How to Apply Concrete Sealer to Your Driveway: A Step-by-Step Guide 

 July 23, 2023

By  Dale Keese

Ah yes, a driveway sealer - the essential first step in transforming your dull, drab driveway into an ode to modernity, an opening shot in a luxurious entranceway. But applying it right is essential - otherwise, even those elaborate designs your creative side comes up with could backfire, making sure the first thing guests see when they arrive is a mess, not an awe-inspiring view of your driveway. If you're feeling stuck, you don't have to worry anymore!

Before applying the concrete sealer, make sure to clean and prepare the surface of your driveway. Then, apply the sealer using a roller brush or sprayer in even strokes across the entire surface of your driveway.

We have put together this step-by-step guide on how to successfully apply a concrete sealer to your driveway. Let's get started.

Preparing Your Concrete Driveway

Before applying concrete sealer, it is essential to prepare your concrete driveway in order to achieve best results. Preparation includes things like cleaning off all dirt and debris, as well as repairing any chipped or broken sections of the drive.

One side of the argument states that it is not necessary to repair all chips in the driveway before sealing. In some cases, chip repair can be incredibly time consuming and difficult depending on the extent of the damage. It may even require professional help which is an added expense. Keeping this in mind, it may seem that it would be wise to simply keep cracks intact and apply sealer regardless.

On the other hand, many experts agree that neglecting repairs can lead to problems down the line. If small chips and breaks form a crack across a section of your driveway, moisture can get underneath and cause further damage to weaken the surface even more. Fixes now will save you time and money in the future by preventing costly fixes down the line due to neglecting proper break repair prior to sealant application.

Whatever you decide, be sure that all dirt, grass clippings, and leaves are removed from the area before continuing with construction steps. By taking these precautions upfront, you’ll be one step closer to having a beautiful and protected concrete driveway!

Now that you’ve adapted any necessary fixes, let’s assess the driveway for any potential problems before moving forward with sealer application; this way we can ensure everything goes smoothly when applying sealer.

Assessing the Driveway for Necessary Repairs

Assessing the driveway for necessary repairs is an important step in preparing your concrete driveway in anticipation of applying a sealer. Before performing any cosmetic changes or refinishing, it is important to spend time evaluating the integrity and condition of the driveway. 

While minor cracks can be patched up quickly and will not have a long-term effect on the finished product, severe cracks, pits, and other deficiencies should be taken into consideration before proceeding.

It can certainly provide convenience when repainting or renovating immediately after assessing necessary repairs; however, it is important to keep in mind that many repairs are best handled by professionals if they are too severe for the average do-it-yourselfer. This can provide peace of mind for homeowners who must re-graduate their driveway surface, which requires high levels of skill and precision.

If you are unsure about the necessary repairs that need to be made, it is best to seek professional advice rather than risk serious damage later down the line. After all, you want your concrete driveway looking as beautiful as ever.

Now that you have prepared your concrete driveway and assessed the necessary repairs, you’re ready to move on to the next step: applying a sealer to your driveway. It is important to have a thorough understanding of what type of sealer would work best for the particular kind of concrete you have on your property.

Applying a Sealer to your Driveway

Applying a sealer to your driveway is the next step in extending a concrete surface’s life. It not only reinforces existing layers of protection but also provides greater protection from environmental elements that could erode away the protective coatings. Whether opting for an acrylic or solvent-based sealer, proper application requires prepping the surface and masking areas before applying the layers of protection.

Sealers not only help to improve the overall appearance of the driveway by darkening the hues and making the color stand out more; they can also protect against deterioration caused by weather, salts and deicing agents, oil spills, and gasoline. There is a potential environmental concern with many sealers containing toxins, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, some sealers are non-toxic, water-based acrylics that are designed to offer similar effective protection while minimizing contamination risks.

The choice of which sealer to use will depend on the condition of the existing driveway as well as personal needs and preferences. Consulting a professional like a masonry contractor may be best if there are any doubts about which sealer is more appropriate for specific projects.

Before delving into how to prepare for sealing a driveway it is important to assess its condition first to ensure that all necessary repairs have been carried out. The next step is preparing the surface and masking off any areas that don't need to be sealed — this ensures you apply the correct amount of product in the right places while avoiding wastage or damage caused by misapplied materials or spills.

Prepping the Surface and Masking Areas

Before applying a concrete sealer to your driveway, it is important to prep the surface and mask off any areas that you do not wish to seal. This will ensure that your sealant job is even and clean. Begin by sweeping the driveway with a broom and then pressure wash it with a mild detergent mix. This will help get rid of any dirt and debris that may be on the surface.

