There’s a lot of discussion regarding whether or not sealing concrete driveways and other concrete surfaces are necessary, and if so, how often it should be done. The popular idea that a sealer must be applied every year may be due to aggressive marketing by sealing product producers.
Even doubters agree that sealing a concrete slab regularly will help it last longer, whether it’s a driveway, patio, pool deck, or sidewalk.
Even if you never seal it, concrete is fairly durable on its own. However, sealing it every few years with a good quality sealer will extend its life and keep it looking great. This is especially true if your driveway or patio is stained or etched concrete. If you reside in a location where winter road salt can eat away at the concrete, you should consider driveway sealing.
For all you DIY-ers out there, you’ll be relieved to learn that applying a concrete sealer is a simple and enjoyable project. Furthermore, it will maintain your concrete slabs looking beautiful and even extend their life.
We can assist you if you need concrete sealing on a weekend or after hours. We take pride in our ability to give the highest level of service and professionalism in all of our work at The Pressure Cleaning Guys.
The Different Kinds of Concrete Sealers
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the many types of concrete sealers available before taking any action. Knowing the difference between an acrylic resin-based sealer, epoxy or polyurethane sealer, and a penetrating sealer is always beneficial.
- Sealers based on acrylic resin: Sealers that lay down an acrylic resin film provide excellent performance for the price. They may be blended with epoxy, polyurethane, or silicone to increase the product’s durability, so read the labels carefully.
Acrylics come in a variety of varieties, some of which are superior to others. Styrene acrylic is a lower-quality material that can become yellow when exposed to intense sunshine. Virgin or pure acrylic resin is a preferable option because it lasts longer and does not yellow.
- Sealants made of epoxy or polyurethane: Although they are more expensive than acrylics, this does not always imply that they are of higher quality. In reality, they tend to lay a thicker layer, which can make it slippery, especially when coated onto a patio or walkway.
Furthermore, these compounds prevent moisture from “breathing” out of the concrete, which is a concern. A white haze may build between the concrete and the sealant layer if the concrete does not breathe.
- Sealants that penetrate: Specialty resins (silicones, siloxanes, and silanes) permeate the concrete and establish a chemical barrier against water, oil, and other common pollutants.
These solutions will be prominently labelled as “penetrating” sealers and are an excellent choice for surfaces that need to be protected from stains, such as in a garage or on a driveway.
The low-cost sealers found at hardware stores and home centres are usually intermediate-level sealers with adequate performance. The cheap versions are likely to last less than more expensive professional-grade sealers. Our crew at The Pressure Cleaning Guys, on the other hand, exclusively uses the best products to service our consumers in Perth, Western Australia.
The Various Levels of Gloss
Concrete sealers, like paints, come in a variety of gloss or sheen degrees. There are no-gloss, matte, satin, semi-gloss, gloss, and high-gloss finishes to pick from. Glosses are categorized on a scale of one to one hundred, with one hundred signifying the maximum level of gloss.
For a concrete driveway or patio, there is no specified gloss level. However, depending on where the concrete is placed, you may need to consider a non-slip additive topcoat for rainy weather if you like a higher gloss sealer.
- Sealers based on solvents: A gloss level of 80 to 100 creates a high-gloss look.
- Water-based sealers: A matte or semi-gloss effect is achieved with a gloss level of 50 to 80.
- Penetrating sealers: With a gloss rating of “0,” you essentially get a no-gloss finish.
Keep in mind that solvent-based sealers tend to darken the concrete’s surface more than water-based sealers. Those marketed as “wet-look” sealers have a higher solids-to-liquid ratio.
While some people prefer the look of wet-look sealers, others find them unnatural, particularly on stamped, coloured, or textured concrete surfaces such as patios and pool decks. However, some wet-look sealers contain colouring agents that can be used to stain as well as seal a slab.
How to Use Driveway Sealant
Preparation is a big part of sealing concrete driveways, both for the concrete and you. Make sure the concrete is clean and dry before applying the sealant. Clean the slab thoroughly with soap or degreaser if necessary. Before sealing, any necessary patching should be completed. For the sealer to adhere properly to the concrete, it must be clean and dry.
Because sealers should not come into contact with your skin or eyes, wear gloves, long sleeves and pants, and eye protection when applying the sealer. Before you begin, check the label instructions for any specific precautions, such as suggested sealing weather and temperatures.
The Right Equipment
Concrete sealers require minimum equipment for the application, such as a roller, sprayer, or brush, depending on the sealer you select. The recommended procedure can be found on the manufacturer’s label.
Water-based sealers should be applied using a roller, whereas solvent-based (oil-based) sealers should be sprayed with a sprayer.
Strive for total coverage with any strategy. The majority of products have a coverage rating of 250 to 300 square feet per gallon. It’s ideal to apply two or even three thin coats, allowing each one to dry in between.
This avoids puddling, which can result in uneven coverage. Overlap the areas as you apply the sealer to ensure complete coverage.
Working in thin strips is preferable to working on one small square portion at a time, no more than about 25 square feet (a 5-square-foot section). The drying period is around two hours; however, it varies depending on the weather.
Summer humidity may necessitate a drying period of five or more hours. Before applying the second coat, make sure the entire surface is dry to the touch and free of any sticky residue.
If you have a new or large driveway, you should consider hiring a professional team like The Pressure Cleaning Guys to do the work. The square footage of your driveway determines the cost of hiring a professional sealer.
Once your concrete area has been sealed, regular maintenance will ensure that the sealer coat continues to do its job. This routine includes a simple cleaning with soap and water every few months. A light reapplication after washing is recommended if you notice areas that have worn thin.
A pressure washer can be used to clean surface grime from a sealed concrete driveway. However, if the incorrect tip is used, the surface may be harmed. 12 inches away from the surface, use a fan nozzle (which slows down the water) or a rotary nozzle.
Test a small part of your concrete driveway or patio with a power washer before committing to cleaning the full surface.
Paying a professional to pressure wash your sealed driveway or patio will cost you between $100 and $200, depending on the size.
Opinions differ on how frequently a concrete driveway should be resealed. This is determined in part by the product used, as well as the weather and the level of wear and tear on the slab. The quality of the resins in the sealer has a significant impact on the seal coat’s lifespan.
According to concrete trade organizations, resealing should be done every one to three years.