Being a homeowner can be a tough job because there are a lot of things you’ve constantly got to worry about; from paying bills on time, taking care of your property, keeping it looking good and carrying out regular repairs so that the value of the property does not go down.
And the most visible and regular upkeep you can do is to your driveway because it is always open to the elements and is constantly in use. So for that purpose, you would want to to pick the best driveway sealer for your specific type of driveway.
Doing so will not only make it look great for years to come, but also extend your driveway’s life. And this is one of the reasons you should always pick up the best quality driveway sealer available on the market. But before we delve into that topic, we should know why we would need a driveway sealant in the first place.
Let’s get one thing straight; whichever type of driveway you may have, the fact is, there’s a sealer that will fulfill your requirements. In the following section, we will look at some of the best driveway sealers we have come across after thorough research. All of these sealers come with great customer reviews and are of top quality.
Best Sealer for Concrete Driveways
Best Sealer for Asphalt Driveways
Best Sealer for Blacktop Driveways
The Armor SX5000 is a sealer that does not change the natural look of the surface and has been designed to protect the surface. This silane-siloxane sealer is water repellent and is solvent-based. It offers strong efflorescence, is capable of penetrating deep into the surface and offers strong alkali resistance, without affecting the look. It forms a hydrophobic barrier, that is so tough that it can last up to 10 years!
The product also claims to provide superb resistance to mildew, mold, and fungus. Apart from being the best concrete driveway sealer out there, it can also be used on surfaces such as mortar, grout, garage floors, brick homes, basement floors, pavers, grout, entryways and so on. The product does not break or peel because it is 100% breathable and is very user-friendly.
This sealer by ToughCrete is both user-friendly and durable and is one of the best products on the market today. If you are looking for the best driveway sealers, this name certainly crops up among them. Even though the product comes in compact 1-gallon packaging, it promises to cover a little over 600 square feet; an impressive feat! Just like the previous product, ToughCrete also uses a silane-siloxane compound and is deeply penetrating.
It is quite versatile and can be used over a number of surfaces that include your driveway, patio, garage floor or just about any other type of concrete surface. The product claims that after application, it can provide up to 10 years of protection from salt damage, water, and deterioration, making your driveway look as good as new.
This driveway sealer claims to be fortified with silica stand for added durability and strip resistance and can be used as a sealer for asphalt driveways. This is essentially a filler that doubles up as a sealer. And, as the name suggests, the product is very easy to use; you just have to stir it and start applying on the desired surface using a brush, spray or squeegee.
The product is excellent for filling up cracks that are up to ⅛ inch. And it dries relatively fast; you can start driving over it within 24-48 hours under normal conditions, and dries to touch within an unbelievable 4 hours! The product can cover up to 250 square feet, depending on the porosity, climate conditions and roughness of the surface.
This product by FDC Chem is a professional grade asphalt sealer that is capable of stopping harmful liquids, UV rays, car chemicals, gas, ice and water from damaging your asphalt driveway. The manufacturers claim that the product will keep on doing so in adverse weather conditions for up to 3 years! This alone makes it ideal for use in driveways, sidewalks or parking and is extremely easy to apply.
This product is ideal to restore your asphalt driveway if it looks worn out. The product comes in an economy-size 5-gallon pack and will cover a surface area of about 400 square feet.
This product is available in a 5-gallon package like the others and has been specifically designed for blacktop driveways. The manufacturers say that the product stirs quite easily and spreads easily on the intended surface. It is very attractively priced and may cover up to 500 feet, depending on the surface. A large brush can be used to apply it thoroughly.
This product is intended for areas that see light to moderate traffic and is capable of resisting oil drippings and gasoline easily.
This product claims to be the first tinted sealant for blacktop driveways. This water-based sealant leaves a non-skid finish and is resistant to hot tire pick-up, and comes in a 4.75-gallon packaging. The product leaves a light beige finish after curing, which is great for reducing heat buildup. This asphalt-based, high-performance sealer comes ready-to-use and is perfect for the entrance to your home or the driveway.
One way to elongate the life of your driveway is regular cleaning. This is because of it being in continuous use, driveways become prone to dirt, scratches, stains, and mud. When the driveway is in use, it will also develop cracks and dents, making its appearance look dull. Hence, sealing a driveway becomes important in order to increase its longevity.
