Deciding what kind of concrete sealer to use for your project can seem like a daunting and mind-numbing task. There are a countless number of options on the market that can fill many different purposes, so it’s important to always research which options will suit your project’s needs.
Choosing the right kind of sealer will make a huge difference in both the appearance and performance of your project. We’ve compiled some key facts to consider when choosing exterior concrete sealers.
Be Prepared for the Worst
Sealing an exterior concrete surface correctly is an essential part of hardscape maintenance that will contribute to long-term viability. A good way to think about concrete sealer is to think of it like car wax—lots of people refrain from waxing their vehicle and end up regretting it when the paint peels (and it costs them more money to fix the paint job). Sealing your exterior concrete may seem like extra work and unnecessary at the time, but after several years of exposure to harsh weather and frequent use your concrete will become discolored, stained, or even flaky (which significantly jeopardizes its structural ability).
The Concrete Sealer Should Be Breathable
Due to persistent moisture which comes in regular contact with exterior surfaces on a day to day basis, it is absolutely necessary to pick a breathable exterior concrete sealer. Most commonly, people use acrylic sealers for their exterior projects because they are able to allow trapped moisture in the connected to escape. Although acrylic sealers release that moisture as a gas, the sealer is still capable of repelling moisture and oils that may seep in from the top of your concrete’s surface.
Consider Your Climate
People who live in the southern United States generally deal will more intense heat and UV light. To counteract those realities, elements to look for in a sealer include: bonding strength, hot tire pickup, and the quality of the acrylic used. Cheap acrylic sealers tend to be made from a lower quality acrylic and therefore break down more rapidly.
Areas of the country that deal with continued freezes throughout the winter season requires a somewhat greater attention if maximum protection and longevity is desired. You will need a quality acrylic sealer that can both repel moisture, oil, and hot tire pickup, as well as deal with problems like: multiple freeze thaw cycles, de-icing agents such as salts, and abrasion from snow removal.
De-icing agents such as salt eats away at concrete sealers so it is absolutely necessary to find a sealer that can handle them. Look for a stalker that carries Silane properties. Silane acts as a backup to the acrylic film and slows down the absorption of moisture.
Overall, the best concrete sealer for a driveway, patio, pool deck or walkway is one that is UV resistant, breathable, and slip resistant, even when wet. It is most important to consider what climate you are in and what your specific application will be. When a good concrete sealant is used, maintenance is easy—wash the driveway or patio with soap and water, or a degreaser designed for use on cement, and apply a fresh coat of sealer about every three years.