One thing that we always tell our clients is that despite concrete’s ability to last in your driveway for years, it does require maintenance for it to retain its aesthetic and purpose. Sealing a concrete driveway can help extend its lifespan, repel water and ensure your driveway looks uniform and clean.
Interested in learning how to seal concrete driveways? Well, first you must know what sealers to use and then successfully carry out the project. As you plan for this, ensure you pay keen attention to weather forecasts because the sealant requires at least 12 hours to dry.
What are the Best Concrete driveway Sealers to Use?
1. Acrylic Resin Sealers – Best for achieving a Wet Look
These types of sealers give you great value for your money. And are quite versatile since they can be mixed with silicone or epoxy sealers.
Acrylic resin sealers come in different types and each has its advantage. For instance, if you opt for virgin acrylic resin, it lasts longer and doesn’t change color when exposed to a lot of sunlight. Styrene, on the other hand, is equally as durable but not recommended for driveways that face the sun for long periods as it does change color.
It’s important to note that if you prefer a glossier finish then solvent-based acrylic resin sealers have a higher level of shine than water-based ones. Also, the best stamped concrete sealers can either be water or solvent-based acrylic. The advantage of this type of sealer is that it's UV resistant, easy to apply, and breathable.
2. Penetrating Sealer – Guarantees a Natural Look
Just from its name, these types of concrete sealers penetrate the concrete and gives your driveway a natural look. It’s also quite effective at protecting your concrete from weather elements as well as chemicals used in the de-icing process. Penetrating sealers however provides no gloss.
3. Epoxy or Polyurethane Sealers
Unlike acrylic, epoxy sealers cost way more. But, despite being so expensive, they are not an ideal choice for many as the layer of an epoxy sealer tends to be thick and slippery. It’s also not breathable.
How to Seal a Concrete Driveway?
Now that you are aware of the different concrete driveway sealers on the market, it’s time to get your hands dirty. There are a few things you should know before getting started. A newly installed concrete driveway should be allowed to settle for at least 2 months before a sealant is applied. Also, a sealer should be applied during warm and dry weather.
Step 1: Prepare the Surface
Preparation mostly refers to cleaning the surface of the concrete driveway. Therefore start by sweeping and removing stains. Thoroughly wash the surface with a spray washer and give it 24 hours to dry. If there are cracks on the driveway, they should be repaired before a sealant can be applied.
Step 2: Apply the Concrete Sealer
First, you need to put on the necessary protective gear which includes gloves, eye protection, and preferably some pair of trousers and long sleeve shirts. Ensure that your skin is fully covered.
For first time sealer application, you can proceed directly. But, if the surface has been sealed then it will have to be removed. There are two ways that you can go about this, either use chemical strips to remove the coating or mechanical removal which entails blasting, grinding, and sanding of the surface. The latter is a bit hectic.
Proceed to the application of the sealer. Typically, a gallon of sealer can be applied on a surface ranging from 250 to 500 square feet. You can apply the sealer with a roller or a sprayer. The latter is perfect for solvent-based sealers whereas the roller is ideal for water-based sealers.
The first coat should be applied evenly all over the entire surface. It should be allowed to rest for at least 3 hours. Before you apply the second coat, touch the sealer to confirm if it has dried up. A pro tip when applying driveway concrete sealers is to concentrate on square blocks instead of narrow strips.
Apply the second coat consistently and let it dry for 2 or 3 days. You need to be very strict about not driving or stepping on the driveway for these exact number of days.
And that’s how you can seal a concrete driveway. Sealers do a commendable job at increasing the lifespan of your concrete driveways as well as enhance aesthetics. With several sealer options for you to choose from, your driveway doesn’t need to look dull and lifeless any longer. If the DIY concrete driveway sealer application seems like a lot of work or you may not have time, then San Rafael Concrete is an expert sealer installation company. Give us a call today and get a free quote.