Not only is applying a sealer pretty easy (it would be about a day’s work if you get to it), it adds to the gloss and color of your driveway. The application does not require a professional and if you are a do-it-yourself type of person, you can easily take this job on (or you can hire a professional as well). In addition, it would also seal any cracks or dents and stop the dirt and petrol or oil from a vehicle from seeping in.
There are a few sealers out there that tend to take on a slippery texture after they have dried out, making it very dangerous for both the vehicle, the house and the people living there. So one of the main concerns that you should be looking for is that the sealer you select is of the slip-resistant variety, or they can be made slip-resistant.
Before buying one, always check the chemical composition of the product to find out whether a sealer will make the surface of the driveway slippery. The shinier the surface and the more sealer resin present on the surface, there is a good chance that the surface will be slippery. There are a few products on the market that give out a “wet look” shine. The actual purpose behind a wet-look is that your driveway will always look shiny and “just cleaned”, but in reality, the more film-forming it is, the more slippery it will be.
If your driveway already has a smooth surface, this will lead to it being very slippery when wet, but if the surface has a broomed surface, it will be less so. Some people add grit or sand to their sealers while applying them, giving it a rough look. The best driveway sealer in this scenario would be the one which is penetrating and also provides waterproofing. But as we advise everyone, before applying it to the entire driveway, you should always test it on a small area to ensure safety.
You must bear in mind that while you (or someone else) is working on sealing the driveway and afterward, it must be closed for outer traffic completely. This is because it would take time for the sealant to cure. The question you need to ask yourself if that if you can manage to keep the vehicles off the driveway for that period. There are some new products on the market that allow for same-day curing.
But a lot of other products take more than two days of application and curing, so you should also consider the extra labor costs (if you are outsourcing it). Also, you should keep in mind that there might be those people who might just ignore the warning signs you have placed in your driveway and drive straight in, thereby destroying the carefully sealed driveway with tire marks and so on. Try using a sealer that allows for same-day curing, if you can help it.
You should know that a sealer is not a permanent solution and but will last for a few years (1-3 years). This is entirely dependent on how frequently your driveway is used and weather conditions and the type of sealer you have bought. This effectively means that low-quality or ordinary sealers bought at a local store would not work as well as the ones bought at a specialty store.
The quality and type of resin used in the driveway sealer will determine how long it will last and how effective it will be.
Before you go in for a specific sealer, you should also consider what should your driveway look like after a sealing job. Just like in paints, driveway sealers also come in numerous varieties such as high-gloss, semi-gloss, gloss, no-gloss, satin, matte and so on, because all sealers are supposed to make your driveway look all shiny.
You will notice that most of the manufacturers will use a “shine scale” that can usually be found behind on the product’s label on the container. This scale (to measure the gloss, usually measured at 1-100) would tell the buyer the exact level of gloss they might be looking for. But as we said earlier, you should always test the sealer on a small area (it can be anywhere) to make sure you are satisfied with the result.
But lately, the trend of high-gloss driveways is fading away, because more and more customers are looking for a “natural look” that a matte or no-gloss sealer can provide. The same goes if you are looking for a little color enhancement of the driveway. Nowadays interested buyers can find sealers that can negate the wet look and still appear dark to the eye.
Before buying a sealer for your driveway, there are certain things you should consider. The market is full of all kinds of sealers, each serving a different purpose. Each of these products has different compositions which would make a big difference in the sealing of the driveway. Let’s take a look:
Oil-based sealers are pretty effective at offering resistance against any outside elements and are considered more durable than water-based sealers. The reason is that they are made from grease or petroleum, and hence penetrate deep inside the surface and are quite effective during those winter months when there is a likelihood of cracking due to expansion and contraction.
Having said that, oil-based sealers have a few disadvantages. For instance, they have a strong odor that may linger even after days after the sealing has been completed. They are also known to contain volatile organic compounds which are harmful to the environment and are also considered unsafe for health.
