You can indeed seal a concrete driveway without investing too much of your time or significant amounts of money into the project. If you decide to do it, it will certainly keep the area in front of your house looking better and neater. There are several ‘miraculous’ materials which can help you seal the concrete driveway and which, when talked about, sound too good to be true. The main reason it sounds like that is because it usually is like that.
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Why do you need to seal your concrete driveway?
The main culprits for damage done to concrete driveways are water and winter salts, and both of these in the winter. Water penetrates even the tiniest holes and cracks easily and when the temperatures are low, it expands and causes concrete to crack. When frozen, water expands up to 9% in volume, and with steady but powerful force breaks concrete, causing the appearance of cracks, pits, and flakes. Once you seal your concrete, you limit the amount of water which the surface absorbs. In addition, winter salts also damage the driveways since they penetrate the surface and the steel reinforcement inside the constriction. They also make water absorption greater, making it more prone to cracks.
Make maintenance easier
Making a decision is not always easy, each of us has a different driveway, so you can be in a dilemma whether sealer which was right for grey concrete is as good for colored concrete as well; or whether your stamped pattern concrete needs a special kind of sealer. No reason for you to worry, sealed concrete driveway can be gloss or it can have a rich color of your choice if you prefer it that way. Even the gloss levels can vary and you can choose the one you believe would look best – no gloss, high gloss, or something in between. To make things even better, there are sealers which are also slip resistant, making your driveway safer at the same time.
Apply the sealer
Your driveway should be properly prepared before you apply the sealer. Use the pressure washer to wash the surface, and a high-quality concrete cleaner. Stains of dirt, mildew and mold should be removed before you apply the sealer so the surface is as clean as possible. In case you already used concrete sealer and there are traces of it still visible, you should use a concrete sealer stripper to remove all traces of it before you apply new layer. Afterwards, you should wait for 24 hours so the concrete would properly dry, for if you apply the sealer before the concrete is completely dry, you will trap water and moisture inside, and it will allow mold and mildew to grow within it later on. In case you are just finished making your driveway and would like to apply sealer straightaway, it is wise to wait for the concrete to cure before sealing it.
Choose the right sealer
After your preparations, it is time for you to choose the desired finish. Choose between clear, colored, and water based driveway sealers, do a bit of research about them and pick the one you believe would be best for your driveway. Clear and colored sealants provide a coating that is impervious, protective and attractive at the same time. It also protects from spillage of common fluids on it such as oil. In addition, it can help bind aged and loosely bound cement and concrete surfaces more closely together, thus protecting from further erosion. The only thing left for you to do is choose whether you would like it to be clear or would you rather like to cover your concrete with your favorite color instead. Matte finish sealers will not alter even a lightest bit the appearance of concrete after they’ve been applied, while there are also those that can give a more glossy finish.
If you would like to protect your driveway better than it already is, choosing a good concrete sealer will be really beneficial and wise. Concrete sealers will provide good protection against oil stains, moisture, deicing salts, weather exposure, tannin stains, and will for sure also protect from freeze or thaw damage. You will be able to clean your driveway much easier and it will make maintenance a piece of cake in the future.
By: Diana Smith
Watch this video about concrete sealing: