Ce­ment headache

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It seems our builder didn’t re­ally know what he was do­ing when he built a new ce­ment coun­ter­top for our prep bowl. It was treated with one coat of face­brick and stone sealant, yet it doesn’t look as if it’s been sealed at all – it has a pow­dery coat and the top hasn’t dried out! What can I do to fix and seal it, or will I have to paint over it and for­get about a ce­ment fin­ish?

Joanne Sykes, mar­ket­ing and sales di­rec­tor at Cem­crete, replies The good news is that you can rec­tify the prob­lem with­out too much has­sle. Apart from the sur­face dis­coloura­tion, the coun­ter­top ap­pears well fin­ished in the pho­to­graph: it’s flat and level with good cor­ners. We sug­gest you first re­move the sink and fit­tings and pro­tect the walls with mask­ing tape and plas­tic sheet­ing. Then fol­low these steps: 1 Sand off the ex­ist­ing sealant, then al­low the counter to dry out com­pletely; this can take one day per mil­lime­tre. To test if any mois­ture is still present, place a clean tum­bler upside down

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