How To Seal Your Concrete in Five Easy Steps


Outer home cosmetics are typically quite important for a homeowner. You want your house looking its best. One aspect of keeping the outside of your home in great condition involves maintaining any concrete, state like your driveway. A concrete sealer is the best way to keep your concrete in tip-top shape. But, improper work is commonly just as useless as no work at all. 

Sealing your concrete driveway, sidewalk, or patio can be done in five easy steps:

  • Plan and check the weather
  • Clean the surface
  • Apply the sealer
  • Let it dry
  • Repeat as necessary

Along with making your driveway look better, the concrete sealer has other attributes as well. A concrete sealer acts as an extremely protective layer for your concrete.

In this article, we will discuss five easy steps to follow when sealing your concrete. Following these five steps will ensure that you get the best result from your sealer, allowing for a clean look and added layer of protection on your concrete. We hope to show you that projects such as these do not have to result in stress, mess-ups, and damage.

How To Seal Your Concrete In Five Easy Steps

Once you have decided to seal your concrete, you must next learn how to do so properly. If you do not follow a strict set of steps, you may not get the best outcome, and your concrete will likely suffer. Below, we have comprised five easy steps to follow when sealing your concrete.

Plan Ahead and Wait for the Right Weather

There is a certain climate in which sealing your concrete will yield the maximum results. The first aspect of the climate you should consider is any chance of precipitation. 

A wet driveway will not take on the Aswell as a dry one, and in concrete sealer in some cases, applying a concrete sealer to a wet driveway will be all for nothing. You want the sealer to soak into the concrete properly, and it cannot do this without a dry surface. 

The adhesive in the sealer might slip right off. Plus, if you try to set your concrete sealer on a wet surface, it might dry improperly, form bumps, and refrain from soaking into the concrete how it should. 

If you plan to seal your concrete, make sure that it has not recently rained and that it is not likely to rain in the next few days. 

Of course, as we all know, those trusty weathermen and women may not always provide the exact conditions, but even a chance of precipitation is enough to postpone the sealing.  Allowing your concrete to dry for at least 24 hours before applying the sealer is a good rule of thumb to follow.

The next thing to think about is the temperature outside. It is better to coat your concrete in a warmer environment, as doing so in cold weather will typically prevent the sealer from setting and drying correctly. 

The last thing you want is spots of clustered concrete sealers that have frozen and dried in a morphed way—applying the sealer in anything over than 50-degree weather should work just fine.

If you are applying the first coat of concrete sealer to a brand new driveway, no matter how favorable the weather conditions may be, you must let your new concrete set for around a month before applying any sealer. It might look presentable on the outside, but adding concrete sealer to concrete that is not ready can deteriorate is internal structure.

Clean the Concrete

If you do not take the time to clean your concrete, all you are going to be doing is trapping all the stains, grease, and debris underneath the concrete sealer you apply. Cleaning off your concrete before applying a concrete sealer is absolutely necessary. You want a blank canvas to work with.

Pressure washing your concrete can be a very effective way to clean off all materials that do not belong. The force of the water is sure to get any grease or stains off of the surface, and in the process, it will also clean out any existing holes in your concrete. 

Keep in mind, however, that though we are using concrete and driveways a bit interchangeable, concrete is often used for porches, patios, basements, and more. 

You might not need a pressure washer for a smaller piece of concrete. Small surface cleaners might suffice, and if you do not have access to one, there are a number of acclaimed solutions you can find online involving the use of baking soda, bleach, and even laundry detergent.

We also recommend cleaning off any previous concrete sealer that might have been on your concrete from an earlier application. Particularly if you are using a different brand of sealer, cleaning off an old coat of sealer ensures that there will not be any problems during the application process. 

Not all concrete sealers are exactly the same, so mixing different kinds together could reduce the usefulness of your new coating.

Basic sweeping off of your concrete might not cut it. We recommend a high-quality, deep clean for your benefit. If you just sweep off the upper layer of debris and such on your concrete, you are not cleaning what needs to be cleaned. Pressure washing and chemical scrubbing are the best ways to get out tough stains and clean inside possible cracks, crevices, or pores.

Apply Concrete Sealer

The best way to apply a concrete sealer is by adding two coats over a period of time. The first coat should consist of a thin layer spread evenly over the surface of your concrete. 

After a few hours, applying another thin coat over the concrete will make sure that you have covered all areas necessary. Adding the second coat opposite or perpendicular to the direction of the first coat is the best way to make sure you cover any bare spots.

Depending upon recommendations and preference, concrete sealer application sets tend to come in two forms: a roll-on sealer or a spray sealer. Both types accomplish the same task, so it should not be a big deal when taking your pick. 

All you need to make sure of is that you have the appropriate amount of concrete sealer necessary to cover the surface area of your concrete.

When we say a thin coat, we want to stress that a concrete sealer is a tough substance. You do not have to cake your concrete with gallon after gallon of concrete sealer. 

Two small coats will fill and heal the cracks and holes in your concrete perfectly fine. Whatever concrete sealer you get will inform you what square footage it is good for.

Let the Sealer Dry Completely

After applying your concrete sealer, you should wait a few days to walk or drive on your concrete. Most sealers come with directions that say to wait 24 hours before it’s dry, but it’s always best to be on the safe side. Any extra time you can stay off the freshly sealed concrete is a plus. 

You want to make sure your sealer has dried properly and is not damaged in its setting process. Although following these stips will result in an easier process, that does not mean rushing through them will not present consequences. 

Sealing your concrete can take time; seeing that your time is valuable, we just want to make that time worthwhile.

