Your concrete driveway is usually one of the first things people notice when pulling up to your home. It can also be one of your biggest investments. It is therefore a good idea to properly maintain and protect your concrete driveway so that you can get many good years out of it.
Why it's important to seal your driveway
Sealing your concrete driveway is surely one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your driveway withstands many years of harsh winters, blazing hot summers and constant vehicle traffic. It is also an inexpensive and fast way to maintain the value of your home.
The freezing and thawing cycles throughout the year causes the most damage to concrete driveways, as the expansion and contraction of the water actually breaks the concrete down, causing it to flake, pit and crack. De-icing salt also breaks down the structure of concrete and causes damage, as well.
It is therefore important to protect your cement driveway with a penetrating siloxane sealer to reduce the amount of water and ice that is absorbed into the concrete.
The products to seal your driveway
Do not confuse a surface sealer with a penetrating sealer. A surface sealer does just that – it seals only the surface. A surface sealer quickly wears away, thus exposing the cement to exactly the same things you were trying to protect it from.
A penetrating, siloxane sealer, on the other hand, penetrates below the concrete’s surface and forms a hydrophobic barrier against water and ice. A penetrating sealer, unlike a surface sealer, does not change the texture of the concrete and does not create a gloss over the cement.
The Steps to Take
If you have a newly poured driveway, you’ll need to let it cure for about three to four weeks before you can apply a sealer.
The first step you’ll need to take is to brush off the driveway’s surface of any debris, stones and leaves. Use a stiff, nylon brush to remove any mildew, and use a pressure washer to remove any oil or grease stains. Allow the driveway to dry for at least 24 hours. This also means that it must remain rain-free for at least 24 hours as well.
You can apply the sealer to the cement driveway using a garden sprayer, a roller or a brush. If you use a garden sprayer, it is best to go back over the area with a roller to achieve an even coat. You’ll want to apply enough of the sealer to create a milky white finish on the concrete, but not enough to create any pools of sealer.
The sealer should dry in about one to four hours, although it is best to keep vehicles off the driveway for at least 24 hours. These time estimates can vary, so read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations carefully before sealing your concrete driveway.
A properly sealed driveway will afford years of protection against damage. With such a simple project, there’s no reason not to seal your driveway!