Does Sealing a Driveway Make it Slippery in Winter?

When you first apply the sealant to your driveway, it will be slippery until it dries. However, since there should be no traffic on the pavement while the sealant is wet, this is virtually no problem. If the contractor doesn't mix the sealant properly, it can cause the pavement to become slippery even after the sealant has cured. Sealing a driveway can make it slippery, depending on the sealant and the surface of the driveway.

Sealing on an asphalt road is not slippery. A penetrating sealant on a concrete surface will not be slippery. An acrylic sealer on a concrete driveway can be slippery unless an anti-slip additive is included. I have sealed concrete walkways and staircases that are about three months old and they are very slippery when wet or snowy.

What can you do as a temporary solution in winter to minimize the slipperiness of the sealant on the concrete? I understand that you can add an additive to a sealant and re-seal, but that solution will have to wait until summer. The use of sand additives has become the most common method for reducing slipperiness by sealing decorative concrete slabs on outdoor walking surfaces. Mixing sand additives into the sealer and then applying the gritty sealer to the concrete is one way to reduce slipperiness. However, as indicated in the question, in this situation the climate was too cold to reseal the concrete.

So, you should have another method until spring comes and temperatures steadily rise above 50°F. The best temporary measure for treating slippery and sealed surfaces is to spread sand over affected areas. In addition, using chemicals to melt snow that don't damage concrete along with sand helps remove snow or ice, which can make a slippery surface even more dangerous. Just about any sand that's available at big box stores or hardware stores will do. The limitations of using silica sand as sand additives in sealants include its colors, which range from almost white to dark tan.

Silica sands change the texture and aesthetics of the sealant surface. Most importantly, however, is that crystalline silica dust has been found to be carcinogenic. The biggest of these limitations affecting the decorative concrete industry is the way in which silica sand affects the texture and aesthetics of the surface since decorative concrete has to do with the visual appeal of the concrete surface, changing it with a silica sand additive can have a negative impact on the finished work. Many still use silica in high-performance coatings with high content of frequently colored solids or in primer layers that require substantial surface texture. However, it is not commonly used in transparent, single-piece acrylic sealants or in curing and sealing.

In recent years, many have chosen to use recycled material as additives to sand. These include shredded rubber or mineral-based aggregates. However, like silica sand, they are generally found in thicker high-performance coatings and primers. They are not common in thin-construction transparent sealants that are commonly used in decorative concrete applications. Micronized polypropylene makes up most of the sand additives used in transparent decorative sealants for concrete. Sold under numerous trade names, micronized polypropylene isn't much more than ground plastic - it's the same plastic as the buckets that contain color hardener, acid stains, and many other industrial and consumer products.

Its unique texture and uniform particle size make it special. This size and shape provide a smoother feel to the surface of the coating while reducing slipperiness, especially when wet. Silica sand is angled which alters the visual aesthetics of the sealant whereas uniform shape and size of particles in propylene powders do not have a significant impact on surface aesthetics. In most cases you can't see the difference in coating; you can only feel it. It's interesting to note that polypropylene grain additives have been used as texturizing agents in industrial paints and coatings long before they reached transparent sealants in our industry. The most common brands of propylene grains on market work on sealant systems or coatings based on solvent or water; they have low density allowing them to float all over sealant and not sink to bottom like silica sand or heavier grains. Using sand in a concrete sealer DOES NOT work; it stays on top of surface plus when you add it to sealer it sinks to bottom no matter how much you stir it - so it's not viable option. We have recently built patio with natural sandstone sawn and polished; contractor has applied sealant according to paving supplier's recommendations - it's dangerously slippery when wet. The functionality of sealed concrete depends on type of sealant and application technique; right choice will not result any difference in traction of concrete - your sealed paved pavement will have same level of traction as parking lot or driveway with sealed coating. When you walk on concrete in dry conditions there is no difference in traction; when sealed concrete is wet you'll feel like walking on gym floor - you hear squeaks when you walk on wet concrete - why this sound coming?The water content between shoes and acrylic sealant creates this creaking sound - this doesn't mean sealed concrete is slippery. Whether your asphalt driveway has existed since you bought your home or you recently implemented it - you may not be safe from wear and tear that comes with winter season; once climate starts cooling down it will be much more difficult dealing with any damage. Superior Seal Coating recommends homeowners throughout Chester County Pennsylvania and beyond consider repairing driveways with asphalt before winter comes - as this may be their last chance preventing their driveway from needing more expensive repairs and preparing it for winter.

Samantha Caffery
Samantha Caffery

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