Updated: June 8, 2015
Concrete Sealer Reviews:Finding the Best Concrete Sealers - You've finally finished your new concrete driveway: the supplies are packed up and put away or the contractor is gone and the bill is on its way, and you are left with a smooth surface that your kids can play basketball or rollerblade on. Your car can sit proudly. It's perfect. Now, do you want to do all of that over again in a few years? Doesn't sound appealing, does it? No one wants to go to the trouble and expense of redoing an entire driveway, patio, garage floor, or other concrete-surfaced area in a few years because it has cracked, stained, worn, and just showing its age in general. The best way to prevent this and save yourself a lot of money is to invest in a good concrete sealer. Whether you've installed a functional gray concrete floor or a decorative stamped concrete patio, you will need to seal it. With what? Good question.
What Kind of Concrete Sealer Do I Need? - The right concrete sealer for you depends on the type of concrete you have, as well as where it is. There are 4 basic types of sealers:
*Penetrating Sealers. These do exactly what they say: they penetrate the surface of your concrete to protect it from weather and chemicals (such as a winter driveway treated with salt). It is great for driveways because it helps prevent damage from repeated freezing and thawing and it does not add a gloss or sheen to the concrete. Most of the penetrating sealers you will find, including silanes, siloxanes, and silicates, will be breathable so moisture can be released from the concrete instead of trapped. A good one to try is A-Tech Concrete Sealer, which is a silane/siloxane water repellent sealer. You can spray, brush, or roll it on, and the sealer penetrates below the surface in order to reduce staining, spalling, and damage from de-icing salt. There is no visible difference to your driveway, but it is being protected from the inside out. You can get A-Tech online for about $52 per gallon. This is the best of the best and it will help you maintain optimal appearance and function.
*Acrylics. When you apply an acrylic sealer, it creates a thin protective film on the surface. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and typically costs less than penetrating sealers. You can either get water-based or solvent-based acrylics. What's the difference? Solvent-based acrylics typically allow you to show off your color better and perform better outdoors than water-based acrylics. Both wear faster than polyurethane and epoxy sealers. Try H&C Concrete Sealer. This is a solvent-based sealer that provides an opaque waterproofing seal to your exterior concrete surfaces. It is durable, resistant to salt, acids, water, UV rays, oil, and heavy traffic, and it comes in different colors so you can create any type of look you want. It costs under $30 per gallon (see all the top rated acrylic concrete sealers here). You can use acrylics inside, but they require a lot more maintenance than epoxy or polyurethane concrete sealers. Try In&Out Concrete Sealer. It meets all VOC requirements and is a water-based acrylic that forms a durable, clear film over your surface. It will protect your concrete floor and reduce maintenance needs. You may have to reapply in frequently trafficked areas. This is just over $20 per gallon (get it here).
*Polyurethanes are great for indoor use because they protect high-traffic floors and provide resistance to scuff marks and staining. It brings out the color of stamped or decorative concrete, making it a good choice for patios, decks, walkways, and other decorative outdoor areas. The finish is transparent, and you can choose the sheen level you desire. Urethane sealers are about twice as thick as acrylic sealers, so if you pay more, at least you won't have to reapply as frequently. When you apply it, keep water away from the surface so it can cure properly. Majic Dust Free Poly Concrete Sealer is a good choice. It penetrates into the concrete and forms a durable coating that is nonporous. The finish is matte and non-slippery, resistant to moisture and chemicals. A gallon costs about $41 (buy it here).
*Epoxies. Epoxies are a great choice for indoor floors and cement countertops. An epoxy concrete sealer forms a thick protective concrete coating. Different colors are available, and most epoxies leave a glossy finish. The surface will be durable and resistant to abrasion. Epoxies can be quite expensive. Minuteman Minuteman's 1.5-gallon bottle of epoxy sealer costs about $115.