Guide to Concrete Driveway Sealers
Concrete driveways, patios, sidewalks, pool decks, and parking areas areas are exposed to lots of water, making water the number one enemy and primary cause of deterioration on concrete surfaces. Snow, ice, freezing weather, salts, and deicing chemicals can seriously damage both new and old concrete, leading to an unsightly appearance within just a few years. However, there is a simple and affordable solution: sealing your concrete driveway. By protecting your outdoor concrete with a quality concrete driveway sealer, you can confidently defend it against the premature deterioration, extend its longevity, and maintain visual appeal.
Protect your concrete driveway now, so that you do not have to replace it or make extensive repairs later!
In this article we will discuss the benefits of sealing your concrete driveway, review the common types of concrete and paver sealers that are available, and provide our picks for the best concrete driveway sealers to protect your investment.
Why You Should Use a Concrete Driveway Sealer
Most homeowners are well aware that nature’s elements can wreak havoc on a concrete driveway surface, causing spalling, pitting, cracking, efflorescence, and overall deterioration. Oil spills, leaking engine fluids, grease, tire marks, acids, and leaf stains can do a number on the appearance alone. Concrete driveways will deteriorate more quickly if; 1) the water/cement ratio was too high; 2) the concrete surface is not finished properly, 3) the concrete is allowed to dry too quickly, or too much water is added to the surface during the initial cure. By applying a concrete driveway sealer early on, you can extend its life, reduce maintenance & crack repair, and ultimately avoid having to replace it later.
How Much Does a New Concrete Driveway Cost? Installing a concrete driveway can be quite pricey. The average cost for concrete alone is about $6 per square foot (500 sq. ft. driveway will cost $3,000). However, there are other associated costs to consider including the gravel base (50 cents per sq. ft./$250), labor (around $800), materials (around $500), and removal of the old concrete driveway (anywhere from $1000 to $5,000). As you can see, costs can add up quickly.
After investing significant money into your driveway, it makes sense to protect it. We always recommend strengthening your concrete with RadonSeal Concrete Sealer to greatly reduce the chance of cracking, pitting, and spalling. Concrete treated with RadonSeal is suitable for gloss sealers, water repellents, or stains. At a cost of roughly $0.19 per square foot, this is a low-risk, high-reward type of project.
Using a concrete driveway sealer sooner, rather than later, will save you time & money!
Sealing your concrete driveway will help:
- Extend The Life of The Concrete
- Help Prevent Mold & Algae Growth
- Strengthen and Densify the Concrete
- Reduce Spalling and Cracking
- Resist Chemical Spills
- Reduce The Bond between Snow & Ice
- Reduce Maintenance Frequency and Costs
Read Customers’ feedback and tips on Sealing Outdoor Concrete
Concrete Driveway Sealer Will Protect Against…
Freeze-thaw cycles have the potential to cause the worst damage. Concrete is porous and when snow and ice melt, the water penetrates deep into the concrete. When this absorbed water repeatedly melts and freezes, it exerts tremendous expansive force, which results in scaling, pitting, and cracking of the concrete.
However, water causes even more damage when it starts corroding reinforcing steel. Nothing can stop the expansion of rusting steel. If facts rebar can expand 4 times it’s diameter when it rusts, As it expands, it cracks the concrete from the inside. This damage is often noticeable on parking structures and bridges.
Salts and Deicers:
De-icers have a particularly destructive effect on concrete by chemical reaction. In fact, on a new driveway, you are supposed to wait at least two years before using deicers. In addition, chemical deicers also greatly increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles, amplifying their destructive effects. By reducing the freeze point of water, salts allow water to penetrate deeper into the concrete. As more water is absorbed into the concrete, the salt content drops and the water freezes, expands, and causes cracks, and spalling. If you live close to the ocean, seal your outdoor concrete against saltwater and salts carried by the wind.