These types of sealers are considered to be the most durable on the market because of their resistance to certain elements and can last a long time without the need for reapplication. These sealers are quite pliable because of the additives they contain, such as sand, polymers, coal tar or clay. Like its name, coal tar is extracted from bituminous coal, that is widely used in driveways, playgrounds and even parking lots. The main reason for this is that coal tar sealers are unaffected by the fluids secreted by vehicles such as gasoline.
Compared with other types of sealers, they are also much cheaper and much more tolerant of the elements such as harsh sunlight. But even with these wonderful qualities, they do have certain drawbacks, such as the fact that this type of sealer is the by-product of coal, which is not considered to be the most environmentally friendly. And like oil-based sealers, they also contain volatile organic compounds due to which they can release harmful chemicals in the environment and may contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer.
These types of sealers are considered among the best on the market. These types of sealers come at a higher price than most sealers, but give the look of the driveway being polished. What’s better is that they are available in many colors. These sealers have acrylics and polymers as their main ingredients, and hence, are entirely synthetic, and are therefore more popularly used by professionals.
Advantages of using acrylic sealers include them being safer to use by workers, their availability in both high-gloss and matte finishes, and the fact that they do not darken the surface too much, giving it a more natural look. They are also resistant to harsh sunlight, water, oil, and gasoline and do not have the same level of volatile organic compounds as coal tar. While shopping for an acrylic sealer, you should make sure that the sealer is not a blend and is purely acrylic.
These types of sealers are the most commonly used in households in the United States. As the name suggests, they are mostly made up of asphalt. They are considered much safer than coal tar sealers and are slightly higher priced too. They do not cause skin irritation, prevent oxidation, smell better and emit low to negligible amounts of volatile organic compounds.
Even then, there are a few drawbacks. While these sealers may be environment-friendly, they also offer reduced protection from harsh sunlight, gasoline or oil. And just like normal asphalt needs a facelift every few years, these sealers also require reapplication every 3 years or so.
For long-term pavement protection, this type of sealer is essential along with normal sealing jobs. They are available in both hot (rubberized asphalt, which, when heated will bond with its surroundings and seal it perfectly), and cold pour (it does not need to be heated) varieties. Both have several advantages over each other, and you should always consult an expert or read up before using them on your own.
These sealers are available in clear or pigmented forms and create a finish that is abrasion-resistant and also water-resistant. These sealers are much more durable than acrylic sealers and also provide protection from many types of spills. If you do not require a penetrating sealer, epoxy sealers should be your first choice.
There are many ways you can apply a sealer to a driveway, but the most commonly used methods are using a sprayer or a roller. You will find that most of the water-based sealers are applied using a roller, while solvent-based sealers are applied using a spray gun. But regardless of the method of application, you should always consider how much area the sealer is covering. Ordinarily, 240-310 square feet can be covered using one gallon of the sealer. However, when you are applying it, aim for at least two thin coats. Also, make sure that the extra sealer does not make a puddle because after drying it will leave you with an uneven surface.
But don’t think that once you have applied the sealer your job is done; you are still required to do regular upkeep. Don’t fret though, since regular upkeeps mean keeping your driveway clean using water and soap on a bi-monthly basis if not more, and reapplying the sealer as and when required. You can also take a look at our beginner's guide on how to seal a concrete driveway.
Whenever there is the talk of construction of roads or driveways, the two most commonly used words are asphalt and blacktop. And although both words are used to describe pathways, driveways or road paving and are often used synonymously, the fact is that these two are quite different from each other.
Also known as asphalt concrete, asphalt is mostly made using bitumen, rocks, and sand, and is hence a composite material. Asphalt can also be considered a semi-solid form of petroleum and binds these mineral aggregates together.
One of the most common uses of asphalt is the laying of roads and pavements by compressing it with a steamroller and forming a smooth, even surface. What makes it the ideal material for these purposes is that it is water-resistant and can take a lot of abuse. Also, once they are installed, they can be used immediately.
But in the long run, asphalt roads and pavements need regular maintenance because they are also prone to stripping, cracking, potholes, upheaval, bleeding and so on. They can also be affected by climate change such as cracking in colder climates. There are a lot of products out there that claim to be the best asphalt driveway sealers.