For heavily soiled surfaces, use a degreaser such as TSP (trisodium phosphate) before pressure washing to break down oils and dirt. Make sure to rinse off any remaining TSP residue before sealing for best results. It is also helpful to tape off any areas you wish to keep from being sealed, such as edges or expansion joints between slabs.

The discussion about whether it is necessary to use a degreaser before sealing is common among professionals. Proponents of using degreaser argue that it removes dirt, wheel marks, oil stains, and water spots which can interfere with the adhesion of the sealer onto the concrete. Additionally, if these contaminants are left behind, they can cause an uneven finish after sealing.

Opponents point out that in most cases pressure washing with soap or detergent should be enough to remove these types of contaminants, making degreasing an unnecessary step. Ultimately, this decision comes down to personal preference but it's important to make sure the surface is clean and free of debris prior to application regardless of the method used.

Now that the driveway has been cleaned and prepped, you are almost ready to start sealing. Before you begin mixing and coating, take time to double check your prep work so you have maximum efficiency when applying the sealer and achieve a professional-looking finish.

Mixing and Coating the Driveway

Mixed right and applied correctly, concrete sealer can extend the life of your driveway and keep it looking great for years. In order to achieve the best results, it is important to mix the coating material properly and apply it uniformly according to manufacturer instructions. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare and apply the concrete sealer:

  1. Mixing Concrete Sealant: Most liquid or acrylic concrete sealants come ready to use, but some types may require thinning with water prior to application. Begin by reading all directions on the product label for specific mixing instructions, then combine the necessary liquids in a 5-gallon pail using a slow-speed drill motor with a paint mixer attachment.
  2. Coating the Driveway: Using a nylon roller with an extension handle, start from one end of the driveway and roll the sealer slowly across the surface in overlapping paths until fully covered. If excess sealer remains after applicator has gone over the entire area, evenly spread it across the driveway with an asphalt squeegee or broom. Make sure that all areas are completely sealed before allowing any foot or vehicular traffic on it.

Talks surrounding mixing and coating driveways with concrete sealer mainly centers around whether or not thinning should be done prior to application. On one hand, when thinner is added to the mixture, it helps ensure better coverage while also reducing pooling or excess runoff which can cause staining.

On the other hand, many manufacturers don’t recommend thinning since it will reduce its already limited durability, create bubbles during drying periods, and can make it difficult to achieve uniform coverage.

One study conducted by researchers at North Dakota State University found that mortars mixed with water below manufacturers’ recommended amounts demonstrated greater compressive strength reduction than using just dry mortar products without additional dilution.

This illustrates that although thinning may result in more even coverage in certain circumstances, there could be significant reductions in performance if used incorrectly or at inappropriate rates determined by each manufacturer based on their product specifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should the sealer cure before the driveway can be used?

The sealer should cure for 24-48 hours before the driveway can be used. This will allow ample time for the sealer to set and form a strong bond to the concrete surface. Additionally, when cars are driven on the driveway too soon, it can create ruts in the sealer and diminish its effectiveness. To make sure the job is done right it’s best to wait until the sealer has completely cured.

What type of concrete sealer should I use on my driveway?

When deciding what type of concrete sealer to use on your driveway, it is important to consider the condition of the existing concrete and the environment you live in. If your concrete surface is in good condition with no significant cracks or damage, a solvent-based acrylic or polyurethane-based sealer should be sufficient. This type of sealer offers waterproofing protection as well as repelling dirt, oil, and other surface contaminants while enabling increased durability and long lasting shine.

For extra protection from extreme weather conditions such as freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, a solvent-based epoxy sealer can provide superior protection. Epoxy sealers are more durable and resilient than the acrylic or urethane varieties, but care must be taken when applying them since they can be hard to remove if over applied or not applied correctly.

Also, depending on where you live and the climate you experience seasonally, an epoxy sealer might need to be replaced more often due to more extreme temperature fluctuations.

Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide which type of sealing product best suits your needs. Be sure to read through the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before beginning your project and follow all safety precautions while you work.

How much sealer should I use to cover my driveway?

When applying concrete sealer to your driveway, it is important to make sure that you are using the right amount of sealer in order to cover your entire driveway. Generally speaking, for a two-car driveway, you should aim to use around four gallons of sealer. If you have a larger driveway, or if you want to ensure full coverage, then you should consider using more sealer.

It is important to keep in mind that the type of sealer you use can also play a role in how much you will need. Some types of sealers are designed to offer full coverage with just one coat, while others may require multiple coats in order for the sealer to be effective.

Make sure to do research on the product and follow the instructions on the label in order to ensure that you are using the right amount of sealer.

About the author

Hey, I'm Dale Keese.. thanks for reading.. hopefully this article can save you some time and trouble with your sealing job. I'm also in the process of making some video walk-throughs for youtube so check back soon! thanks

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