So you’ve got a new concrete driveway and wonder if you should seal it? In this article, we discuss concrete sealing and weigh the pros and cons of sealing your driveway. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- Should I Seal My New Concrete Driveway?
- What Is Concrete?
- When Is The Best Time To Seal Your Concrete Driveway?
- How Do You Seal A Concrete Driveway?
- What Kind Of Concrete Sealer Is Best?
- How Do You Apply Concrete Sealer?
- How Long Does Concrete Sealant Have To Dry?
- How Do You Take Care Of A Sealed Concrete Surface?
- Is It Better To Have A New Concrete Driveway Professionally Sealed?
- What Are The Pros and Cons of Sealing A New Concrete Driveway?
- How Much Does It Cost to Seal a Concrete Driveway?
Should I Seal My New Concrete Driveway?
A simple answer is – Yes. When you have a new concrete driveway poured, it’s a good idea to have it sealed right away. Prompt sealing of the new concrete will protect it and keep your driveway keep your driveway looking good for a long time.
Preservation of the concrete means that you will not have problems with cracks developing. With proper care, a well-poured, sealed driveway can last a quarter of a century.
Let’s go through this question in detail now.
What Is Concrete?
Concrete is an aggregate of cement, sand or gravel and water. It is important to mix concrete very carefully, paying close attention to the amounts used of each ingredient.
Proper measuring and mixing results in easy pouring and smoothing of the mixture and correct curing. Properly prepared concrete is hard and strong, but if it is left unsealed, it can still be porous.
This means that it will absorb all sorts of liquids leading to staining, breakdown, cracks, chipping and general deterioration.
When Is The Best Time To Seal Your Concrete Driveway?
It might seem like you should seal it as soon as you can walk on it, but that would be a mistake. Even the best prepared and poured concrete will not cure in under a month. You should wait until your concrete driveway is completely cured before you seal it.
If you seal it too soon, you will be sealing in excess moisture, which will cause your driveway settle unevenly and to break down from the inside out.
If you have had your driveway poured by a professional, it’s a good idea to call on the service to inspect your driveway before sealing it.
How Do You Seal A Concrete Driveway?
Start with a clean driveway. Sweep it thoroughly and then spray it off with a spray nozzle on your garden hose. Clean up any stains that might have occurred since you had the driveway poured.
Take care not to damage the concrete while removing the stains, and be sure to thoroughly rinse off any cleaning product you use to remove stains.
Before applying sealant, be absolutely certain there is no debris, chemical residue or moisture on your driveway. Anything you seal over will be sealed in, and it will eventually cause damage and cracks in the concrete.
What Kind Of Concrete Sealer Is Best?
You can choose from sealers intended to deflect stains, those designed to impart a glossy finish or those that are especially prepared to provide both!
Generally speaking, it’s smart to go for the most protection and the best appearance you can get so that your driveway will look good and deflect damage until it’s time to reseal in a couple of years.
TIP: If you live in an area that is icy in winter and/or if your driveway is steep, choose a sealant that has an abrasive additive to provide better footing!
For the very best product for your specific setting, you’d be smart to consult a concrete contractor. A professional can take your entire situation into account and recommend a product that will work best for your climate, geography and purpose.
How Do You Apply Concrete Sealer?
Just as with floor painting, concrete driveway sealing can be done in a number of ways. If you have a short driveway, you could just brush it on. This can be back-breaking and hard on the knees, though, and it takes quite a while.
You could use a roller, which is faster and less arduous. This method also gives you more even coverage and a generally better seal.
Spraying is really the best method. It’s quickest, easiest on your back and knees and provides a very even, good looking coverage and excellent seal.
TIP: When applying sealant with brush, roller or sprayer, keep applying it until it looks pale white. Then you’ll know that you have applied the right amount of sealant to give your concrete surface good protection.
How Long Does Concrete Sealant Have To Dry?
You should block off your driveway in all directions for a full 24 hours after finishing your sealant application. It will take at least that long for the product to dry and cure completely.
After 24 hours have passed, inspect the entire surface of the driveway. Look for any dull spots where you may need to apply more sealant. Wait another 24 hours to let your touch-ups cure.
Keep people and traffic off the drive as long as you can to be sure of the best results.
How Do You Take Care Of A Sealed Concrete Surface?
Be sure to keep your sealed concrete drive swept and washed, but don’t use a power sprayer on it. Power spraying can damage the sealant and will eventually lead to cracks in areas where the sealant has been compromised.
Be sure to clean up oil and chemical spills right away using dish detergent or laundry detergent. Wash gently and rinse thoroughly.
Is It Better To Have A New Concrete Driveway Professionally Sealed?
If you have your driveway professionally poured, it is very smart to add sealing into the bargain. When you have a professional do the job, they can be certain that the concrete is properly cured and well prepped for sealing.
They will know exactly the right product to use, and they will leave you with a guarantee so that you can call on them should problems arise.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Sealing A New Concrete Driveway?
- Sealed concrete doesn’t absorb moisture and become crumbly and stained.
- Sealed concrete looks good and adds to the curb appeal of your home.
- Sealant provides protection against extreme cold.
- Sealant protects against damage from the sun.
- A sealed concrete driveway lasts longer.
- Sealed concrete doesn’t stain easily.
- Sealed concrete resists cracking.
- Sealants that contain dangerous chemicals can be harmful to people, pets and the environment.
- Sealants can be expensive, and environmentally friendly products are more expensive.
- If your area has very harsh weather, you may need to seal your driveway more often.
- You’ll need to reapply sealant a minimum of every five years.
- Sealant can make your driveway slick.
How Much Does It Cost to Seal a Concrete Driveway?
Generally speaking, concrete sealant can cost between $100 – $200 for a five gallon bucket. This is enough to cover a five-hundred square foot area of new or well maintained concrete.
If the concrete is porous or otherwise compromised, you may need more. It’s important to note that resealing typically uses less product than the initial sealing.