes. Once Ovation is cured it is completely food safe and inert.

The most “toxic” chemical in Ovation is ammonia, which is naturally occurring throughout the environment in the air, soil, and water, and in plants and animals, including humans. Ammonia is also found in many household and industrial cleaners. Once cured, Ovation has no remaining ammonia or ammonia odor.


Q: What is the shelf life?

A: Ovation has a long shelf life of 2 years, stored in an airtight container either diluted or undiluted.


Q: How long does it take for Ovation to cure completely and gain its full performance?

A: Just like concrete, sealers need to cure. You wouldn’t expect your concrete to have full strength after only 24 hours – although it may be strong enough to handle, it will gain strength over time.

Typically you should expect near-full cure of Ovation in about 7 days, depending on temperature. Just like concrete, Ovation continues to mature and gain performance over time, and you will notice an increase in the surface hardness and a change in how it feels as time goes on. The degree of change slows and diminishes after a about week or two.

As Ovation cures, it gains stain and acid resistance well past 1 hour of exposure.


Q: What sheens are available?

A: Satin and gloss.

Ovation Gloss is the newest addition to CCI’s line of state-of-the-art concrete countertop sealers. Ovation Gloss now gives DIY’ers and pro-fabricators a true glossy sealer option.

Note that glossy finishes are highly reflective and thus highlight the texture of the concrete and the quality of the application. They also tend to show dirt, fingerprints and scuff marks more than low-sheen finishes. Done well they look great. Done poorly they look plasticky and can accentuate mistakes.

  • The base chemistry of Ovation Gloss is identical to the original satin Ovation, except without the matting agent.
  • The mixing and application processes are identical, as are the performance benefits.
  • For best results, the concrete should be smooth and flat, and honed to a grit no finer than 400 grit.
  • It takes a minimum of 4 coats to achieve the full gloss level. Fewer coats will appear duller because of the ultra-thin nature of each layer, and an insufficient build of sealer will show the concrete’s microtexture, making the surface less glossy.
  • Ovation Gloss is non-color enhancing, just like satin Ovation.
  • Ovation Gloss can be applied over Omega the same way satin Ovation can. Click here for more information about combining Ovation and Omega.

concrete countertop sealer sheen Omega Ovation matte satin gloss large


Q: Does Ovation enhance the color of the concrete (darken it)?

A: Ovation is very slightly color enhancing, meaning that it typically very slightly darkens the color of the concrete. (Color enhancement is a different property than the sheen of the finish.)

The degree of color enhancement varies depending upon the concrete and its history. How it was cured and processed, as well as the ingredients in the concrete, influence how close to or how far from water-wet the concrete will look. The color of the concrete also has a big effect on how much the concrete darkens: dark colored concrete will enhance far more than light colored concrete.

There is no way to predict exactly how much Ovation will color enhance your concrete, because of the extreme variability in these factors. We recommend you seal a sample before using Ovation on a full project.

Please note that Ovation and Omega have very different color enhancing properties. The exact same piece of concrete sealed with Ovation versus Omega will look very different. Here is a photo of concrete with Ovation applied on the left Omega applied on the right. Bare concrete is in the middle.

Omega versus Ovation color enhancement with text


Q: How often does it need to be reapplied or resealed?

A: Never, unless you subject it to extreme abuse (like using your countertop as a cutting board). This question stems from the outdated practice of using soft, temporary finishes like acrylic sealers to “seal” concrete countertops. Ovation won’t degrade on its own, but abuse, neglect and physical damage will require resealing. Take care of the finish and you won’t need to reapply it. Neglect and abuse it and you likely will need to.


Q: Do you recommend it for outdoor projects?

A: Absolutely. It is UV stable and fine for outdoors in all wet/dry and freeze/thaw conditions. Note the information about water marks.


Q: Can I put hot pots on it?

A: No. Ovation is not heat resistant. Use trivets for hot pans. Do not use a slow cooker on the surface of a countertop sealed with Ovation. If Ovation gets too hot, a permanent shiny mark will appear because the sealer softens from the heat and the weight of the pot will press a shiny spot into the surface.


Q: How do I clean surfaces sealed with Ovation?

Maintenance and cleaning couldn’t be easier. Damp cloths, mild detergents and other water-based cleansers with neutral pH are all that are needed. Examples are 409, Fantastik, Windex, and Simple Green. Vinegar, bleach and bleach-based cleansers are acceptable.

Wipe gently and do not scrub.

Avoid harsh, acidic cleaners and solvents. Abrasive cleansers or scrubbers should never be used. These include Ajax, Comet, Brillo pads and 3M scrubbing pads, and all similar products. Abrasive cleaning products will scratch and damage the surface, compromising the sealer’s ability to protect the concrete.


Q: Can I bleach concrete countertops sealed with Ovation?

A: Yes! Ovation is completely impervious to bleach, so it is very easy to sanitize your concrete countertops simply by wiping them with bleach and a soft cloth.


Q: Can I cut on it?

A: No. There is no coating you should cut on, because unless a coating is made of diamonds, it will scratch. Use a cutting board!


