Sealing a concrete driveway not only extends its life, but keeps your work looking good. This double benefit leads to happy customers and more referrals. But no one sealer is perfect for every application. Here’s an overview of the types of sealer available and pros and cons.
Types of Concrete Driveway Sealers
Most sealers are acrylic-resin compositions that coat the concrete with a protective film. They differ in performance and water resistance, though, depending on their additives. The type and quality of the sealer play a big role in its performance and durability.
Styrene acrylic is generally lower in cost, but also lower in performance and can yellow and degrade with exposure to sunlight. Polyurethane, silicone, and epoxy additives improve performance and water resistance, but cost more. Virgin (pure) acrylic sealers outlast styrene acrylics and don’t yellow.
Read Beyond the Labels
Labels don’t always tell the full story. Sealers for exterior concrete should allow for passage of air and moisture to prevent hazing as well as having the other qualities and finish you want. Look at the technical data to know what you’re getting in terms of waterproofing, resistance to grease, oils and chemicals, breathability, and resistance to yellowing. As with most things, you usually get what you pay for.
Safety is also a concern. Slip resistance standards are for dry surfaces. Thick, high gloss finishes on smooth surfaces can be very slippery and dangerous when wet. Broom-finished and textured or non-slip surfaces address the problem, and penetrating sealers eliminate it entirely.
Surface sealers come in many levels of gloss and with varying amounts of solids and pigmentation. Solvent-based sealers with high levels of solids have the highest gloss, water-based run from matte to semi-gloss, and penetrating sealers have no gloss. New sealers targeted for stamped concrete are coming on the market that offer color enhancement without a glazed look for a more natural stone appearance.
Application and Maintenance
Most sealers go on easily with a roller or sprayer. Apply them in two thin coats to avoid pooling and uneven areas. Be sure to remind your customer that regular maintenance will extend the life and beauty of their driveway. All that’s usually needed is tending to spills and stains quickly and periodically washing it with soap and water.
Depending on the type of sealer, the quality of its application and environmental conditions, sealers typically last from 1-3 years. In most cases, resealing can be done in less than a day.
Picking a sealer for a concrete driveway is a balance of esthetics, performance, and cost. But a properly applied sealer extends the life and beauty concrete work, so skipping or skimping on it is false economy.
For more information on driveway sealing, check out this article on ConcreteNetwork.com
And always remember that on any concrete project, using the right tools ensures results you’ll be proud to show off. Whatever your concrete finishing, cutting and coring requirements may be, equipment and tools from Ace Cutting Equipment are your choice for top-quality results.
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