Chlorine is also destructive to concrete – it reacts and breaks it down. Chlorine also corrodes metal concrete reinforcements and rebar supports. Seal your concrete pool deck against splashing water and chlorine.
Mold, Mildew, Moss, & Algae:
Additionally, mold, mildew, moss, and algae will often develop in shady, damp areas causing discoloration and staining. This can also make the concrete surface very slippery. A concrete driveway sealer will allow your concrete to dry much more quickly, reducing the potential for organic growth.
Spills & Leaks:
Oil spills, leaky engine fluids, and household chemicals can penetrate concrete and leave deep, hard-to-remove stains.
Types of Concrete Driveway Sealers
Common sense tells you that you need a good concrete driveway sealer to protect your investment. Which type of sealer to use, however, is not always such a clear-cut decision.
The most common driveway sealers are wet-look, glossy, acrylic sealers that work by forming a thin and soft layer on the surface, just like acrylic paint would. They are inexpensive and readily available in stores. Acrylic, however, is the least durable type of concrete driveway sealer. The soft surface film gets worn off by vehicular traffic, foot traffic, and even heavy rains – be prepared to re-apply every year or two! Some low-end acrylics can even yellow or fade when exposed to UV rays from the sun.
Another widely sold driveway sealer are silane & siloxane-based sealers. This type of sealer penetrates and absorbs just below the surface of concrete and help repel rainwater. However, store-bought varieties do not penetrate deep and ultraviolet rays from the sun break them down. To make it inexpensive for the mass market, they are highly diluted and do not last. Usually reapplied every 12-24 months.
Be careful when an “expert” recommends using a polyurethane or epoxy sealer on your concrete driveway or outdoor concrete. These types of sealers are expensive, although they are more durable than acrylic sealers. Their strong surface layer provides excellent protection from abrasion and chemical spills, but they are susceptible to UV rays, yellowing, and trap all moisture moving through the concrete. Plus, they can alter the friction coefficient, making for a slippery surface. They are best left for use on indoor concrete surfaces.
Learn more about the types of Concrete Sealers.
Basic Criteria for Outdoor Concrete Sealers
Breathability: Concrete is very porous and allows moisture to pass through. Concrete pulls liquid water up from the ground by capillary suction and lets water vapor ooze through its pores. The problem with surface sealers, (epoxies, urethanes, and acrylics) is that they do not allow the concrete to “breathe” or dry out. As a result, the water that passes through the concrete gets trapped underneath the sealer.
The trapped water accumulates and accelerates the deterioration of the concrete. It causes efflorescence that appears as white spots or a “blush” on the surface, below the sealer. As the problem gets worse, the trapped moisture, efflorescence, and vapor pressure will make the sealer bubble or peel from the surface. The number one cause of sealer delamination/failure is trapper water!
Non-Slip: Outdoor concrete patios and driveways are almost always broom-finished. This finishing technique ensures sure that the surface is safe – rough and non-slippery. Film-forming sealers tend to make the concrete slippery, particularly when wet. This can create a dangerous situation, particularly around pools, stairs, and sloped driveways. Penetrating sealers, on the other hand, deposit themselves inside the concrete and do not make surfaces slippery.
Durability: Perhaps the most important characteristic of any good paver or concrete driveway sealer is durability. Driveways take a beating: vehicle traffic, engine fluids, salts, shoveling, and freeze/thaw just to name a few. Above all, the sealer you choose to apply to your driveway, needs to be able to handle these routine exposure without failing.
Choosing The Best Concrete Driveway Sealer
RadonSeal manufactures only the highest-quality concrete sealers. Our business plan is simple – make affordable products that outperform the competition. For maximum protection and performance, all of our sealers are penetrating concrete sealers and seal concrete internally. All of our driveway sealers meet these basic criteria:
- Easy Application – spray-on application with a hand-pump garden sprayer, roller, or brush
We provide the widest choice of penetrating driveway sealers to suit your most demanding commercial or residential application:
Silane/siloxane concrete sealer that penetrates below the surface, into the pores of concrete and paver driveways. Also available as DryWay PLUS, which carries the US DOT-Approval for water and salt protection.
