Six Tips for Choosing the Proper Concrete Sealer

Now that it’s getting colder, homeowners are gearing up for the upcoming months of snow and ice that will wreak havoc on their outdoor concrete surfaces. Concrete sealers are an important tool for protecting your concrete year around, but they are especially important in the winter. Ice melt can be damaging to concrete surfaces. The freeze/thaw cycle that occurs during winter is also extremely damaging. This is when the water that seeps into concrete during the spring, summer, and fall freezes and expands in the winter causing cracks. Sealers can help prevent damage from both of these things.

Here are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a concrete sealer.

  • Sealers should be applied when temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For most sealers, the minimum temperature is 40 to 45 degrees. However, to be safe, most professionals recommend applying sealers when the temperature is 50 degrees or above. This number depends on other weather conditions, as well as the type of sealer used.
  • It’s also important to choose a concrete sealer that is compatible with any treatments or decorative overlays your concrete surface may have.
  • Keep in mind the aesthetic you want your concrete to have. Some concrete sealers are high gloss, while others have more of a matte finish.
  • Be sure to choose a sealer that does not increase the potential for slips. Concrete can already get extremely slippery in the winter because of snow and ice. Make sure your concrete sealer does not add to the risk.
  • In order to insure that your concrete sealer has a long life, make sure that any outdoor surface it is applied to has proper drainage. Water pooling from rain or melted ice or snow can not only speed up the deterioration of the sealer, it can also turn to ice. This is, first of all, dangerous, but it also means you will probably need to use ice melt, which hastens the deterioration process of concrete sealers.
  • Note how much traffic your concrete surfaces endure, as well as the conditions it will be exposed to. Areas that are exposed to only foot traffic will need a different type of sealer than areas exposed to cars.

A professional will take all of these factors into account and choose the proper concrete sealer for you. Sealers reduce the deterioration rate of concrete which extends its life and preserves its beauty. It also makes surfaces easier to clean and maintain which reduces the probability of needing concrete repairs done in the spring. A properly applied concrete sealer can last for years (some sealers even promise a ten year warranty). Having a sealer applied to your concrete before winter hits will not only save you trouble this winter, but many winters to come.