After your coats of concrete sealer are dried and ready for action, you can use your driveway just as you would on a normal basis. The concrete sealer will add a noticeable amount of protection from the sun, weather, cars, and so much more. 

Not to mention, it will look as good as new. Wear and tear will take its toll eventually, but we will discuss that in the next step.

We know that concrete surfaces support numerous different activities, whether they include being a surface for parking a car, sitting on the back porch and enjoying the sunset, or hanging out with friends in the basement. 

The concrete sealer will allow these activities to continue at their normal pace without you having to worry about how your concrete looks and functions.

Repeat Regularly

When we say regularly, we are not suggesting this to be a grueling weekend project twice a month. A fresh application of concrete sealer can provide necessary protection from anywhere between two to five years, depending upon weather and daily wear and tear. 

If you notice that your most recent coat of concrete sealer seems to have run its course, repeating steps 1-4 is the easiest way to reseal your driveway. If you follow our instructions carefully, you will find that the process of sealing your concrete is not one to fret over.

Though initial sealing of concrete will not last forever, your investment will be well worth your time. Additional protection for up to five years at the cost of supplying the materials for providing that protection will save you time and money in the long run, as well as help keep your concrete looking presentable.

Why Should You Seal Your Concrete?

A common question homeowners might ask relates to what the purpose of sealing their concrete actually accomplishes. Well, the benefits of sealing concrete are applicable in a number of ways. 

As we mentioned before, it is not solely about making your concrete look better. Sealing your concrete is beneficial for the foundation of your house, building, or whatever piece of land your concrete rests on. 

The first benefit of sealing your concrete is the protection that will be provided from it. Adding an extra layer of a sealing solution will greatly increase the chance of the ability of your concrete to fight off damage from the sun, climate, and any other threats that might pose themselves. 

Concrete sealer, as you might have guessed, seals holes, cracks, and pores in your concrete. This further solidifies the structure of your concrete, allowing it to function as a large, singular piece, rather than a number of pieces broken apart with exposed innards. 

If your concrete is not properly sealed, precipitation and debris from the outside world can lodge itself into the concrete, loosening the bond and creating even more holes and cracks. 

Over time, this buildup of materials inside your concrete can be tough to fix, so it is best to get started on this project, even if you do not yet notice any major damage.

Dangers of an unsealed plot of concrete may prove quite damaging in many ways. For one, a damaged surface will not be the best structure for any type of work or activity you may use your concrete for. 

Additionally, cracks, crevices, and holes can damage cars and machinery that may drive over the concrete. Most importantly, however, is the possibility of further structural damage if your concrete is connected to your house or anything else as a driveway. Damaged concrete might affect the foundation which sits upon or adjacent to it.

A concrete sealer also allows added protection from the sun. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are known to greatly change the appearance of an unsealed driveway. The rays can easily penetrate openings in the concrete and cause the look of your driveway to fade. 

Adding the extra layer of protection can help prevent this and will, at the same time, keep your concrete looking new and fresh.

An added advantage of sealing your concrete is shown with how great your concrete will look. With the protection necessary, your driveway will be preserved to the fullest extent, preventing any fading, blemishes, or additional damage.

Additional Tips for Sealing Concrete

Along with the five major steps to follow on how to seal your concrete, we have provided a few extra factors to consider in the process. Following all of our steps and extra tips will help you get the best results possible. Read below for those extra tips that will complete the perfection of sealing your concrete.

Manufacturer Instructions

Following our tips will definitely get you results, but there might be minor differences among various manufacturers. The company that makes the concrete sealer is sure to be the best source for how to use it, so if you have any additional questions, fall back on the manufacturer’s instructions.

All forms of home improvement are going to have certain specifications that revolve around the product you use, but our steps our a broad guide to enhancing the capability of those specifications.

Professional Assistance

Speaking of people who know what they are doing, if you find yourself struggling with the process of applying the concrete sealer, finding professional workers might be your best bet. It may not seem like a majorly difficult task, but if you sense any sort of suspicion that you might not be getting the job done perfectly, professional will be on your side. 

You want your concrete to be in its best shape, so you might as well go the extra distance it requires to achieve that goal.

Types of Concrete Sealers

There are two main types of concrete sealers: water-based and solvent-based sealers. Individual preference is the main deciding factor, but the different sealers have their own particular characteristics.

Water-based concrete sealers are known to be a safer option to apply, particularly if you are sealing concrete indoors. They do not contain the chemical vapors that might come from a solvent-based concrete sealer. 

Water-based sealers also come in two different cosmetic types. You can get a sealer that leaves a shiny coating or a smooth, matte finish. Some people claim that water-based sealers thin out more easily and cluster up less, but again, that is up to your discretion.

Solvent-based concrete sealers usually tend to make the concrete appear shinier and darker, which can be beneficial for covering up stains longer. 

Solvent-based sealers are thicker, which might qualify them as a bit more durable, but as you should apply only thin layers – no matter what type of sealer you use – this might not be a huge advantage. A common complaint some people have with solvent-based sealers is that they are more slippery than water-based sealers when they are wet. 

As with whether or not you spray or roll on your concrete sealer, the type of sealer you use is not a huge factor. At the end of the day, it all falls on your preference. Whether you just want to enhance the look of your concrete or fix major damages, any type of concrete sealer is likely to produce exceptional results.

Final Thoughts

Sealing your concrete is a great way to provide the necessary protection required to preserve your driveway, and in doing so, you will also reap the benefits of a sleek, clean look.

We hope you enjoyed this article. All forms of exterior cosmetics and functionality can be a burden for those involved, but if you take notice of careful steps on how to do such things, you will find that the process is much easier.

 

Geoff

Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.

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