Cracked or stained driveways detract from curb appeal, so keeping your driveway looking its best can help protect the investment in your home. By treating your driveway with the best driveway sealer, you can protect the surface from freeze-thaw cycles, chemicals, and harsh UV rays.
While installing a driveway is a job for the pros, sealing a driveway that’s concrete or asphalt can be a simple DIY project. The best sealer will vary depending on the individual driveway’s condition and the reason for sealing it. Plus, some driveways sealers can also be used with other driveway surfaces like pavers, flagstone, and masonry.
Read on to learn about concrete and asphalt sealers, and find out why the following products are among the best you can buy.
- BEST OVERALL: Foundation Armor SX5000WB Concrete & Masonry Sealer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: MasonryDefender Concrete Driveway Sealer
- BEST FOR CRACKED ASPHALT: Henry E-Z Stir Asphalt Filler & Sealer
- BEST FAST-DRYING: Gardner Drive Seal 10 Driveway Filler Sealer
- BEST FOR FRESH CONCRETE: Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure & Seal
- BEST MOLD-INHIBITING: GhostShield Siloxa-Tek 8505 Concrete/Masonry Sealer
- BEST FOR A WET LOOK: Quikrete Concrete & Masonry High Gloss Sealer
- BEST SOLVENT-BASED: Foundation Armor SX5000 Concrete & Masonry Sealer
How We Chose the Best Driveway Sealers
Weather, oil, gasoline, and ice-melt products can tarnish a driveway, giving it a shabby look. Selections for our Top Picks of the best driveway sealers on the market depended upon compatibility with different surfaces, value per quantity, durability, ease of application, and longevity.
Though most of the sealers listed above are made for asphalt or concrete driveways, some are also compatible with other surfaces like brick, flagstone, pavers, masonry, and more. Some are also safe for indoor projects like basement flooring.
Sealers featured on the list also come in quantities of up to 5 gallons to cover areas of up to 500 square feet. For smaller driveways, there are also 1-gallon quantities available that can cover about 200 square feet.
Resistance to oils, gasoline, salt, ice-melt products, and other common stains is also a valuable asset in many top sealers. As for application, most of our picks require two coats for ample durability. But, with these multiple coats comes ample longevity of 5 to 10 years.
Our Top Picks
The following sealers for concrete and asphalt driveways are all well suited to various needs. Coverage varies by product. For users who want to apply the recommended two coats for some of the sealers, be sure to purchase enough to coat the driveway twice.
To reduce the risk of damage or deterioration to a concrete driveway caused by moisture and temperature extremes, check out Foundation Armor’s water-based sealer. Two coats, applied with a pump sprayer, can protect the surface for 7 to 10 years without changing the look of the driveway. This sealer is suitable for use on brick and flagstone surfaces as well as concrete. Plus, it is resistant to moisture, salt, and mildew.
The Foundation Armor sealer comes in a 5-gallon container. One gallon will cover up to 175 square feet of porous surfaces and up to 225 square feet of smooth surfaces, and the whole barrel can treat approximately 435 square feet with two complete coats. The sealer will not make the driveway surface slick and it applies with a clear, matte, and natural look.
- Surface compatibility: Concrete, brick, and flagstone
- Coverage: Up to 175 to 225 square feet/gallon
- Finish: Natural
- Large quantity; easily covers long or large driveways
- Protects against salt and moisture damage
- Resists mold and mildew buildup; great for most outdoor environments
- Requires multiple coats for best results; can be quite time-consuming
Get the Foundation Armor SX5000WB driveway sealer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
For robust, comprehensive protection against weather-related damage, such as cracking and pitting, consider MasonryDefender Concrete Sealer. This affordable sealer also protects concrete against chemical damage caused from frequent use of ice melt-type products that can lead to cracking or surface peeling. The 1-gallon jug can treat up to 150 square feet of concrete.
For the best results, the driveway must first be thoroughly cleaned to remove dirt, dust, and spills. (The brand recommends using its All Purpose Masonry & Concrete Cleaner.) Apply a single coat of MasonryDefender with a pump-type sprayer. A second coat isn’t necessary to create a water- and chemical-resistant surface that will protect the driveway for up to 5 years.
- Surface compatibility: Concrete
- Coverage: 90 to 150 square feet/gallon
- Finish: Clear matte
- Budget-friendly sealer compared to similar options
- Protects against chemical damage and moisture
- Only requires 1 coat; simple application with relative quick 6-hour dry time
- Driveway must be cleaned thoroughly before application
- Must wait 24 hours before driving on the surface
- Air temperature needs to be between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 hours after application
Get the MasonryDefender driveway sealer at Amazon or Walmart.
