When it comes to sealing your concrete driveway it helps to know the basics of how it’s done and why it’s done. When in doubt consult a professional, especially if you live in environments with extreme temperature fluctuations that create cracks in concrete paving. Before we dive into some tips on sealing a driveway, lets look at if and why a sealant is a good idea.
Sealcoating your concrete driveway provides an overall aesthetic that is more appealing and also helps to reduce cracks caused by weather. When you live in a city that has a lot of snow or rain, an unsealed driveway runs the risk of having excess moisture pool beneath the concrete that increases the strain on your driveway as it freezes and thaws. Sealants help to prevent this absorption.
Like anything, over time concrete can age with use and sun exposure. Sealants create a protective barrier that helps to reduce fading of your driveway’s color, while also preventing stains from setting. There are a number of agents that can cause discoloration on concrete paving including car oils, chemicals, salt and even fertilizers. If you use substances like acidic chemicals and petroleum distillates, you will want to have a high-performance sealant applied professionally because acrylic-resin sealers often available for self-application are not resistant enough.
Sealing Your Driveway
When making the decision to seal your driveway you have the option to apply sealant yourself or to hire a professional who works with concrete paving to do it for you. Why hire an expert? Like anything, the efficacy of the sealant is based on how well it is applied and because of the cost involved, it can be a pricey project if it isn’t done properly the first time.
If you are planning to apply sealant yourself you can use products that come ready-made with sealant and the tools used for application. The main difference between the DIY sealants and the sealants professionals apply to your driveway is the quality. Contractors are able to use higher-performance sealants that require specialized tools and application techniques, which is something to keep in mind when deciding on the quality of sealant you want for your driveway.
When to Seal
If you live in an environment that experiences climate cycles of freezing and thawing, your driveway should be sealed. If you live in a more temperate climate that doesn’t experience temperature extremes, you may still want to consider sealing your driveway for protection from fading and staining.
The best time for sealant to be applied is shortly after the concrete paving has been laid and is properly cured. As noted on the Concrete Network, nearly all types of sealants can be applied to concrete that is 28 days old. If you apply it sooner, only do so when concrete is able to manage the weight of the installer without potential risk of damage.