How to Seal a Concrete Driveway
Sealing a concrete driveway is a sensible way to protect and extend the lifespan of the material. Thankfully, it doesn't require much time or money to do so and is an easy way to keep the area around your home looking its best. A quality siloxane concrete sealer can add years to the lifespan of a driveway at a low cost.
Water is the main culprit for damage to concrete driveways because it penetrates and expands during freezing periods. Water expands 9-percent in volume when it freezes, creating a force that is strong enough to break concrete and cause flakes, pits, and cracks. Winter salts also cause damage to a driveway, as they penetrate the surface of concrete and the steel reinforcement inside the material. Salts on the driveway also aids in water absorption, leading to cracks. Sealing concrete limits the amount of water that the surface absorbs.
Step 1 - Cure and Clean the Concrete
After the concrete for your driveway is installed, you have to wait for it to cure before applying a sealer. Let the driveway cure for 21 to 30 days before applying a penetrating sealer.
The next step is to clean the driveway using a broom to remove loose debris such as dirt, mud, and leaves. Use a pressure washer to remove oil or grease stains that may have accumulated over the past month.
After cleaning, allow the concrete to dry. You cannot apply water-based siloxane sealers to concrete until it has dried for 24 hours. If it rains during the 24-hour waiting period, wait another 24 hours after the rainfall to let the surface dry. Water on the driveway will dilute the siloxane sealer, limiting the amount of sealer that gets into the concrete substrate.
Step 2 - Apply the Sealer
Spray, roll, or brush the sealer onto the driveway. Use the tool you prefer, but keep in mind that a roller applies the sealer faster than a brush, and a garden sprayer is faster than a roller. Don't worry about getting some of the sealer on your grass or garden plants. If you get some of the product on metal or windows, simply use a sponge to wash it off right away with soap and water.
Apply the concrete sealer until a faint white color appears on the driveway. If any of the sealer "ponds" or pools in any particular section, spread it evenly before letting it dry.
Plan to apply the sealer when the weather is going to be dry, as water cannot touch the surface of the driveway for 24 hours. Keep cars and people off the driveway for 24 hours as well. Although the sealer dries in a few hours, the 24-hour rule is important to follow to ensure the sealer adheres properly to the driveway.
When the sealer cures it becomes bonded to the driveway and will provide protection from damage for years.