Wintertime can be especially harsh on concrete driveways. Water from rain and melting snow can seep into the pores of the concrete where it can turn into ice. When water turns into ice it expands, and this can cause the concrete in the driveway to break apart to the point where you'll need to replace it. If you are planning on putting in a new driveway in the spring once the weather warms up, you should also apply a concrete sealer to the driveway to create a barrier to keep the water and moisture from sinking into the pores in the concrete. Here is how to seal a brand new concrete driveway to help it withstand the ravages of Mother Nature.
Step One: Allow the Concrete to Cure
You should wait until the concrete cures before you start walking all over it to apply a coat of concrete sealer. Average curing times can range from 3 to 7 days – depending on the weather conditions at the time the concrete was poured or the driveway.
Step Two: Sweep Driveway
Use a push broom to sweep all the dirt and debris off of the driveway before you apply the sealer. If you have started using the driveway before you have had a chance to seal it, make sure you remove any grease or oil deposits from the driveway.
The easiest way to remove the grease and oil is with a power washer. You can rent a power washer at most local hardware stores – make sure you get one that can handle hot water. Connect the power washer to a hot water supply and put a degreaser in the detergent bottle.
Spray the degreaser onto the grease and oils. Allow the degreaser to sit for a few minutes to give it time to penetrate the grease and oil. Then spray the area with hot water and allow the driveway to dry.
Step Three: Apply Sealer
Start at one end of the driveway. Pour the sealer into a hand or back sprayer. Walk around while spraying an even coat of sealer all over the driveway. Allow the coat of sealer to dry.
The drying time varies for the type of sealer you are using. Basic sealers usually take up to 3 hours to dry, but if you are using a penetrating or a topical sealer that provides a deeper long-lasting coverage to protect the driveway, the drying time can last for a couple of days.
You can tell when a sealer has dried by touching the surface of the driveway with your finger. If the sealer is still tacky, you'll need to wait a little longer.
Apply a second coat of sealer once the first coat has dried. You can open the driveway up for regular usage once the second coat dries. If you don't feel comfortable taking care of your own driveway, contact a business, such as Home Outdoor.