The Best Driveway Sealer for Asphalt and Concrete Surfaces
Protect your driveway from stains, chemicals, and damage from freeze/thaw cycles with the product that best suits your surface.
A cracked or stained driveway can not only detract from curb appeal, but it can also make your entire house look dated and drab. So it makes sense to treat your hardscape—be it concrete or asphalt—with the best driveway sealer to protect the surface from freeze/thaw cycles, chemicals, and harsh UV rays. While installing a driveway is a job for the pros, sealing one can be a simple DIY project.
Read on to learn about the different concrete and asphalt sealers and why we’ve chosen the following six as the best options for all types of driveway situations.
- BEST DRIVEWAY SEALER FOR CRACKED ASPHALT: Latex-ite Sand Mix Driveway Filler Sealer
- BEST FAST-DRYING ASPHALT SEALER: Gardner Max Blacktop Sealer
- BEST DRIVEWAY SEALER FOR FRESH CONCRETE: Quikrete Concrete Cure and Seal
- BEST MOLD-INHIBITING CONCRETE DRIVEWAY SEALER: AQUA-X Penetrating Concrete Sealer
- BEST DRIVEWAY SEALER FOR A WET CONCRETE LOOK: Quikrete Concrete and Masonry High Gloss Sealer
- BEST PENETRATING CONCRETE DRIVEWAY SEALER: Foundation Armor Clear Concrete Sealer
Choosing the Right Asphalt Driveway Sealer
It’s hard to beat the aesthetic appeal of an asphalt (blacktop) driveway, but over time the material can develop spider web cracks and low spots. Left untreated, these issues can lead to larger problems such as potholes. Asphalt sealers offer a variety of benefits; expect to pay between $0.25 and $0.65 per square foot for either coal tar or asphalt-based sealer (explained below).
- 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. They can effectively seal and recoat asphalt driveways for up to five years, but because they contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical masks should be worn during application. Coal tar sealers are not considered environmentally friendly, and some states and communities have banned their use; because of that, we don’t recommend applying coal tar sealers.
- Asphalt-based sealers: As durable as coal tar sealers, asphalt sealers are comprised mainly of asphalt cement and emit fewer toxic fumes, making them a popular choice for most homeowners. An application should last up to six years before requiring recoating.
- Plain sealer: Plain asphalt driveway sealer is a thick black liquid comprised of either coal tar or asphalt cement, and is generally applied with a heavy-duty paint roller. It’s intended for use on a driveway that’s in relatively good shape—no potholes or sinkholes. Plain sealers do not contain sand, so they cannot fill holes or cracks; these should be patched and/or filled (see below) before applying plain sealer.
- Fill and seal products: These sealers contain sand, or a sand-like ingredient, that fills cracks up to ⅛-inch-wide while it’s spread onto the existing driveway with a utility broom or driveway squeegee. It leaves behind a textured, non-skid surface. Potholes and cracks wider than ⅛-inch should be filled with an asphalt patching product before applying a fill and seal product.
Choosing the Right Concrete Driveway Sealer
A good concrete sealer will stave off stains and discoloration from chemicals and rust, and also minimize the damage that can occur due to freeze/thaw cycles. Concrete is porous, so when ice or snow melts and then refreezes, expanding and stressing the surface, flaking 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 porosity of the concrete). Here are some points to consider when selecting a product for your concrete surface.
- Cure and seal products: These sealers are designed to be applied to new concrete as soon as it will bear weight to help it retain moisture and thereby cure more slowly, promoting a harder, more durable surface. The standard method of curing is to wet new concrete down 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 three years, is the next best thing.
- Penetrating sealers: The most common type of concrete sealer, penetrating sealer should not be applied before new concrete is completely cured, at least 28 days. A single application can last from five 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 top layer of the concrete, bonding with the surface to keep water, stains, and chemicals from penetrating.
- Mold inhibitors: Concrete sealers are available with mold and mildew inhibitors, an asset if you live in a rainy or humid region where mold is likely to develop.
- Surface effects: Specialty penetrating concrete sealers can add various levels of sheen, including satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. Overdyed concrete, gloss sealers will enhance the color of the concrete while offering an interesting “wet look.”
- Application methods: The simplest way to apply most concrete sealers is with a regular garden-type sprayer. A paint roller or a large driveway squeegee is also usable and sometimes recommended.
