When it comes to concrete outdoor sealants, the answer is a resounding yes. Experts who recommend sealing a concrete surface are doing their customers a big favor. Without this additional layer of protection, concrete can absorb moisture and start to crack, peel, flake, and discolor. While concrete is strong enough to last for a long time without being sealed, sealant helps extend its life by preventing it from cracking and discoloring.
Plus, if you're looking to improve the appearance of your concrete driveway or patio, the sealant can add a glossy sheen while protecting it from stains. Before you decide to seal your concrete driveway, it's important to understand what you're getting into and determine if it's the right choice for you. Let's review the pros and cons of sealing a driveway. All types of materials can land on a driveway or patio, from greasy food to tannins from organic material that falls from surrounding trees. These substances can stain concrete and leave unsightly marks that can be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove. The reason for this is that liquids can penetrate the pores of the concrete.
By sealing concrete, these substances can no longer soak in, preventing it from staining. Not only do sealants create a protective layer on concrete, but they can also improve its appearance by adding a glossy layer that turns monotonous concrete into an attractive surface. In addition to adding shine, sealants tend to intensify colors, giving the patio or entrance a richer look. If you decide to use a sealer, consider buying one that includes an abrasive additive that creates a non-slip surface. The smoothest concrete sealants are solvent-based, which is what produces a high gloss.
There are also water-based sealants that are less slippery and less shiny and penetrating that don't produce any slippery and shiny finishes. Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that sealing a driveway or patio is a one-time project. Most sealants only last a few years before they start to wear off, so they need to be reapplied. Before buying the cheaper option, keep in mind that more expensive products may last longer, increasing the time between resealing efforts. Five gallons of sealer is enough to cover 500 square feet of the driveway; however, if the driveway is very porous, you may only get about half of that coverage. Just remember that while high-gloss sealants can be beautiful, they can also create a slippery surface.
Make sure that the sealer you choose for your patio has a non-slip surface. Concrete sidewalks and patios need sealants as do concrete steps. These high-traffic areas are prone to chips and cracks and steps are particularly susceptible to crumbling which represents both an aesthetic and safety risk. While concrete is an economical option, it's still an investment in your home and if you're thinking of sealing your patio you might also consider sealing your front door. All in all, sealing your concrete patio is worth it as it helps extend its life by preventing it from cracking and discoloring while also improving its appearance by adding a glossy sheen.