With the constant exposure to the elements, from rain, snow, salt and sun, driveways are continuously exposed and susceptible to damage. When looking for a concrete driveway sealer it is best to keep in mind where you live will effect the sealer you want to apply. If you live in the north, with snow and salt degradation major issues you want to look for a silane/siloxane blend sealer. Extremely durable solutions frequently used on municipality jobs, silane/siloxanes will help to prevent freeze-thaw damage and salt degradation. The higher percentage of solids of silane/siloxane the better the protection and the heftier the price. Make sure when purchasing a silane/siloxane you inquire about the percentage of solids and do not even bother with a less than 20% solids silane/siloxane.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate where snow and salt degradation are not threats to your driveway and if your driveway is comprised of pavers or brick your best bet would be to use a high quality acrylic sealer. If you are looking for a decorative high gloss finish look for a solvent based variation and if you are looking for a matte finish look for a water based sealer. Make sure the acrylic is hot tire pickup resistant, non-yellowing and UV stable.
Wet look sealers are usually solvent based acrylics that leave the surface with a high gloss, decorative finish. A lot of times they can also be used as a cure and seal or as a stand alone decorative product. It is important the sealer will not yellow and is still breathable to prevent moisture and delamination.
Most Important Features When Purchasing a Wet Look Sealer:
- Breathable formula that is non-yellowing and UV stable, VOC friendly in most states
- Protection from rain, sun, salt while adding a wet look and enhancing the look of colored concrete
- Non-scratch, non-scuff, long lasting with no risk of delamination
Most Popular Wet Look Sealer Brand Reviews:
Eagle Gloss Coat: Even though it is solvent based it provided a nice wet look finish to decorative concrete and pavers. We like that it can also be used on new concrete instead of waiting the usual 28 days for concrete to cure. Unfortunately 1 gallon only covers 100 square feet so multiple gallons are necessary to seal any substantial substrate.
Everclear: Excellent as a cure and seal, however it is not VOC friendly in all states with a whopping 681 g/L. Adequate coverage and a fast dry time along with an easy application make it a good choice.
Cryli-Tek 5505: We like that this sealer is solvent based and industrial grade holding up to weathering and beading water. Lasted longer than every other acrylic we tested on this list and provided a beautiful wet look enhancing decorative concrete. Did not delaminate or yellow and our concrete looked nice.
Decra-Seal: Fast drying with a high gloss finish but again extremely high VOC limit of almost 700 g/L!
Quikrete Acrylic: Can be used as a cure and seal to help retain water and leaves a finish that is not excessively glossy. Meets ASTM C 309 and covers about 200 sq. ft. per gallon.
Basements: Look for an invisible waterproofing silicate/siliconate blend that will densify and waterproof. If your basement is built of cinderblocks or concrete blocks look for a silane/siloxane blend. Since silane/siloxanes have a larger molecular size they are able to mask and bridge the especially porous blocks from potentially damaging water.
Driveways: Look for a penetrating silane/siloxane sealer that will protect driveways from salt degradation, mold, mildew and unsightly efflorescence. One of the best effects of a silane/siloxane sealer is the ability to see it working right before your eyes with its water beading effect. Look for a silane/siloxane of 20-40% solids.
Patios: Depending on the desired finish of either a high gloss shine or a matte finish choose either a solvent based acrylic or water based acrylic. Be careful when choosing a solvent based sealer if it meets VOC regulations in your state. Water based acrylics, if industrial grade formulations, are excellent decorative concrete enhancers.
Garages: If you are looking for chemical resistance, abrasion resistance and resistance from oil, gas, acids and other chemicals use an industrial coating, either an epoxy, urethane, polyaspartic or a conjunction of an epoxy and urethane. These coatings are also resistant to hot tire pick up and heavy equipment and machinery.
Epoxies: Provides excellent resistance to chemicals and can be used in conjunction with paint chips or metallic sand to provide a decorative and durable finish. For added protection use a urethane topcoat for a higher build floor. Make sure to have a rough surface porosity before applying an epoxy to help with hot tire pickup resistance.
Urethanes: Provides excellent chemical resistance for protection from oils and fluids. Look for an aliphatic urethane that will withstand more chemicals and last for a longer period of time. Make sure to have a rough surface porosity before applying a urethane to help with hot tire pickup resistance.
Polyaspartics: Fast drying urethanes that are all the rage because they will be dry within a few hours compared to the dry time of a traditional urethane which can take up to a week to cure. The only down side is the extremely short pot life that needs to be applied in less than a half hour. This can be problematic on large square footage garages. Make sure to have a rough surface porosity before applying a polyaspartic to help with hot tire pickup resistance.
Penetrating Sealers: The best options for garage floors if you are looking for a natural finish that will not cost a lot of money but will give an extreme amount of protection. Penetrating, water repellent sealers can create an olephobic barrier resistant to oils, fluids and water. We like the Lithi-Tek LS 9500 available at HomeDepot.com. You will never have to worry about this industrial grade sealer peeling, flaking, bubbling or delaminating.