Our Top Picks
We’ve chosen the following six driveway sealers (four for concrete and two for asphalt) based on ratings and reviews from actual consumers. Coverage varies by product, and if you want to apply two coats, which is recommended for some of the sealers, be sure to purchase enough to coat the driveway twice.
1. BEST DRIVEWAY SEALER FOR CRACKED ASPHALT: Latex-ite Sand Mix Driveway Filler Sealer ($16.84 per 4.75 gallons)
To fill small cracks (up to ⅛-inch) while adding a protective sealant to asphalt driveways, look no further than Latex-ite Sand Mix Driveway Filler Sealer. The 4.75-gallon pail covers up to 400 square feet and should be applied with a driveway squeegee. The product contains no coal tar and is low VOC, so no worries about nasty fumes. Home Depot buyers give the Latex-ite sealer 4.4 stars for its ability to smooth over and camouflage hairline cracks and provide a good-looking, durable, non-skid surface. An application of two coats lasts up to five years. Available from The Home Depot.
2. BEST FAST-DRYING ASPHALT SEALER: Gardner Max Blacktop Sealer ($37.40 per 4.75 gallons)
To minimize downtime, consider this fast-drying asphalt sealer—you’ll be able to walk on your driveway in as little as one hour after application. Water-based and low-VOC, Gardner Max Blacktop Sealer comes in an easy-to-spread gel that should be applied with a driveway squeegee. The 4.75-gallon pail will cover up to 350 square feet, with two thin coats providing a beautiful jet-black protective finish that lasts up to five years. Home Depot buyers award the sealer 4.2 stars for its quick dry time and for its long-lasting finish. Available from The Home Depot.
3. BEST DRIVEWAY SEALER FOR FRESH CONCRETE: Quikrete Concrete Cure and Seal ($28.80 per gallon)
Get your new driveway off to a great start with Quikrete’s Concrete Cure and Seal. Apply with a roller or a sprayer to green (fresh) concrete as soon as it hardens enough to bear weight (usually within a couple of hours after installation). 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. Home Depot buyers give Cure and Seal 4.3 stars for ease of application and its ability to repel both water and stains. One gallon of Cure and Seal covers up to 200 square feet and its protective seal will last up to three years. Available from The Home Depot.
4. BEST MOLD-INHIBITING CONCRETE DRIVEWAY SEALER: AQUA-X Penetrating Concrete Sealer ($59 per gallon)
Fortified with mold and mildew inhibitors, AQUA-X Clear Penetrating Sealer is a smart choice if you live in a rainy or humid region. Two coats stave off mold and mildew, provide a clear, natural finish, and protect concrete from water and freeze/thaw cycles for up to five years. Solvent-free AQUA-X is an eco-friendly, low VOC sealer (so no worry about toxic fumes) and one gallon, sprayed or rolled on, covers up to 500 square feet. Amazon buyers award the sealer 4.2 stars, saying water “beads up” after a rain instead of soaking into the concrete. Available from Amazon.
5. BEST DRIVEWAY SEALER FOR A WET CONCRETE LOOK: Quikrete Concrete and Masonry High Gloss Sealer ($27.53 per gallon)
Perfect for stamped concrete driveways when a wet look is desired, Quikrete Concrete and Masonry High Gloss Sealer imparts a glossy sheen plus protection from oil and grease spills, chemical de-icing products, and food stains. One gallon of the water-based, low-VOC sealer covers up to 400 square feet. For best results and a high-gloss finish, apply two coats with a high-density foam roller. The sealer earns 4.1 stars from Amazon buyers who love how the glossy effect enriches colored concrete and gives stamped driveways a beautiful wet look that lasts up to five years—just be aware that spilled acids may cause dulling. Available from Amazon.
6. BEST PENETRATING CONCRETE DRIVEWAY SEALER: Foundation Armor Clear Concrete Sealer ($224.75 per five gallons)
Solvent-based Foundation Armor SX5000 Clear Concrete Sealer offers driveway protection you can count on—even in cold climates. A single coat of this penetrating sealer forms a durable bond with the driveway surface, protecting it for seven to 10 years from damage caused by de-icing chemicals, salts, stains, and freeze/thaw cycles. The SX5000 won’t change the appearance of your driveway or leave a film, and one gallon covers up to 200 square feet. The sealer can be applied with either a sprayer or a paint roller. Amazon buyers give the SX5000 4.6 out of five stars for ease of application and superior water-shedding ability. Available from Amazon.