Being a homeowner is one tough job because you have to keep worrying about several things; from footing your bills on time and taking care of your property to keeping it in good shape and regular repairs so that its value doesn't dip. Your driveway is probably the most visible part of your home, open to the elements and constantly in use. Therefore, it requires regular maintenance, so you'd want the best driveway sealer for your specific driveway type.
The best driveway sealers not only driveways look great for several years but also extend their lifespans. Let's look at some of the top-rated options you can find on the market:
1. Best for Concrete Driveway: Foundation Armor SX5000
- Ships same day, fast and free.
- Reduces damage caused by water absorption.
- Lasts for up to 7-10 years below the surface.
- Won't change the look or color of the substrate, won't leave a...
- Reduces the absorption of water by up to 95%.
The Armor SX5000 is designed to protect your driveway's surface and still maintain the surface's natural look. It's made of a silane-siloxane compound, making it solvent-based and water repellant. This sealer provides strong efflorescence with strong alkali resistance. It's capable of penetrating deep into the surface without changing the look.
The user-friendly sealer forms a sturdy hydrophobic barrier, one that's so tough it can reportedly last up to 10 years. The Armor SX5000 provides great resistance to mold, fungus and mildew. It can also be applied on surfaces such as garage floors, mortar, grout, brick homes, basement floors, entryways, etc. Plus, it doesn't break or peel since it's 100% breathable.
2. Alternative: ToughCrete Concrete Sealer
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The ToughCrete is a remarkable, user-friendly and durable alternative for concrete driveways. It comes in a compact 1-gallon packaging, promising to cover around 600 square feet. The ToughCrete Concrete Sealer is also made of a silane-siloxane compound, making it deeply penetrating.
It's also quite versatile and can be applied over multiple surfaces, from your driveway and patio to your garage floor and pretty much any kind of concrete surface. The manufacturer claims this sealer protects your surfaces from water, salt damage and deterioration for up to 10 years. The product is also quite safe and eco-friendly.
3. Best for Asphalt Driveway: E-Z Stir Driveway Asphalt Filler/Sealer
The E-Z asphalt driveway sealer is fortified with a silica stand for extra durability and strip resistance. Essentially, it's a crack repair filler that also doubles as a sealer. It's also remarkably easy to use; you simply stir then start applying using a brush, squeegee or spray. And you only need to apply one coat.
The product is remarkable for filling up cracks even up to 1/8 inch deep. It dries to touch in just 4 hours and you can begin using your driveway within 24-48 hours after application. This asphalt driveway sealer covers up to 250 square feet, depending on porosity, surface roughness and climate conditions.
4. Alternative: Paving Sealer Driveway & Asphalt Sealer
- HIGH-PERFORMANCE, HIGH-SOLIDS BLACKTOP SEALER: This...
- STANDS UP AGAINST LIQUIDS AND UV RAYS: This driveway sealer...
- REMAINS EFFECTIVE FOR UP TO THREE YEARS: Thanks to patented...
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This is a professional grade asphalt driveway sealer that can stop harmful liquids, car chemicals, UV rays, ice, water and gas from damaging your surface. FDC Chem claims the product protects your driveways against adverse weather conditions for 3 years. It's also extremely easy to apply, even when reapplication is required.
It comes in a 5-gallon pack, enough to cover up to 400 square feet. The sealer cures within a day of application. This also makes it ideal for sidewalks, especially since most are made of asphalt.
5. Best for Blacktop Driveway: Sakrete Blacktop Sealer
- Can be used for weld or dry applications
- This product is easy to use and easy to install
- This product is made of high quality
The Sakrete Blacktop Sealer, as the name suggests, is specifically manufactured for blacktop driveways. It comes in a 5-gallon package, stirs and spreads very easily on the desired surface. The manufacturer reports it can cover up to 500 feet, although this depends on the surface.
This product can also resist oil and gasoline spills quite easily. It's mostly intended for surfaces that have light to moderate traffic. The Sakrete Blacktop Sealer is also very attractively priced, giving you good value for your buck. Besides, you only need one coat of sealer to get the job done.
6. Alternative: Latex-ite Color Grade Blacktop Driveway Filler
This sealer claims to be the first-ever tinted sealant specifically for blacktop driveways. It's water-based, meaning it leaves a non-skid finish that is also resistant to hot-tire pick-up. The product comes in an economically sized 4.75-gallon package.
The sealer leaves a light beige finish after it cures completely, ideal for preventing heat from building up, providing up to 20% reduction. This asphalt-based product comes ready-to-use and in 3 colors; natural beige, brick red and dover gray. This makes it an excellent option for people who want to seal their driveway on their own.
Factors to Consider in the Best Driveway Sealer
Driveways are constantly exposed to dirt, stains, mud and scratches. They also tend to develop cracks and dents over time, making them look pretty dull. The best driveway sealer helps you to maintain aesthetics and improve longevity.
So what makes the best sealer for driveways?