For an asphalt driveway that is prone to cracking, this E-Z Stir filler/sealer can be a quick and permanent solution. This 4X rubberized formula enhances traction and durability while filling cracks up to ⅛-inch wide. Simply mix and apply one coat with a squeegee or brush, then wait 4 hours for it to dry to the touch. For full curing, wait for 24 to 48 hours before driving on the surface.
Since this 5-gallon asphalt sealer/filler is black, it is best used on up to 500 square feet of asphalt (blacktop) only. The only downside with this option is that the brand does not disclose how long this filler/sealer will last.
- Surface compatibility: Asphalt
- Coverage: Up to 500 square feet/5 gallons
- Finish: Black
- 4X rubberized formula provides traction and durability
- Can fill small cracks up to ⅛-inch wide
- 4-hour quick-drying formula; fully cures within 48 hours
- Color will only blend with asphalt (blacktop) surfaces
- Store where it cannot freeze or be reached by children
Get the Henry driveway sealer at Ace Hardware.
When reducing downtime is important, this fast-drying asphalt sealer can be an excellent choice. Gardner Drive Seal can be walked on in as little as 1 hour after application and driven on after 24 to 48 hours. It contains UV inhibitors for added durability.
Water-based and low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), it has an easy-to-spread gel formula that can be applied with a driveway squeegee. The 4.75-gallon pail will cover up to 350 square feet with two thin coats, providing a jet-black protective finish that lasts up to 10 years.
- Surface compatibility: Asphalt
- Coverage: 350 square feet/4.75 gallons
- Finish: Jet black
- Water-based low-VOC formula is easy to spread
- Acts as a both a filler and sealer
- Dries in just 1 hour; can take light foot traffic before fully curing in 24 to 48 hours
- Requires multiple coats for best-looking results
- Driveway must be at least 6 months old before applying this product
- Air temperature needs to be between 45 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit
Get the Gardner driveway sealer at The Home Depot.
New concrete typically requires periodic rewetting to cure properly. However, Quikrete’s concrete cure and seal may be just the ticket when time is of the essence. Apply this acrylic sealer with a roller or a sprayer to fresh concrete as soon as it hardens enough to bear weight (usually within a few hours after applying). After application, this acrylic sealer will protect against grease, acids, salt, and oils.
Cure and Seal dries to a soft, satin finish and protects fresh concrete from drying out too quickly, reducing the risk of cracking and flaking. Once cured, the driveway will be better able to stave off stains and cracks. A 1-gallon container of this acrylic sealer covers up to 200 square feet, but be advised that this sealer requires 2 coats.
- Surface compatibility: Fresh concrete
- Coverage: 200 square feet/gallon
- Finish: Satin
- Improves the results of freshly poured concrete and protects existing concrete
- Protects against grease, acids, salt, and oils; ideal for busy driveways
- Easy to apply; cured surface resists future stains and cracks
- Requires multiple coats; may not be enough for large driveways
Get the Quikrete acrylic driveway sealer at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
Fortified with mold and mildew inhibitors, the GhostShield sealer is a smart choice for those living in rainy or humid regions. Two coats that are sprayed, brushed, or rolled on will stave off mold and mildew. When dry, it provides a natural finish. It also protects concrete from freeze-thaw cycles.
For those looking for an eco-friendly low-VOC sealer, GhostShield is a solid choice. The 1-gallon size of this water-based sealer is enough to cover two coats on a 67.5-square-foot area. The surface is ready for foot and vehicle traffic after about 24 hours. After the full recommended 14- to 28-day curing period, the driveway surface should be waterproof; resist oil and grease stains; and prevent mold, mildew, or lichen from forming.
- Surface compatibility: Concrete pavers, decorative concrete, bare concrete
- Coverage: 200 square feet/gallon with 2 coats
- Finish: Natural
- Eco-friendly low-VOC sealer can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed on easily
- Stain- and water-resistant finish also protects against UV rays
- Protects against mold, mildew, and freeze-thaw weathering
- Long curing period; can take up to 28 days for full protection to kick in
Get the GhostShield driveway sealer at The Home Depot or GhostShield.
To obtain a wet look on a stamped concrete driveway, check out Quikrete Concrete & Masonry High Gloss Sealer. This product imparts a glossy sheen plus ample protection from oil and grease spills, chemical deicing products, and most food stains. For best results and a high-gloss finish, apply two coats with a high-density foam roller; just be aware that spilled acids may cause dulling.
The 1-gallon water-based low-VOC sealer covers up to 400 square feet. Plus, this sealer can be used for exterior and interior projects or as a masonry sealer.
