How To Seal a Concrete Driveway
It doesn't take too much time or cash to seal a concrete driveway. All you need is a few supplies from your local hardware or home improvement store and a nice day to get the job done. In return, you'll be able to make your driveway look fantastic for several additional years. The main problem that degrades a concrete driveway over time is water. Some moisture from rainfall and other precipitation can stay underneath the concrete or even within the material itself. This means it can freeze and expand underneath the concrete, causing it to crack or flake. By sealing the driveway, less water can get through the porous concrete and that makes it less likely to change with the natural expansion and contraction process. Here are the steps that you're going to want to follow to make sure your driveway has the longest life possible.
1. Make Sure The Concrete Driveway Has Completely Cured.
Concrete needs about 30 days to cure properly when it has been set as a driveway. You cannot apply any sealer to the concrete until then. After the 30 days have elapsed, all dirt, debris, and other oil or grease residue must be removed before applying the sealer. Give the driveway 24 hours to completely dry.
2. Fix Any Cracks Or Potholes That May Be In The Driveway.
If you're sealing an older driveway, then it should be in good repair before the process begins. You'll need to fill in any cracks and fix any potholes before proceeding. A quick setting concrete can fix a pothole in about 3 days, while certain caulks and fillers can repair a crack within 24 hours. Make sure that the sealant you plan to use will not negatively interact with the repair products you've chosen.
3. Install a Gutter Barrier.
Concrete sealant is a liquid material, which means there is always a chance that the product may run into your storm sewage drains. This is especially true if you live in an area that sees consistent precipitation. Installing a gutter barrier can prevent any of the sealant from reaching the drainage system to reduce potential contamination. This may require a permit from your local jurisdiction.
4. Apply a Siloxane Sealant To The Driveway If The Concrete Is 0.5 Inches Or Less In Thickness.
You'll need to pick up a roller or a large brush to apply a sealer to your concrete driveway. Some sealers are available in a spray form, but they may cost more for the convenience of spraying as an application. It's ok if you get some sealant on your grass, landscaping, or other surfaces. Just wash the sealant off with soap and water if this happens. Note: Certain sealants are also solvent-based or water-based and these offer a glossy finish when compared to a penetrating sealant. A glossy finish is usually not recommended for driveways unless the concrete is decorative in nature.
5. Apply The Sealant Evenly.
A driveway tends to have small sections that will cause puddles to form. As the sealant is being applied, you will notice that the concrete will begin to have a faint whitish color to it. This is normal. What you will want to look for are puddles that are of a deeper white color because this shows the sealant has puddled for some reason. Spread out these puddles evenly and then allow the entire driveway to dry. This takes another 24 hours even if the sealant says it is ready for use before then.
6. Try To Use a Horizontal Rolling Pattern Instead Of a Vertical One.
Siloxane sealants tend to apply better if you go against the “grain” of your driveway. Most driveways have a slight slope to them to allow for drainage. Use the roller horizontally to make sure there is a maximum level of penetration of the sealant into the pores of the concrete to preserve its look.
7. Some Sealants Allow For a Slip-Resistant Coating To Be Added.
If you are making your concrete driveway a slip-resistant surface, then you will have certain powders or other textures to add during the sealing process. The two most common types of additives are silica sand and plastic grit. This is generally mixed into the sealant before it is applied.
Follow the instructions from the manufacturer on any additives for the best result. Knowing how to seal a concrete driveway can ensure that you'll be able to use it for several years to come. Protect it against moisture today and you won't have to worry about premature cracking, flaking, or splitting any more.
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