The Best Sealant for Your Driveway: Here Are the Top Choices

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated September 1, 2022
Concrete driveway
Photo: shurkin_son / Adobe Stock

A quality sealant paves the way for a long-lasting driveway

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From heavy carloads to intense UV rays and freeze-thaw cycles, many adversaries are working against your driveway throughout the year. Choosing the best sealant for your driveway is crucial. After all, you’ve invested in the cost of paving your driveway, so it’s essential to protect it to get the most from its lifespan. 

Whether you’re sealing your driveway on your own or hiring a local driveway sealing contractor, this finishing touch is crucial for beauty and longevity. Here are the best concrete and asphalt sealers for driveways.

The Best Asphalt Driveway Sealers

Asphalt driveways can last 25 to 30 years with the proper care. The cost to seal an asphalt driveway runs between $1.20 to $1.50 per square foot, including labor. Here are your best asphalt sealers for driveways. 

1. Oil-Based Driveway Sealers

Oil-based driveway sealers aren’t a common choice, but they make a great alternative to coal tar sealers for those on a budget. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) warns of the harmful environmental impact of coal tar sealants due to their high concentrations of toxic PAH chemicals, which may cause cancer, death, and mutations in fish and other wildlife. Oil-based sealers are less harmful to the environment, budget-friendly, and can last up to four years before reapplying. 

2. Asphalt Emulsion Sealers

Asphalt emulsion sealers are popular, durable, and middle-of-the-road in terms of pricing. These aren’t as harmful to the environment as coal tar or fast-drying sealants, and can last up to four years before they need reapplying. However, they’re more susceptible to staining from oil and gasoline leaks, so they’re not the best choice for those who like to tinker around their vehicles on the driveway.

3. Fill-and-Seal Sealants

Fill-and-seal is a thick type of driveway sealant that contains aggregate materials, such as crushed stone and gravel, to patch up substantial cracks, holes, and other damage. These are DIY-friendly to apply and last around three years, but they require a finishing coat of regular sealant to top them off.

4. Latex Acrylic Sealers

Latex acrylic sealers are one of the most expensive types of sealant for driveways, but they’re exceptionally durable, non-toxic, and resistant to staining. They can last 5 to 10 years and are UV-resistant to stand up against hotter climates. Aside from the higher cost, their main downside is that they’re difficult to apply for DIY-ers, so you’ll likely need to front the extra cost of hiring a pro.

The Best Concrete Driveway Sealers

Concrete sealing costs an additional $1.50 per square foot or so, but it’s an important step to maximize longevity.  Epoxy or polyurethane sealers can be slippery, so they’re not an ideal pick for driveways. Here are your best options for concrete driveway sealants. 

5. Acrylic Concrete Sealers

Acrylic is the top choice when it comes to concrete sealants for driveways, as it offers the perfect blend of durability and affordability. The best options are virgin and pure acrylic resins, as they’ll last the longest and won’t yellow in direct sunlight.

6. Penetrating Concrete Sealers

Penetrating concrete sealers consist of specialty resins such as silicones, silanes, and siloxanes. These penetrate deep into the concrete, forming a tough chemical barrier against water, oil, and other contaminants, as well as preventing cracks due to freeze-thaw cycles. They can last anywhere from five to ten years depending on their quality, as well as temperature and other environmental factors.

7. Mold-Inhibiting Sealants

Various types of concrete sealants for driveways have mold-inhibiting properties, so they’re worth hunting down if you live in a humid or rainy climate. Mold and mildew can stain your concrete driveway, so this feature is a major plus for areas prone to growing spores.

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