Q: How does it perform with respect to scratches?

A: Ovation has good scratch resistance. Its scratch resistance is somewhat less than Omega, but still good. It will not scratch under normal use of simply placing objects on the counter. It will scratch if cut on with a knife, or a sharp object is dragged across the surface.


Q: Can scratches be repaired?

A: Yes, Ovation is easy for the homeowner to repair if scratches do occur. Please see this article detailing how to repair scratches in Ovation Concrete Countertop Sealer.

Scratches should be taken care of immediately, or as soon as possible. Deep scratches can penetrate the sealer and expose the concrete underneath. Stains that get into the concrete through the scratch are very difficult to remove.


Q: How does it compare to [other popular sealer] when it comes to abrasion resistance?

A: The abrasion resistance of Ovation is good (although less than Omega), with a low Taber abrasor score (lower is better) – see the test results above. We don’t have comparable data for other sealers, and therefore cannot comment on which is better.


Q: Why would I want to use a coating that might scratch if there are penetrating treatments out there that claim to provide stain and acid resistance?

A: In our experience over the past 2 decades, no penetrating treatment has ever provided consistently satisfactory performance with respect to stain and acid resistance. Only coatings prevent substances from touching the concrete, giving actual protection by forming a barrier.

It is important to test any sealer yourself (including Ovation) to verify the manufacturer’s claims as well as to familiarize yourself with the details of its performance. We strongly recommend that you follow the rigorous stain and acid testing procedure before you put any new (to you) sealer on a client project – especially any treatment, because treatments allow substances to touch the concrete.

The debate between coatings and treatments has been raging in the concrete countertop industry for decades. Click here for a detailed article about this topic.


Q: How do I prepare the surface to seal?

A: Surface prep is a critical part of success with any sealer. Please see these instructions for surface prep. Ovation and Omega have the same surface preparation procedure.


Q: Can I dry grind to prepare the surface for Ovation? I usually do dry grinding instead of wet, or I’m doing a reseal in someone’s kitchen. Or I already dry ground!

A: NO!  Never dry grind concrete that you plan to seal with Ovation.

Please see this article for a detailed explanation of why, as well as 2 informative videos.

If you already dry ground the surface, it can be fixed. See this article.


Q: I’m considering priming the concrete with [popular reactive treatment] followed by Ovation top coats. The reasoning is that the [popular reactive treatment] will make the concrete itself stain/acid resistant, and Ovation will provide an additional physical barrier that is also stain/acid resistant.

A: Be careful about applying treatments to concrete followed by any coating. Most coatings require clean, dry, bare concrete with enough microtexture (max 200 or 400 grit depending on the coating) to bond to. Ovation almost certainly should not go over [popular reactive treatment] or any other penetrating treatment (densifier) with a lithium/potassium/sodium silicate or silicanate or siloxane chemistry. We have not tested Ovation in these circumstances.

What you are trying to achieve is a completely impervious system that even if it scratches and staining agent/acid/oil gets through the scratches, the concrete underneath will not stain. But what you’re creating is a bonding problem.

The unfortunate truth is that there is no perfect sealer. You can choose stain/acid resistance, or you can choose scratch resistance. You can’t have both. As stated above, “In our experience over the past 2 decades, no penetrating treatment has ever provided consistently satisfactory performance with respect to stain resistance, acid resistance and even water resistance.”

We believe that stain/acid resistance is far more important. Click here for a detailed article about this topic.


Q: Can Ovation be applied over a densifier?

A: It can, but it should not be. Applying Ovation over a densifier involves a lot of work, and doing so is risky. See the answer to the previous question about [popular reactive treatment].

If you’re not resealing but making a new countertop, think about what you are trying to achieve by using a densifier, and whether it’s really necessary. Densifiers are typically used to decrease permeability and to make concrete harder for polishing. You don’t need to decrease permeability when you’re going to apply a completely impermeable coating. And you’re not going to polish concrete before applying Ovation, because you’re going to stop at 200 or 400 grit. So densifiers make no sense with Ovation or with any other coating.


Q: Can Ovation be applied over acid stains?

A: Yes, if you’re talking about actual acid stains that work by penetrating the surface and reacting chemically with the calcium hydroxide in the concrete. In that case, Ovation should adhere fine with very thorough surface prep, as is the case for all coating sealers. The acid stain must first be completely neutralized, and all residue scrubbed off. A “white towel” test will determine whether all of the residue has been removed or not. The concrete must then be well rinsed with water. The concrete should then dry for 24 hours, since all the cleaning pumps a lot of moisture into the concrete.

Please note that turquoise acid stains are vulnerable to moisture and can turn black over time because the color isn’t permanent in moist conditions (turquoise acid stains are copper based), and because Ovation is a breathable finish. We have not tested Ovation over turquoise acid stains and recommend that if you are going to attempt this, that you perform testing first.

Other “stains” may actually be pigmented coatings (e.g. Smith Paints), and Ovation may or may not adhere to them. Excessive application of Buddy Rhodes Glazes can create adhesion issues (glaze to concrete and Ovation to glaze). Using pigmented coatings and glazes under Ovation should be tested by the end user, because application can vary so widely.


