One of the most sought after concrete sealing products is a waterproofing sealer that is also able to repel deicing salts. Deicing salts and calcium chlorides are some of the most corrosive elements that concrete can be exposed to. They result in spalling, pitting, cracking and cause the concrete to erode all the way down to the rebar if left untreated. Because concrete has the appearance of being strong and indestructible, sealing it is not something that comes to mind – that is until you have active salt damage. Even if you do not salt your driveway, state and town roads are treated, you drive your car up the driveway into your garage and the salt drips off. Over time the concrete becomes damaged.
It is hard to fix existing salt damage with a sealer; however, it is entirely preventable if a penetrating water repellent with saltguard sealer is used. We review the Ghostshield 8500 product quite frequently on this site because it is one of the products we have used that has had the best, longest lasting results. Backed by a 100 year warranty, if reapplied every 10 years, concrete will remain looking new with out any spalls, pits or cracks. This is extremely important because the cost of replacing an existing concrete pad or driveway is about 14x the cost of the actual sealer itself!
Our Take: The 8500 product is a great option if you have a lot of square footage. The product is available in an ultra concentrated gallon; you take the 1 gallon you purchase and mix it with 4 additional gallons of water. When mixed you are left with a 5 gallon bucket which covers up to 625 sq. ft. (the 625 sq. ft. is for both recommended coats or 1250 sq. ft. for 1 coat). The ready to use version that does not require mixing and can be special ordered through Home Depot and Lowes. Whereas the ultra concentrated version can be ordered through Lowes and Concrete Sealer Solutions (Concrete Sealer Solutions sells the 8500 for $15 off Lowes pricing).
If you have watched HGTV lately you will realize that concrete countertops are trending. Not only do they look amazing when installed but they are so economical in comparison to your typical granite and marble options. What is also trending is feather finish countertops, which is essentially using Ardex or Henry’s Feather Finish concrete mixes and applying them right on top of existing laminate countertops. You can even add pigments to the concrete mixes to make the countertops a color other than gray; we’ve seen white versions, and black versions that look awesome!
Since concrete countertops are extremely porous it is very important to seal them 28 days after the countertops have been cured to prevent staining, scratches and heat damage.
StoneLok E3 2K complete countertop kit includes everything you need to seal 40 sq. ft of concrete countertops. The sealer is applied via a multi-step process, you first apply a surface conditioner, than an epoxy primer and finally a super heat resistant and abrasion resistant polyurethane top coat. One of the most durable products available for use on a concrete countertop if applied correctly. Available in an extra low gloss, low gloss or gloss finish. Does require precise, skilled application and is recommend for use only by trained professionals. The end result is an extremely durable sealer that can resist coffee, wine, citrus, vinegar and Clorox.
If you are looking for a product that doesn’t require such skilled application but will also give excellent abrasion and chemical resistance we recommend the Polyaspartic 745 kit for concrete countertops. Although it has a short pot life (once part A and part B are mixed you must apply it within 20 minutes) it has an extremely fast cure time (24 hours) in comparison to typical epoxy products that need up to a week of cure time. Sold as a countertop kit, you mix part A with part B (already pre-measured) and roll right onto the countertops. Once cured the surface will leave a high gloss finish, acceptable for use on Ardex or Henrys feather finish countertops or regular poured concrete countertops.
Silane/Siloxane sealers are commonly used as water repellents and waterproofers especially on extremely porous cement based substrates like cinderblocks, stucco, brick and concrete. Excellent sealers for protection from freeze-thaw damage and salt degradation and commonly used on municipality jobs, highways and bridges.
Most Important Features When Purchasing a Silane/Siloxane Sealer:
- Non-yellowing and water based
- Resistance to mold, mildew, salt degradation, freeze-thaw damage
- Resistance to ASR, chloride penetration and water
Most Popular Silane/Siloxane Sealer Brand Reviews:
Eagle Natural Seal: Low percentage solids silane/siloxane extremely economically priced. Wide variety of applications and covers a substantial amount of square footage per gallon. No warranty on the product.
Okon S-20: High percentage solids, also available in a 40% solids version. Good protection against water and we love the ease of application with a low pressure sprayer. Low square footage per gallon.
SureKlean Weather Seal: Ready to use silane/siloxane that is also water based designed to repel water from most masonry and stucco surfaces. Will help to reduce cracking, spalling and staining. Adequate performance over time, need to reapply every few years.
Siloxa-Tek 8500: Silane/siloxane designed for extremely porous concrete and masonry substrates. We have found this sealer to be extremely effective against salt degradation, spalling, cracking, freeze-thaw damage and water. We love that it is water based but performance is comparable and outperforms a solvent based silane/siloxane. 100% breathable with a 10 year warranty.
Blok-Lok: We don’t like that is was not specifically designed for concrete, multi-surface sealer with a five-year warranty. Low square footage per gallon, we do like that it can be applied within 48 hours of concrete being poured since this is not a normal benefit of silane/siloxanes.
One of the most popular concrete sealing product requests we field is for a color enhancing, wet look sealer. Everyone loves how their concrete looks after it rains and the way the water brings out the colors and textures of the substrate. This look is typically achieved by using an acrylic based sealing product of a solvent based chemistry. Solvent based acrylic sealers are fantastic products when it comes to decorative enhancement, the only downside is their longevity. With most products you need to reapply them on a yearly basis since they are very susceptible to breaking down from deicing salts, UV exposure and traffic. However, if you are committed to the wet look, high gloss finish and as long as you know it is something you will have to reapply on a yearly basis applying a solvent based acrylic is the way to go.
$8000 to $10,000 is the average cost to replace a concrete driveway. By using a concrete sealer on the driveway at time of installation you are essentially ensuring that you will not have to replace your concrete driveway after years of harsh deicing salt chemical usage, chlorides and freeze-thaw damage. When looking for a concrete driveway sealer the sealer you choose will depend on a variety of factors including concrete type, geographical location, and desired finish.
Stamped concrete – If you are looking to seal stamped concrete you are typically looking to enhance the colors and textures with a matte, satin or glossy finish. For this we would recommend looking for an acrylic based sealer or a silicone based sealer. Acrylics are available in either solvent based or water based varieties; water based acrylic sealers typically leave a satin finish whereas solvent based acrylic sealers typically leave a gloss finish.
Concrete – If you are looking to seal a concrete driveway you are really going to want to take into account your geographical location. If you are located in an area where deicing salts are used you are going to want to use a silane or silane/siloxane blend. If you are in a warmer climate where there are no freeze-thaw cycles and deicing salts are not used on the roadways you have a few more options. Silane/siloxane sealers are always excellent choices but are more expensive than other siliconate and acrylic based products. If you are looking for an economical options look for a concentrated silicate/siliconate blend and if you are looking for a decorative finish use an acrylic based product.
Pavers – Depending on the type of finish you are interested in you can use a silane/siloxane, acrylic or silicate/siliconate blend. If you are looking for a natural finish and/or if you are looking for deicing salt protection use a silane/siloxane product, if you are looking for a satin or high gloss finish use a water based or solvent based acrylic, and if you are looking for a natural finish and the most economical option use a silicate/siliconate blend.
Brick – Brick driveways are best sealed using a silane/siloxane blend. Because of the breathability of these sealers they will protect the bricks without any yellowing, flaking or peeling and the sealer will protect the bricks from efflorescence attacks.