The similarity between blacktop and asphalt is that both of them are made using bitumen and mineral composites (rocks and sand). While asphalt is created by mashing all three together, the production of blacktop takes a little more precision. The bitumen: mineral composition here is 5%:95%, and then this mixture is introduced to over 300 degrees of heat for the stones to be covered evenly and properly. The mixture is then left to cool off.
Most of what you see in playgrounds, streets and residential driveways is blacktop. And you will be surprised to know that while some articles tell you that sealing your blacktop driveway is pointless, some manufacturers claim that they make the best blacktop driveway sealers.
As you know now, there is a slight difference between the two. Let’s list them:
Though asphalt is commonly referred to as blacktop in most of North America, it is pretty clear that the two are quite different and are used for different purposes.
Sealing your driveway is highly recommended, as it helps to prevent damage that can occur as a result of wear and tear and exposure to the elements. Both asphalt and paved driveways should be sealed. Generally, sealing a driveway is recommended once a year to maintain the durability of the surface and the overall curb appeal of your property.
The amount it will cost to seal a driveway depends on several factors; the size and layout of your driveway, the type of sealant that is being used, where you live, and the condition of your driveway. On average, the cost of sealing a 20’x24’ driveway costs between $100 and $190.
Regardless of the size of aforementioned factors, many contractors charge a minimum fee for the project. If two coats of sealer are being applied, you will likely see a 50% increase in the average cost.
The cost of a 5 gallon bucket of driveway sealer will vary, as different manufacturers charge different prices. The type of sealer largely impacts the price.
For example, the average price for a 5 gallon bucket of polymer emulsion sealer costs $85, coal tar costs $90, and fast-dry costs $30 (again, on average). Acrylic driveway sealer is usually the most expensive; on average, a 5 gallon bucket costs $100. Where you purchase the sealer can also impact the price, as taxes and other factors can influence the cost.
Driveway sealer needs to cure after it is applied. Using the driveway before the sealer has fully cured can damage the sealer and render it ineffective; therefore, you must avoid using the driveway until the sealer has completely cured. The amount of time you have to wait to use your driveway after it has been sealed varies. The type of sealer that was applied, the number of coats, and the weather are all factors that will impact curing time. It can take anywhere from 12 to 36 hours for the sealer to fully cure.
To determine if the driveway is safe to drive on after sealing, place a glove on your hand and press on an inconspicuous area. If black rubs off on the glove, it is not fully cured. Press on a portion of the driveway; if it feels spongy, it is not ready to be used. Insert a toothpick into cracks that have been filled. If the toothpick can be pushed through, the driveway should not be used.
Driveway sealer needs to fully dry before it can be used; it should also be fully dried before it rains. If driveway sealer is still wet and it comes into contact with water, it can be damaged and rendered ineffective. For this reason, it is important to check the weather forecast before sealing a driveway; low humidity and warm temperatures (between 70 and 80 degrees) is ideal.
Most manufacturers recommend a drying time of 4 to 8 hours before exposing a newly sealed driveway to moisture.
How often you should seal your driveway depends on several factors; the material your driveway is made of, the environmental conditions it’s exposed to (rain, snow, sun) and the amount of traffic that passes over it will affect the frequency of sealing. On average, most professionals recommend driveway resealing every two to three years. Over-sealing can cause cracking and peeling.
To determine if your driveway needs to be sealed, assess its physical appearance. If there are several small cracks or the asphalt is starting to turn gray and has a weathered appearance, it should be resealed. If there are larger cracks in the driveway, they should be filled before resealing.
When you have a driveway, it is best that you ensure its taken care of by using a quality sealer. As we now know, these sealers come in a number of varieties and can be applied in a number of ways as well. While selecting a product, keep an eye on the type of warranty they provide; some products listed here provide up to 10-year warranties. Also, most products listed here do not give the driveway a “glossy” look but retain its natural appearance.
Sealing your driveway protects it from common driveway issues such as water or UV damage, damage by de-icing products and so on. It is also important to get your driveway sealed because it can be an expensive venture, depending on the size of your driveway and the product you use, or whether you are using the help of an expert.
You would have noticed that some products listed here are ready-to-use, while others are available in a concentrated form, so make sure you have enough product at hand before you start your sealing project. And last, but not the least, read up as much as you can on the product before you decide to go ahead and buy it.