Q: Will Ovation adhere to glass and metal

A: Glass and metal are popular decorative embedments in concrete countertops. Ovation will adhere to properly prepared glass and metal such as stainless steel.

Glass should be diamond-honed to a grit no finer than 200 to ensure good adhesion.

Metal needs to be thoroughly cleaned and scuffed to ensure good adhesion. We recommend hand-sanding bare metal with a non-diamond abrasive such as silicon-carbide sandpaper to a grit no finer than 220. The metal should then be cleaned with acetone to remove residue, grease or other contaminants.

Note that Ovation will not prevent rust or metal oxidation or corrosion, as Ovation is breathable and oxygen and water vapor will pass through the sealer.


Q: Can Ovation be used on fire features?

A: Yes, if the fire feature is designed to keep the heat of the flame away from the concrete. If neither the concrete nor the sealer are going to heat up, this is a non-issue. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s too hot to touch with your bare hands, it’s too hot for the concrete or the sealer. Well-designed fire features don’t allow the concrete to get too hot to touch, as that is a safety hazard for people.

Ovation softens at higher temps, but usually returns to normal once it cools. We recommend trivets for countertops sealed with Ovation, because a hot pot set on the countertop will show a shiny mark because of the pressure from the pot’s weight against the heat-softened finish.


Q: How can I apply Ovation to large vertical surfaces such as waterfall ends of a table or island?

A: Vertical surfaces are sealed by working in narrow vertical strips, starting at the bottom and working up while that vertical strip of sealer remains wet. Ovation is sprayed on and backrolled the same way as flat surfaces, but you may find you need to work a bit faster to chase runs and drips.


Q: How does it compare to [other single component sealer]?

A: That, as well as other company’s brands, is an acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealers perform very poorly, even for short times, against acids and staining substances. Ovation performs superbly up to 1 hour of exposure.


Q: Can Ovation be applied over Omega? And vice versa?

A: Yes and yes. Ovation and Omega are completely compatible.

Ovation over Omega: You would do this if you want the protection of Omega with the satin sheen of Ovation, without having to buff Omega to achieve a satin sheen. Just let Omega cure enough so it’s not sticky before applying a coat of Ovation.

Omega over Ovation: You would do this if you want the protection of Omega but do not want the amount of color enhancement that Omega provides. The first coat of Ovation provides very little color enhancement. Then the subsequent coats of Omega provide the protection. Let the coat of Ovation dry for at least an hour before proceeding with Omega.


Q: I am not happy with the performance of [other sealer], and would like to reseal. Can Ovation be applied right over our current sealer?

A: If the other sealer is a coating, likely yes. Most coatings just need to be scuff sanded (not sanded completely off), and then Ovation applied. It has excellent adherence over a few other popular coatings we’ve tested. Ovation can be applied over Omega after a light scuff sand. This is sometimes done to increase the sheen of Omega.

Please note that Ovation should NOT be applied over penetrating or reactive treatments. Stone and tile “sealers” are repellents and will prevent Ovation from sticking to your concrete. Those types of products are terrible to use on concrete because of the poor level of protection they offer concrete, and because they can prevent a good sealer from being used afterwards.


Q: I applied the first coat, and there are dark lines/light lines/blotches everywhere. I thought this sealer was supposed to lay out easily with no roller marks. What should I do?

A: Don’t panic! Your concrete will absorb a lot of water when you apply the first coat of Ovation. What you are seeing is variably-wet concrete. As the concrete and the sealer dry out, the surface will lighten and become uniform again. That is when you know it’s time to apply the next coat of Ovation. It usually takes about an hour, but cool or humid conditions may cause it to take longer.


Q: What happens if I accidentally spill water on the sealer in the middle of the sealing process, for example after I’ve just finished the second of four coats?

A: No worries, in the case of water spilled during the sealer process simply proceed with the next coat. However, if you spill water on the surface just after you have completed the sealing process, before the sealer has cured, you should blot up the water, because it will leave a dull or dark mark on the sealer. After the sealer has cured completely (usually after 4 days depending on temperature), it is completely impervious to water.


Q: What if I get dust in the sealer? And if I don’t notice dust in the finish until the next day, and the surface is bumpy?

A: Dust is an issue in any shop, but Ovation is very forgiving. If you notice dust, particles, hair, or fibers in the surface while sealing, they can simply be brushed off with your finger or a paper towel. The mark left by doing this will disappear on its own.

If you feel any roughness the next day after sealing, say if dust settled in there, simply go over it with 1000 or 1200 grit sandpaper very lightly and quickly by hand. There’s no machine sanding or buffing.


Q: What happens if Ovation freezes?

A: Ovation should never freeze. You will know it! It becomes a hard, rubbery puck when frozen.

During the winter, please select an appropriate shipping method to get Ovation to you as quickly as possible. There are no refunds for product frozen in shipping, as stated on our Order & Return Policy page.


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