1. Types of Driveway Sealers
The market offers a wide range of sealers for different purposes. Each product has its own specific composition, which can make a significant difference in sealing your driveway.
Oil-based sealers effectively provide resistance against the elements, making them even more durable than water-based sealers. They are made from petroleum or grease, which allows them to penetrate deep inside the driveway surface. This aspect also makes them ideal for the cold winter months, where contraction and expansion can cause your driveway to crack.
On the flip side, oil-based sealers have a strong odor that lingers days after application. They are also reported to contain volatile organic compounds harmful to the environment and unsafe for health.
b). Coal Tar
Coal tar sealers are arguably the most durable, thanks to their resistance to specific elements and last a long time without requiring reapplication. Coal tar is obtained from bituminous coal, making these sealers quite pliable since they also contain additives such as sand, clay and polymers. Coal tar sealers are also much cheaper and more tolerant to the elements, including harsh sunlight.
But they do have their drawbacks. For starters, these sealers are a by-product of coal, which is not particularly environmentally friendly. They also contain the same oil-based volatile organic compounds that can release harmful chemicals into the environment.
Acrylic driveway sealers are some of the best options on the market, giving your driveway a really polished look. They also come in various colors with both high-gloss and matte finishes, making them highly popular with professionals. Plus, they don't darken the surface too much, bringing out a more natural look.
Acrylic sealers are similarly resistant to harsh elements, water, gasoline and oil. Furthermore, they don't emit the same levels of volatile organic compounds. The only downside is these sealers tend to be more expensive than other options.
d). Asphalt Sealers
These sealers, made of asphalt, are some of the most common in the US. They are significantly safer than coal tar sealers and release very low amounts of volatile organic compounds. Additionally, they don't cause skin irritation, prevent oxidation and even smell better.
However, asphalt sealers don't protect the driveway from UV rays, oil or gasoline spills as much as other types of sealers. They also tend to be more expensive. It's also worth noting that an asphalt driveway sealer requires a facelift every 3 years or so.
e). Crack Fillers
Crack fillers are an essential supplement to normal sealing jobs for long-term pavement protection. They come in both hot and cold pour options. Each has its own merits and demerits, and it would be best to consult a professional or read up more on them before you use them on your own.
These clear or pigmented sealers are mostly for abrasion- and water-resistant finishes. Epoxy sealers are an excellent alternative if you're not looking for a penetrating sealer. They are also pretty durable and protect your driveway from many types of spills effectively.
Some driveway sealers tend to bring out a slippery texture once they dry out, making it dangerous for the cars, house and people using the driveway. One of the main elements to look out for in the best driveway sealer is slip resistance to ensure that safety is guaranteed, first and foremost. If that's not an option, you can also make concrete slip-resistant by yourself.
Therefore, it's important for you to check the product's chemical composition to establish whether it'll make the surface slippery. The more sealer resin and shinier the surface, the more likely it is to be slippery. Despite the appeal of a "wet look" shine, a film-forming driveway sealer has a good chance it'll pose a risk to your safety.
Smooth surfaces are also quite risky, becoming very slippery when it's wet. As such, it's always best to go for a broomed surface by adding grit or sand. This means that the best driveway sealer should be penetrating and provide waterproofing. We advise testing your product on a small area first before applying it to the whole driveway to ensure safety.
Your driveway must be closed for traffic when you're working on sealing it because it takes time for sealants to cure. Therefore, you must consider if you can keep vehicles off your newly-sealed driveway for full application and curing. For this reason, we recommend going for a driveway sealer that allows for curing on the same day.
A driveway sealer is only a semi-permanent solution, lasting for about 1-3 years. The longevity of your sealer depends on how often your driveway is used, weather conditions and the quality of the sealer. It goes without saying the type and quality of the resin used in making the product determines its longevity and effectiveness.
5. Look and Feel
You must also consider how your driveway will look after you're done sealing it. Sealers come in several varieties, like high-gloss, semi-gloss, gloss, no-gloss, matte, satin, etc. This goes to show that not all sealers are meant to make your driveway look shiny. In fact, driveway sealers nowadays include color enhancement options, some to even minimize the wet look, for buyers going for a more "natural look".
Manufacturers use a "shine scale" to let the buyer know the exact level of gloss to expect from the product. As mentioned earlier, we still recommended applying the sealer on a small section of the driveway to ensure you'll be satisfied with the final result.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Driveway Sealers
1. How long should I wait before I can drive on a sealed driveway?
It varies, taking anywhere from 12 to 36 hours for the sealer to cure fully. Using your driveway before the sealer has cured completely damages the coat and makes it ineffective. To find out if your driveway is safe to use aft a sealing job, put on a glove and press a section of the driveway; if it yields or feels spongy, it's not yet ready for use.
2. How frequently should you seal your driveway?
This depends on multiple factors; the material your driveway is made of, exposure to the elements and how frequently it's used. Most experts recommend resealing your driveway every 2-3 years. But keep in mind oversealing can result in cracking peeling.