Versatile – Use on driveways, garage floors, pool decks, pavers, patios, stucco, colored concrete
Beads Water – Shed’s rainwater, oil, and fluid spills.
Protects Concrete Surfaces – Superior protection against freeze-thaw, road salts, and de-icers.
Saves Money – Lessens bond of ice and snow, saves on labor and use of snow-melting chemicals.
Low Maintenance – Spills clean-up more easily.
Reduces – Efflorescence, mold, and algae growth.
Long Lasting – Estimated service life of 10 years
Safe – Zero VOCs, Non-corrosive, Plant-Safe, Slip Resistant.
Permanently strengthens and seals concrete driveways. This silicate sealant protects outdoor concrete against damage from rainwater, groundwater, ice, spills, road salts, rebar corrosion, and chemicals.
Seals All Concrete – Driveways, garage floors, basements, slabs, walls, concrete blocks, cinder block
Prevents – Efflorescence
Reduces – Spalling, pitting, flaking, concrete dusting
Preserves – Extends the life of the concrete by strengthening and bonding it
Permanent – No reapplication required
Safe – Zero VOCs, no noxious fumes
Strong – Seals against hydrostatic pressure, and acts as a great primer for paints, coatings, levelers
No Surface Film – Does not change the appearance or profile of the concrete
State-of-the-art penetrating sealer that waterproofs and strengthens concrete, brick, pavers, and porous stone. Unmatched performance and durability. A unique blend of polyester and polyurethane polymers.
Long Lasting – Unsurpassed protection and service life. Last 2 x longer than silane/siloxane sealers & 10 x longer than acrylic sealers.
All-Purpose – Use for sealing concrete, brick, pavers, porous stone, limestone, porous tiles, mortar, concrete blocks, and grout.
Protects – Protects rebar from corrosion and concrete against salts, and deicing chemicals.
Bond Surfaces – Hardens surfaces to prevent dusting and minimize cracking, and spalling
Penetrating – Slip resistant, seals below the surface, clear
Safe – Ultra-low VOCs, no noxious fumes
Reduces – Efflorescence
Premium-grade penetrating paver sealer designed specifically for porous clay, brick, and concrete pavers. A water-based blend of silane and siloxane polymers, designed to keep your pavers looking their best.
Water-Repellency – Repels surface water. Stain-resistant. Keeps your pavers looking their best.
Freeze & Salt Guard – Protect pavers against damage caused by deicing chemicals, freeze/thaw, and salts.
10-Year Service Life – Frequent reapplications are a thing of the past. Save time and money.
Eco-Friendly – For both indoor/outdoor use. Safe for plants and pets.
LOW VOCs – Water-based, non-flammable, non-toxic, no strong odors or harmful vapors.
Invisible Finish – Non-film forming sealer. No gloss or sheen. Treated surfaces are not slippery.
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How To Repair Driveway Cracks, Spalls & Control Joints
How To Repair Stress Cracks in Concrete Driveways
Use our homeowner DIY or Professional CrackWeld Crack Repair Kit for a permanent full-depth repair of cracks ranging from hairline to 1/2″ wide. Strong and rigid to prevent cracks from growing wider or longer. Fast-curing. A must before concrete resurfacing.
How To Repair Wide Cracks, Spalls, and Pitting in Concrete
Use ElastiPoxy Joint & Crack Filler mixed with sand for a permanent repair. Apply with a trowel. A strong and rigid repair.
How To Repair Control Joints, Driveway-To-Garage Joints
Use ElastiPoxy Joint & Crack Filler. Pour mixture into the open joint until level with the surface. Provides a strong surface for heavy vehicles, while allowing for the natural movement of the concrete.