A concrete driveway is a big investment, making protection of that investment a priority. One highly rated provider explains how to choose the right products.
It used to be that concrete driveways were almost twice as expensive as asphalt ones. As asphalt is a petroleum-based product, those prices are now not so far apart as they once were.
Asphalt will generally last about 20 years if cared for properly (sealing it every two to three years in the proper way) and concrete, with sealing care (seal once to several times after installation), can last up to 50. After crunching the numbers, many homeowners have begun to see concrete as the obvious choice for their driveways.
Protection after such an expense is the next order of business. To seal concrete, there are many sealing products out there and a lot of various chemicals and ingredients that make this project just short of a guessing game.
A lot of factors affect the choice one makes, including: whether the driveway is parked on or just driven on, whether salt or non-salt products are used for icy conditions, whether the driveway is shaded by trees or in open sun, whether temperature range from the geographic area is wide or narrow in scope (freeze-thaw cycles and depth of temperature spikes), whether it has been sealed before with any type of sealer and the final look wanted for the concrete (light or darker color), whether it has been repaired before sealer application, or even whether any chemical has been spilled on it.
The prices range widely as well, from double-digit figures to triple. We recommend purchasing any sealer from a concrete product specialist company as opposed to a local hardware store.
The reason is that the professionals there can help with the choices based on your specific driveway needs. Hardware stores carry some products but not the many types like a specialty store. The hardware store will carry more affordable products that are simpler to apply and safer to use, although they often do not last as long or hold up as well as the more expensive, specialized brands.
There are latex sealers, penetrating sealers, curing and sealing compounds, topical sealers and special sealers just for stamped concrete, to name a few. We also recommend checking with the professional that installed the concrete if there is question as to which sealer has been already applied or which sealer has yet to be applied.
About this Experts Contributor: Pam Frank represents Frank Builders Concrete Co., providing concrete driveways in Cincinnati. Since 1986, Frank Builders Concrete has specialized in concrete flatwork, steps, porches, patios, sidewalks, stamped concrete and much more.
As of May 29, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.