- Surface compatibility: Exposed-aggregate concrete, stone, and pavers
- Coverage: Up to 400 square feet/gallon
- Finish: High gloss
- Water-based low-VOC formula applies easily without bad odors
- Repels gasoline, oil, salts, grease, food stains, and household chemicals
- Versatile; can be used for interior and exterior projects
- Requires multiple coats for an effective gloss finish
- Certain acids may tarnish this seal
Get the Quikrete high-gloss driveway sealer at Amazon or The Home Depot.
This solvent-based Foundation Armor sealer offers dependable driveway protection even in cold climates. A single coat of this penetrating sealer forms a durable bond with the surface, protecting it for 7 to 10 years from damage caused by deicing chemicals, salts, stains, and freeze-thaw cycles.
This Foundation Armor sealer won’t change the appearance of the driveway or leave a film. One gallon covers up to 225 square feet and the two recommended coats can be applied with either a sprayer or a paint roller. However, the brand recommends a solvent-resistant high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) pump sprayer for application.
- Surface compatibility: Concrete, brick, stone, and masonry
- Coverage: 175 to 225 square feet/gallon
- Finish: Natural
- Temperature-stable formula is suitable for cold climates
- Resists de-icing chemicals, salts, stains, and freeze-thaw weathering
- Can be used for interior and exterior projects; great versatility
- Cannot be applied over any existing sealers, paints, or coatings
- Recommends a solvent-resistant HVLP pump sprayer for application
Get the Foundation Armor SX5000 driveway sealer at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
What to Consider when Choosing a Concrete Driveway Sealer
A good concrete driveway sealer will stave off stains and discoloration from chemicals and rust and will also minimize the damage that can occur due to freeze-thaw cycles. Concrete is porous, so water can settle in the pores. Then, when ice or snow melts and refreezes, it expands and stresses the surface.
In response, flaking can happen and cracks can eventually appear. Expect to pay from $0.15 to $0.70 per square foot for concrete sealer; cost is determined by coverage per square foot and the concrete’s porosity. Here are some points to consider when selecting a product for a concrete surface.
Types of Asphalt Driveway Sealer
It’s hard to beat the aesthetic appeal of xasphalt (blacktop) driveway, but the material can develop spider web cracks and low spots over time. Left untreated, these issues can lead to larger problems such as potholes. Expect to pay between $0.06 and $0.38 per square foot for asphalt sealers.
There are several types of concrete sealers from which to choose, including coal tar, asphalt-based, plain surface, and fill and seal.
Coal Tar Sealers
These standard sealers have been used on asphalt driveways and streets for decades. True to their name, they’re made from coal tar, a sticky black substance derived from bituminous coal. Coal tar goes on as a syrupy, black liquid and then forms a tough surface on asphalt known as a “sealcoat.” Application is not a DIY project, as it requires industrial equipment that heats the tar to liquefy it.
Coal tar sealers can effectively fill small cracks, seal, and recoat asphalt driveways with a protective coating that lasts up to 4 years. These sealers contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so chemical masks and protective clothing are required during application.
Coal tar sealers are not considered environmentally friendly, and some states and communities have banned their use. A driveway resurfaced with coal tar sealer may emit a tar-like odor for months. Though a coal tar sealer will become very hard and protective, it isn’t flexible once it cures; this means rather than expanding and contracting with changing temperatures, it will likely crack.
As durable as coal tar sealers, asphalt-based sealers are composed mainly of asphalt cement and emit fewer toxic fumes, making them a popular choice for home use. They are designed to fill cracks and provide a smooth, hard surface that lasts up to 6 years (in typical conditions) before requiring recoating.
Asphalt-based sealers, which contain the same ingredients present in the original asphalt driveway, can be applied by a professional driveway resurfacing crew as well as a knowledgeable DIYer, as there’s no special heating equipment required. Like a coal tar sealer, an asphalt-based sealer creates a hard, durable surface, but it expands and contracts slightly with temperature variations, so it won’t crack as easily.
Plain Surface Sealer
Plain asphalt driveway sealers are usually made of thick black liquid that is generally applied with a heavy-duty paint roller, making it a fairly DIY-friendly project. It’s intended for use on a driveway that’s in relatively good shape, with no potholes or sinkholes. Plain sealers do not contain sand, so they don’t fill holes or cracks, which should be patched or filled (see below) before applying plain sealer.
The product often contains fine silica powder that produces a textured, nonslip surface. Some plain sealers are low-VOC, meaning they create minimal, if any, noxious fumes. A surface sealer offers an added layer of protection that can last up to 3 years.
These sealers contain sand, or sand-like ingredients, that fill cracks up to ⅛-inch wide when spread onto the existing driveway with a utility broom or driveway squeegee. Crack filler products leave behind a textured, nonskid surface. Potholes and cracks wider than ⅛-inch are filled with an asphalt patching product before applying a fill-and-seal product.
Fill-and-seal products for asphalt surfaces are DIY-friendly, and they are often available in low-VOC formulations. A coating can last up to 3 years on average.
