After getting a new concrete driveway poured, one thing our Houston concrete contractors highly recommend is having it sealed. Well, you may wonder, “Is concrete sealing worth it?” or “Does the concrete need to be sealed?” This article has everything covered. Sealing new concrete is essential, as it helps to protect and preserve the appearance of your new driveway by reducing the risk of small and large cracks. This makes it durable in the long run. Most concrete driveways, if properly cared for and maintained, can last as long as 25 years.

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Everything About Concrete

Concrete is a mixture of water, cement, and either gravel or sand. It has to be mixed carefully, using the right amount of each material. Mixing processes help ensure the concrete can be poured and smoothed easily. It also helps with the curing process, in which the concrete gradually hardens so it is solid.

When to apply concrete cure and seal?

The most common query we come across after new driveway installation is “Does the concrete need to be sealed?” Yes! It does. Unsealed concrete is porous and can absorb various types of liquids, such as water and oil. Depending on the type of liquid, it can cause the concrete to become discolored and stained. This can also cause unsealed concrete to gradually deteriorate and break down, which can further lead to chipping and cracks.

While it can be tempting to apply driveway concrete sealer right after it is poured, this is never recommended. It is necessary to know when to seal new concrete. Before sealing new concrete, you should know that there is excess moisture in the concrete that needs to evaporate during the curing process. The total curing process normally takes about a month before the concrete is solid and ready to be sealed.

If you seal the concrete any sooner, it would create a barrier and prevent the excess moisture from evaporating. As a result, the newly poured concrete driveway would not be as strong as it should be. Additionally, the concrete would be more prone to breaking and cracking. This will make the concrete surface uneven as it will not be able to settle correctly

Also, read

  1. How Building Materials Change Over Time
  2. Why Concrete Is the Better Choice in Hot Climates
  3. The Role Of Calcium Chloride In Concrete

Sealing new concrete driveway

The process of sealing a new concrete driveway is pretty straightforward once it has fully cured. To check if the concrete has properly cured, you can get it inspected by our contractors at Houston concrete contractors.

Clean the concrete driveways.

Before the sealer is applied make sure to clean the driveway. Otherwise, anything left on it will be sealed in it, leading to staining and discolorations. This could cause small cracks, which can become larger over time.

To clean the driveway:

  • Sweep it off with a broom to remove leaves, dirt, and debris.
  • Spray off the driveway to remove any remaining dust with a garden hose and nozzle.
  • If any stains appear on the concrete you may use a pressure washer to help remove them. Do not hold the end of the power washer wand too close to the cement to avoid any damage to the concrete.

Once the driveway is clean, allow the concrete to dry fully before the sealant is applied. Normally, on a bright sunny day, it only takes between two and four hours for the driveway to dry.

Choose the right concrete sealer.

There are numerous types of concrete sealers. Some are designed to help protect against staining. While others enhance the appearance of the concrete and provide a glossy finish. There are even penetrating concrete driveway sealers that are a mixture of materials to provide multiple benefits, like stain protection and high-gloss finish. If you plan on sealing your driveway yourself, you should avoid sealants from general retailers. These products may not be as superior as the sealants you can get from your local concrete contractors.

Applying concrete sealer to the driveway

There are different application methods you can use to seal the driveway.

  • You could use a brush to “paint” the sealer on the concrete driveway. This can take a very long time, especially if you have a long driveway.
  • You could roll the sealant onto the driveway. This method is faster than brushing and provides an even finish with better coverage.

Spraying the sealer onto the driveway is the easiest and fastest method to use. Spray sealing provides an even finish and allows you to apply the right amount of sealant.

Regardless of which method you decide to use, the sealant should be applied until it starts to turn a light white color. This signifies a nice coating of the sealant to ensure the concrete is properly protected.

Allow the sealant to fully cure and dry.

It is also necessary to allow the sealant to fully cure and dry. If you want to know How long does concrete sealer take to dry? Then here is your answer. It takes at least 24 hours before the sealant is fully cured and dry. After the sealant has dried, check the entire driveway to verify there are no spots missed.

To see if you missed any spots look closely for any color variation between the sealed and the unsealed section. If you find any unsealed areas, apply the sealant and allow the area to cure and dry for 24 hours.

Care and Maintenance post-sealing new concrete

Once your driveway has been sealed, you will need to care for it properly.

  • You should sweep off any dirt, leaves, and debris regularly.
  • You can also use your garden hose and garden nozzle to spray it off. However, do not power wash the driveway, as this can remove the sealant. Washed-away sealing increases the risk of concrete driveway cracks.
  • If you spill anything other than water on the driveway, clean it up right away to prevent it from eating through the sealant and staining your driveway.

Depending on the type of sealant used, it will need to be reapplied periodically. Most sealants will last about two years, but this can vary based on the type of sealant used and the amount of traffic and wear.

Common Mistakes People Make When Sealing Their Driveways

The biggest mistake people make when they want to seal their driveways themselves is applying the sealant too soon. They do not wait until the driveway is fully cured. This mistake ends up costing them in the long run because their new driveway will not last as long and can develop large cracks and other problems.

Another mistake people make when sealing old concrete is not cleaning their driveway before applying the sealant. When dirt, dust, and debris are trapped under the sealant, it affects the performance of the concrete. Leaves are especially notorious for staining concrete if they are not cleaned off ahead of time.

Another issue that arises is choosing the right sealant for an old concrete driveway. If you do not select the right one, it may not provide the protection required for your concrete driveway. For instance, if you just apply a glossy sealant, it may not have stain protection.

Last, not caring for your driveway after it is sealed can be a common mistake. The sealant does eventually wear off and needs to be reapplied. If the sealant is not reapplied at the right intervals, the concrete is no longer protected.

As you can see, these mistakes can be quite easy to make. This is why our concrete patios and driveways company recommends having us install and seal your new concrete driveway, as well as take care of any repairs and resealing you need.

Why You Need concrete contractors to Seal Concrete

The steps required to seal your new concrete driveway are not always something everyone can do on their own. Therefore, our Houston concrete contractors provide driveway sealing as part of your new driveway, so you will not have to worry about doing it the first time.

Whether it be staining or any other issues, our team will take care of any necessary driveway repair before applying sealant. Not to mention, we already have access to the equipment and sealants required to seal your driveway.

If you’re ready to get rid of your old concrete driveway, we’re the company for you. Our concrete experts know the ins and outs of removing old driveways and laying new concrete driveways. For further information about our concrete driveway and patio services, please feel free to contact Cross Construction Services at 713-244-8509 today!