When it comes to sealing new concrete, you have a couple of options. You can seal the concrete before it is cured, or you can wait 28 days until the concrete is cured and then seal. One options is not necessarily better than the other, but when you seal will determine the type of sealers you can use.
If you want to seal your new concrete before the concrete has cured then you want to use a cure and seal, or a sealer rated for new concrete. Cure and seals are acrylic co-polymer sealers. They will enhance the concrete with a low to high gloss finish, and help to control moisture loss during the 28 day curing process. If you don’t want a gloss, you can use a penetrating concrete sealer rated for new concrete, but penetrating sealers won’t aid in proper curing, they will just seal the surface of uncured concrete.
If you wait 28 days for your new concrete to cure, you have a few more options for sealing.
- You can use an acrylic sealer for a wet look, low gloss, or colored concrete finish. See Acrylic Sealer Reviews for options.
- You can use a penetrating water repellent sealer to protect concrete against damage, deterioration, and mold caused by water absorption. See Water Repellent Sealer Reviews.
- You can use a concrete densifier to increase the strength and density, and reduce dusting. See Concrete Densifier Reviews.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it better to seal new concrete before it cures or after it cures? One isn’t necessarily better to do, but both have their advantages. It is better to ask yourself why you want to seal the concrete, and what you want the concrete to look like once sealed. How you answer those questions will determine which sealer is best (see chart below). Also, consider when your driveway is poured. In some cases, you may not have the luxury of time, especially if you are sealing in November when temperatures can drop below freezing.
- How long does it take concrete to cure? New concrete takes 28 days to cure.
- Why aren’t all sealers rated for new concrete? New concrete has a high water content and if you apply an acrylic sealer or a water repellent sealer to new concrete, that isn’t rated for new concrete, the moisture can cause issues with delamination and staining as the moisture is released. If you are sealing concrete less than 28 days old, you want to use a cure and seal.
- How long after the concrete is poured can I seal my concrete? It will depend on the product you use so it is best to follow the application instructions of that product. Typically, acrylic cure and seals can be applied 24 hours after the pour, and certain water repellents a week after.
|Silicate Concrete Sealers||Water Repellent Concrete Sealers||Acrylic Concrete Sealers|
|Won’t change the look of the concrete||Won’t change the look of the concrete||Enhances with a wet look or gloss|
|Works entirely below the surface||Works entirely below the surface||Leaves a visible surface film|
|Apply only once||Recoat every 5-7 years||Recoat every 1-3 years|
|Increase strength of concrete||Repels surface water||Protects surface against staining|
|Reduces dusting and spalling||Reduces staining and deterioration||Stops dusting, staining, deterioration|
|Can only be used on cured concrete||Can be used on cured and uncured concrete||Can be used on cured and uncured concrete|