Cure and Seal Products
Cure and seal products (for use on concrete) are applied as soon as the newly poured surface is able to bear weight. They help concrete retain moisture and thereby cure more slowly, promoting a harder, more durable surface. The standard method of curing is to wet new concrete thoroughly multiple times a day for a week. When that’s not feasible, a cure and seal product, which protects the driveway for up to 3 years, is a reasonable alternative.
The formula of a cure and seal product is a clear liquid that can be brushed or sprayed over the new concrete’s surface in a thin, even coat. Though fairly DIY-friendly, these products are not designed to prevent concrete from staining or cracking. Their sole purpose is to help the new concrete cure slowly.
Penetrating sealers—the most common type of concrete sealer—should not be applied before new concrete is completely cured, which is at least 28 days. A single application can last from 5 to 10 years, based on quality, weather conditions, and the manufacturer’s suggestion. Penetrating sealers, which may be solvent-based or water-based (the more eco-friendly choice), soak into the concrete’s top layer and bond with the surface to keep water, stains, and chemicals from penetrating.
Penetrating sealers bond with the particles in the porous concrete surface to prevent stains and keep water from soaking in, which reduces the risk of cracking due to freezing. Depending on the product, a penetrating sealer can be sprayed or poured on and then spread evenly with a squeegee or brush.
Both mold and mildew can alter the look of a concrete surface: Mold tends to leave darkened stains, while mildew causes powdery, whitish stains. Concrete sealers are available with mold and mildew inhibitors, which is an asset in rainy or humid regions where mold is most likely to develop.
Before applying a concrete sealer that prevents mold or mildew, any existing staining must be removed. This typically involves scrubbing with a brush and a mold-removing product that contains bleach or detergent.
Specialty penetrating concrete sealers can add various levels of sheen, including satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. On overdyed concrete, gloss sealers will enhance the color of the concrete while offering an attractive “wet look.” For the best results, apply a surface effect sealer over new concrete that has been cured for 28 days. For existing concrete, clean the surface thoroughly to remove stains and dirt before using a penetrating sealer.
The simplest way to apply most concrete sealers is with a regular garden-type sprayer. A paint roller or a large driveway squeegee are alternative application tools, and sometimes recommended.
When applying a sealer to a concrete driveway, treat the entire surface all at once, without starting and stopping. Should a partial coat of sealer dry and more product be applied later, overlap lines may be visible on the finished surface.
Tips for Using Driveway Sealer
Before trying to apply a driveway sealer, it is important to learn how to clean a driveway and how to apply the sealer correctly. For most sealing applications, make sure that the driveway is in the best condition possible before sealing, including filling in cracks or holes. It’s also important to scrub the driveway before applying any sealers to make sure no materials become trapped underneath. Here are a few tips to consider before applying driveway sealer.
- When cleaning a driveway before applying sealer, it’s best to get the driveway as clean as possible. Scrub with a detergent or stain remover to banish evidence of spills, and follow up with a power washer to deep clean dirt from the surface. For the best results, make any necessary driveway repairs before applying a sealer.
- While applying sealer, note that concrete sealer options can be applied with a pump-type sprayer. If puddling occurs, use a large push broom or squeegee to distribute the liquid evenly. Some asphalt sealers can be spread with a squeegee or rolled on with a heavy-duty paint roller.
Now that you know more about driveway sealers for asphalt and concrete, there may be a few new or lingering questions. Below are answers to some of the most popular questions asked about driveway sealers. If you still have questions, consult the maker of the product you are considering using.
Q. What is the difference between driveway sealers?
Different driveway sealers address a variety of issues and are suited to specific surfaces. They contain a variety of ingredients based on whether the driveway is concrete or asphalt and whether the intent is to protect a new surface, repair a damaged surface, or fill cracks.
Q. What is the best driveway sealer to use?
The Best Overall pick in the lineup, Foundation Armor SX5000WB Concrete & Masonry Sealer, is a good option for most concrete driveways.
Q. What is the best type of blacktop sealer?
For those in need of blacktop sealer, Henry E-Z Stir Asphalt Filler & Sealer does double duty—it helps fill cracks up to ⅛-inch wide, and it also provides an attractive driveway coating.
Q. Is oil or water-based driveway sealer better?
Both of these product types have pros and cons. Oil-based sealers (used on asphalt) can take days to dry and are more likely to create disagreeable fumes, but they provide a very durable surface. Water-based sealers dry quickly and create fewer fumes, but they are often limited to use on concrete only.
Q. What is the difference between blacktop and asphalt?
The terms are pretty much interchangeable, although in some areas, the term “blacktop” is used mainly for residential driveways and parking lots, while “asphalt” is used more often to describe roads and highways.
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