The Best Driveway Sealers of 2022

Protect your driveway from stains, chemicals, and the damage freeze-thaw cycles can cause with the product that best suits your surface.

By Glenda Taylor | Updated Apr 1, 2022 1:10 PM

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The Best Driveway Sealer Options for Asphalt and Concrete

Photo: istockphoto.com

Cracked or stained driveways detract from curb appeal, 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 a driveway can be a simple DIY project.

The best sealer varies depending on the individual driveway’s condition and the reason for sealing it. Read on to learn about the different concrete and asphalt sealers, and find out why the following products are among the best you can buy.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Foundation Armor Penetrating Water Based Sealer
  2. BEST BUDGET: MasonryDefender Concrete Sealer De-Icing Protection
  3. BEST FOR CRACKED ASPHALT: E-Z Stir Driveway Asphalt Filler/Sealer
  4. BEST FAST-DRYING: Gardner Drive Seal Driveway Filler and Sealer
  5. BEST FOR FRESH CONCRETE: Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure and Seal
  6. BEST MOLD-INHIBITING: AQUA-X Penetrating Stone and Concrete Sealer
  7. BEST FOR A WET LOOK: Quikrete Concrete & Masonry High Gloss Sealer
  8. BEST SOLVENT BASED: Foundation Armor Penetrating Solvent Based Sealer
The Best Driveway Sealer Options for Asphalt

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider when Choosing the Best Asphalt Driveway Sealer

It’s hard to beat the aesthetic appeal of an asphalt (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 $0.25 and $0.65 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, it will likely crack.

Asphalt-Based Sealers

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 most homeowners. They are designed to fill cracks and provide a smooth, hard surface that should last up to 6 years 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.

Fill-and-Seal Products

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 should be 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 will last up to 3 years on average.

What to Consider when Choosing the Best 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 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 your concrete surface.

Cure and Seal Products

Cure and seal products for use on concrete are applied as soon the newly poured surface will 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 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 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

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.

Mold Inhibitors

Concrete sealers are available with mold and mildew inhibitors, which is an asset if you live in a rainy or humid region where mold is likely to develop. Both mold and mildew can alter the look of a concrete surface: Mold tends to leave darkened stains, while mildew causes powdery, whitish stains.

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.

Surface Effects

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.

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. 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.

Our Top Picks

The following sealers for concrete and asphalt driveways are all well suited to various needs. 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.

Best Overall

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: Armor Silane Siloxane Penetrating Concrete Sealer
Photo: amazon.com

To reduce the risk of damage or deterioration to concrete caused by moisture and temperature extremes, check out Foundation Armor’s water-based sealer. Two coats, applied with a pump-type sprayer, will 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 175 square feet of concrete, and the whole barrel will 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.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Concrete, brick, and flagstone
  • Coverage: 175 square feet/gallon
  • Finish: Clear matte
  • Ease of Application: Moderate
  • Longevity: Lasts for 7-10 years

Pros

  • Large quantity; covers long or large driveways
  • Protects against salt and moisture damage
  • Resists mold and mildew buildup

Cons

  • Requires multiple coats

Get the Foundation Armor driveway sealer at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best Budget

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: MasonryDefender Concrete Sealer De-Icing Protection
Photo: amazon.com

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 resulting from frequent use of ice melt-type products that can cause cracking or surface peeling. The product comes in a 1-gallon jug and will 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. 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.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Concrete
  • Coverage: 150 square feet/gallon
  • Finish: Clear matte
  • Ease of Application: Easy
  • Longevity: Lasts for up to 5 years

Pros

  • Budget-friendly sealer
  • Protects against chemical damage and moisture
  • Only requires 1 coat

Cons

  • Driveway must be cleaned thoroughly before application

Get the MasonryDefender driveway sealer on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best for Cracked Asphalt

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: E-Z Stir Driveway Asphalt FillerSealer
Photo: amazon.com

For those asphalt driveways that are 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 to dry to the touch. For full curing, wait for 24 to 48 hours.

Luckily, this mixture can be driven on after its 4-hour drying time while the driveway is still curing. Since this 5-gallon filler/sealer applies black, it is best used on up to 500 square feet of asphalt only. The only downside with this option is that the brand does not disclose how long this filler/sealer will last.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Asphalt
  • Coverage: Up to 500 square feet/5 gallons
  • Ease of Application: Easy

Pros

  • 4X rubberized formula for traction and durability
  • Fills cracks up to ⅛ inches wide
  • Dries in 4 hours, fully cures within 48 hours

Cons

  • Unclear how long this filler/sealer lasts

Get the E-Z Stir driveway sealer on Amazon.

Best Fast-Drying

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: Gardner Drive Seal Driveway Filler and Sealer
Photo: homedepot.com

When minimizing downtime is important, this fast-drying asphalt sealer may fill the bill. Gardner Drive Seal can be walked on in as little as 1 hour after application and contains ClimaSeal technology and UV-resistance for added durability.

Water-based and low-VOC, 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.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Asphalt
  • Coverage: 350 square feet/4.75 gallons
  • Finish: Jet black
  • Ease of Application: Moderate
  • Longevity: Lasts for up to 10 years

Pros

  • Water-based, low-VOC formula
  • Acts as a filler and sealer
  • Dries in 1 hour

Cons 

  • Requires multiple coats

Get the Gardner driveway sealer at The Home Depot.

