Finishing a concrete driveway with a sealer is a great way to increase your driveways lifespan, enhance its appearance, and improve its durability. But with so many different types of concrete sealer on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the best choice.
If you’re looking for ultimate durability, a penetrating concrete sealer is the best sealant to use on your concrete driveway. But if you’d like to refresh or transform the appearance of your concrete driveway, a solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer is the best option.
Read on for more information about the different types of sealers that can be applied to your concrete driveway. You’ll also be able to learn about the most important factors that go into the choice between different types of driveway sealers.
Table of Contents
- Which Type of Sealer Is Best for a Concrete Driveway?
- Factors To Consider When Selecting a Concrete Driveway Sealer
- Frequently Asked Questions
Which Type of Sealer Is Best for a Concrete Driveway?
There are many types of concrete sealers available for purchase. Below, you’ll find brief descriptions of each common type of concrete driveway sealer.
Acrylic concrete sealers come in two main variations: water-based and solvent-based. Both types are affordable and widely available, so they’re commonly used for concrete projects like driveways. Just like acrylic paint, acrylic concrete sealer leaves a thin layer on top of the concrete. This layer protects the concrete and enhances its appearance. However, acrylic sealers are the least durable type of sealer, so you should plan to reseal your driveway every year or two.
Water-based acrylic concrete sealers typically don’t add color to the concrete. Instead, this type of sealer forms a thin, transparent layer that protects against the elements. Water-based acrylic sealers are environmentally friendly and don’t contain any dangerous chemicals that require special precautions. You’ll often see water-based acrylic concrete sealers used indoors, but they’re commonly applied to concrete driveways as well.
If your goal is to transform your driveway’s appearance by changing the concrete’s color, then a solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer is great. Solvent-based acrylic sealers come in many different colors. Although they’re frequently used for concrete driveways, one type of solvent-based acrylic sealer that you should look out for is styrene acrylic. It seems like an easy selection thanks to its low cost, but styrene acrylic is very low-quality and often turns yellow under direct sunlight.
As you may have guessed from their name, penetrating sealers penetrate deep into the concrete and form a barrier against common contaminants such as water and chemicals. They’re also great for protecting against stains on the concrete. Unlike acrylic concrete sealers, penetrating sealers do not affect the concrete’s appearance. However, they’re much more durable than acrylic sealers. It’s recommended to reseal every five to ten years, although some types of penetrating sealers can last up to 25!
Silane provides sturdiness and long-lasting protection from the elements. It’s the most durable of the different types of penetrating concrete sealers and doesn’t need to be resealed for up to 25 years.
Silicate is often selected when the main goal of sealing the concrete is to increase its surface strength. It lasts for 10 to 25 years, and it’s most often recommended for polished concrete surfaces.
Siliconate also lasts for 10 to 25 years, and its main functions are curing new concrete and blocking moisture.
Siloxane needs to be replaced more frequently than the other penetrating concrete sealers. Because it’s the least penetrating, it’s recommended to reseal it every three to five years.
Epoxy concrete sealers are typically much higher in price than acrylic sealers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re superior when it comes to concrete driveways. Epoxies form a thick layer on top of the concrete, which can be very slippery, especially when wet. Since driveways typically need a surface with more texture and friction, epoxies typically aren’t recommended.
Similar to epoxies, polyurethane concrete sealers make concrete thicker and more durable. They are twice as thick as acrylic sealers. One issue with polyurethane concrete sealers is that they don’t allow any moisture to escape from the concrete, which can lead to the development of a white haze under its surface.
Factors To Consider When Selecting a Concrete Driveway Sealer
It can be difficult to decide which type of concrete sealer is best for your driveway. Be sure to take the following characteristics into account when making your decision!
The first thing to consider is safety. This encompasses both the safety of applying the concrete sealer (in the case of dangerous chemicals) as well as the potential slipperiness of the sealed driveway. You can determine how slippery your driveway will be by looking at the concrete’s texture as well as the sealer’s thickness. The less texture in the concrete and the thicker the sealer is, the more slippery your driveway will be.
As far as slipperiness goes, epoxies and polyurethane concrete sealers are by far the most slippery. They are followed by acrylics, which can also be slippery, especially when wet. Penetrating sealers, on the other hand, are not slippery because they soak into the concrete completely, rather than forming a coating on its surface.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s possible to add texture to the sealers that are more slippery. You can do this by adding grit or an anti-skid additive to the sealer as it is applied. However, this makes the process of sealing your concrete a bit more difficult, so you may want to hire a professional to ensure it’s done correctly.
While considering the safety of applying concrete sealers, it’s important to note that many concrete sealers contain dangerous chemicals. Aside from water-based acrylic sealers, you’ll need to take some extra precautions like wearing a mask, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing.
Appearance plays a huge part in your decision between different types of concrete sealers. Penetrating sealers don’t affect the concrete’s appearance, while water-based acrylics give it a slightly glossy look without changing the concrete’s color. Solvent-based acrylics come in various shades, as do epoxies and polyurethane concrete sealers. If you want a natural look for your driveway, a penetrating sealer is your best choice. For color without excessive slipperiness, a solvent-based acrylic should work well.
How often are you willing to reseal your driveway? Remember that acrylic concrete sealers need to be replaced every year or two, but can last up to five years. Meanwhile, most penetrating sealers last for 10 to 25 years. The exception is siloxane, which must be resealed every three to five years. Epoxies and polyurethane sealers will need to be replaced every five to ten years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen if I don’t seal my concrete driveway?
While it’s not absolutely necessary to seal your driveway, the concrete will not be as durable if it isn’t sealed. It’s much more likely to sustain damage from freeze-thaw cycles, moisture, and de-icing salt. Unfortunately, a brand-new concrete driveway may be cracked and stained within a few years if it isn’t sealed.
Can you apply a concrete sealer over the existing sealer on a driveway?
Before applying a concrete sealer, it’s usually necessary to remove any existing sealer first. A clean, dry surface is necessary for the best results. The only sealer which can be reapplied on top of an existing coat is a solvent-based acrylic concrete sealer.
Is it necessary for a professional to seal my driveway?
No, it’s not necessary to hire a professional to seal your driveway. Of course, you can still choose to hire someone else to apply the sealer, but many people find sealing concrete to be a relatively easy DIY project.
What is the best way to apply sealer to a concrete driveway?
The best way to apply sealer to a concrete driveway is to use a roller or sprayer. Before beginning the process, be sure to fill in all cracks, remove stains, and thoroughly clean the concrete so that the sealer applies properly.