In order to prevent damage caused by surface abrasion, snow and ice, roadsalts, oil and gas spills, and exposure to the elements, concrete driveways should be sealed. Sealing a concrete driveway can help to extend the life, preserve the look, and reduce unnecessary deterioration.
There are several types of concrete sealers that can be used to seal a concrete driveway. The best sealer for your driveway will depend on several factors including your reason for sealing, what you want the concrete driveway to look like once sealed, and the current condition of the concrete.
Sodium Silicate Concrete Driveway Sealers
Sodium and lithium silicates are categorized as concrete densifiers and surface hardeners. They penetrate into the surface of the concrete where they chemically react to form a hardened crystalline barrier within the pores. Once the barrier is fully cured, the surface of the concrete becomes harder and more dense. When used to seal a concrete driveway, silicate sealers help to reduce deterioration caused by surface abrasion, vehicle traffic, and snow and ice. Once a driveway has been strengthened with a densifier sealer, a water repellent sealer should be applied to help reduce further deterioration.
When it comes to choosing the best silicate sealer, there really is no wrong answer. Silicates simply spark a chemical reaction in the concrete. Once the chemical reaction takes place and the crystalline barrier is formed, all that is left in the pores is the CSH – there is no sealer. For that reason, we suggest going with the most cost effective option.
Best Sodium Silicates Concrete Sealers for Driveways:
- Armor S2000 – Concentrated sodium silicate densifier that needs to be diluted with 3 gallons of water prior to applying. Average 4.8 star rating on FoundationArmor.com, HomeDepot.com, and Amazon.com. $64.95 plus $9.95 shipping.
- RadonSeal Silicate Sealer – Pre-diluted sodium silicate densifier. Average 4 star review on RadonSeal.com and HomeDepot.com. $189.00 plus free shipping.
- PS107 Silicate Sealer – Pre-diluted sodium silicate densifier. No reviews available accross any networks. $99.00 plus $25.00 shipping.
Sodium silicate concrete sealers can be applied only to driveways that have never been sealed before. Surfaces sealed with a water repellent will repel silicates, and surfaces sealed with an acrylic won’t allow a silicate to penetrate.
Water Repellent Concrete Driveway Sealers
Water repellent concrete sealers are the best type of sealer for sealing a concrete driveway. They penetrate into the concrete surface where they chemically react to form a hydrophobic (water repellent) barrier within the pores. Surface water absorption is decreased by up to 95%, and deterioration caused by water absorption is significantly reduced. If you are looking for protection without changing the look or color of the concrete, a water repellent sealer is best.
There are two primary types of water repellent sealers. The first is a Silane-Siloxane hybrid and the second is a siliconate. Siliconate sealers are ok to use on white or light gray concrete, but when applied to concrete that is considered to be medium-dark, they can leave behind a white residue. Silane-Siloxane water repellents can be applied to all concrete surfaces, including concrete pavers.
Best Water Repellent Concrete Sealers for Driveways:
- Armor SX5000: Department of Transportation (DOT) approved high solids silane siloxane water repellent sealer. Average 4.8 star review on FoundationArmor.com, HomeDepot.com, and Amazon.com. Priced as low as $199 plus free shipping.
- Armor SC25: Cost effective siliconate water repellent sealer. Average 4.9 star review on FoundationArmor.com, HomeDepot.com, and Amazon.com. Priced as low as $179.95 plus free shipping.
- Rusoleum Silane Siloxane Sealer: Low solids Silane Siloxane water repellent sealer. No reviews available. $140 plus free shipping.
- RadonSeal Dryway Water Repellent: Low solids Silane Siloxane water repellent sealer. Average 3.8 star review on RadonSeal.com and Amazon.com. $144 plus free shipping.
- PS101 Siliconate Sealer: Cost effective siliconate water repellent sealer. Average 4.8 star review on Amazon.com. $179.95 plus $25 shipping.
Water repellent concrete sealers can be applied over surfaces sealed with a silicate sealer. They can also be applied to surfaces previously sealed with a water repellent so long as the old water repellent has deteriorated and is no longer in the pores. If you are unsure whether there is still water repellent present, a test area of the new sealer should be applied and left for a few days. Water repellent sealers can’t be applied over an acrylic, but they can be applied to a surface that was previously sealed with an acrylic so long as the old acrylic sealer has been removed from the surface and within the pores.
Acrylic Concrete Driveway Sealers
If you don’t want to change the look or color of your concrete driveway, a water repellent sealer is best. If you want a wet look, low gloss, high gloss, or colored/tinted sealer, then you want an acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealers penetrate in order to bond, but they darken the surface and leave behind a visible protective surface coating. Acrylic sealers offer protection from deterioration caused by water, staining caused by surface spills, and deterioration caused by surface abrasion.
There are water based and solvent based acrylic sealers, and the two could not be more different. Read about our Acrylic Sealer article to learn about which acrylic sealer is best for your driveway.
I am partial to solvent based acrylic sealers because they are easy to apply, easy to maintain, darken the surface to enhance coloring, and they can be colored if you need a color change.
Best acrylic concrete sealer for driveways:
- Eagle High Gloss Sealer: Residential grade solvent based acrylic wet look sealer. Average 4.6 star review on HomeDepot.com
- Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer: Professional grade solvent based high gloss acrylic sealer. Average 4.8 star review on FoundationArmor.com, HomeDepot.com, and Amazon.com.
- Enduraseal Low Gloss Sealer: Residential grade solvent based acrylic sealer. Average 4.5 star review on Amazon.com.
- Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer: Professional grade solvent based wet look sealer. Average 4.8 star review on FoundationArmor.com, HomeDepot.com, and Amazon.com.
Acrylic sealers can be applied over surfaces that have been previously sealed with a silicate sealer or a water repellent sealer. There are a few things to consider which can be noted on the Acrylic Sealer article mentioned above.
A quick note – water based acrylic sealers need to be recoated with a water based acrylic, and solvent based acrylic sealers need to be recoated with a solvent based acrylic sealer. Water based acrylic sealers can’t be applied over solvent based acrylics, and solvent based acrylics can’t be applied over water based because the solvents will attack the water based which will result in coating failure. If you want to switch from a water based to a solvent based, or a solvent based to a water based, the old sealer needs to be completely removed first.