Best for Fresh Concrete

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: Quikrete Acrylic Concrete Cure and Seal
Photo: homedepot.com

New concrete typically requires periodic rewetting to cure properly, but when time is of the essence Quikrete’s Concrete Cure and Seal may be just the ticket. 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 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, and its protective seal will last up to 3 years. But, be advised that this sealer requires 2 coats.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Fresh concrete
  • Coverage: 200 square feet/gallon
  • Finish: Satin
  • Ease of Application: Moderate
  • Longevity: Lasts for up to 3 years

Pros

  • Improves the results of freshly poured concrete
  • Protects against grease, acids, salt, and oils
  • Cured surface resists stains and cracks

Cons

  • Requires multiple coats; may not be enough for large driveways

Get the Quikrete driveway sealer at The Home Depot and Walmart.

Best Mold-Inhibiting

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: AQUA-X Penetrating Stone and Concrete Sealer
Photo: amazon.com

Fortified with mold and mildew inhibitors, AQUA-X Clear Penetrating Sealer is a smart choice for those living in rainy or humid regions. Two coats, sprayed or rolled on, will stave off mold and mildew. The product, which provides a clear, natural finish, also protects concrete from freeze-thaw cycles.

For those looking for an eco-friendly, low-VOC sealer, AQUA-X is a solid choice. The 1-gallon size of this solvent-free sealer covers up to 500 square feet to protect a driveway, or can be used as a masonry sealer, for up to 5 years.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Concrete, stone, slate, brick, unglazed tile, pavers, and patio
  • Coverage: 500 square feet/gallon
  • Finish: Clear matte
  • Ease of Application: Moderate
  • Longevity: Lasts for up to 5 years

Pros

  • Eco-friendly, low-VOC sealer
  • Ideal for rainy and humid climates
  • Protects against mold, mildew, and freeze-thaw weathering

Cons

  • Requires multiple coats
  • Should not be applied in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Get the AQUA-X driveway sealer at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Best for a Wet Look

The Best Driveway Sealer Option: Quikrete Concrete & Masonry High Gloss Sealer
Photo: homedepot.com

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 de-icing 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.

1 gallon of the water-based, low-VOC sealer covers up to 400 square feet and protection will likely last 5 years. Plus, this sealer can be used for exterior and interior projects or as a masonry sealer.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Concrete, pavers, masonry, brick, and natural stone
  • Coverage: 400 square feet/gallon
  • Finish: High gloss
  • Ease of Application: Moderate
  • Longevity: Lasts for up to 5 years

Pros

  • Water-based, low-VOC formula
  • Repels gasoline, oil, salts, grease, food stains, and household chemicals
  • Can be used for interior and exterior projects

Cons

  • Requires multiple coats
  • Acids may tarnish this seal

Get the Quikrete driveway sealer on Amazon and at Walmart.

Best Solvent Based

Foundation Armor Penetrating Concrete Sealer
Photo: amazon.com

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 de-icing chemicals, salts, stains, and freeze-thaw cycles.

This Foundation Armor sealer won’t change the appearance of the driveway or leave a film. A gallon covers up to 200 square feet and the 2 recommended coats can be applied with either a sprayer or a paint roller.

Product Specs 

  • Surface Compatibility: Concrete, brick chimneys, stone walls, and pool decks
  • Coverage: 200 square feet/gallon
  • Finish: Clear matte
  • Ease of Application: Moderate
  • Longevity: Lasts for 7-10 years

Pros

  • Suitable for cold climates
  • Resists de-icing chemicals, salts, stains, and freeze-thaw weathering
  • Can be used for interior and exterior projects

Cons

  • Requires multiple coats

Get the Foundation Armor driveway sealer at Amazon, The Home Depot, and Walmart.

Our Verdict

Foundation Armor water-based sealer is one of the best penetrating formulas for concrete, brick, and flagstone driveways. With its ample 5-gallon size, this treatment is suitable for large concrete driveways of up to 435 square feet and lasts for an impressive 7-10 years.

If you only need something to fix the cracks in your asphalt driveway, E-Z Stir filler/sealer is a worthy option. The effective formula fills cracks up to ⅛ inches wide. With its 5-gallon quantity, you can cover surfaces up to 500 square feet. For added convenience, this pick dries to the touch in just 4 hours and fully cures within 48 hours.

How We Chose the Best Driveway Sealers

Whether you are looking for a concrete or asphalt sealer, weather, oil, gasoline, and ice-melt products can tarnish your driveway giving it a shabby look. Selections for the best driveway sealers available today depended upon compatibility with different surfaces, quantity, durability, ease of application, and longevity.

Though most of the top sealers 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 above 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 200 square feet.

Resistance to oils, gasoline, salt, ice-melt products, and other common stains is also a valuable asset in many sealers. As for application, most picks above require 2 coats for ample durability. But, with these multiple coats comes ample longevity of 5-10 years.

Tips for Using Driveway Sealer

Before you try to apply your driveway sealer, learning how to clean a driveway before sealing and the right way to apply it is important. For most sealing applications, make sure that your driveway is in the best condition possible before sealing, including filling in cracks or holes. You should also scrub your driveway before applying any sealers to make sure no materials become trapped underneath. Here are a few tips to consider before applying your 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 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.

FAQs 

Still have some lingering queries on driveway sealers? See answers to some common user questions below.

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, while “asphalt” is used more often to describe roads and highways.

Q: What is the difference between driveway sealers?

Different driveway sealers address a variety of issues and are suited to different surfaces. They contain different 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: 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 concrete sealer should I use?

There are several variables to consider when choosing the right concrete sealer for a project. As a general rule, sealing concrete driveways should be done penetrating sealers, indoor floors with acrylic sealers, and concrete countertops with either epoxy sealer or polyurethane sealer.