There is a common misconception that concrete does not need any TLC. How often have you seen yellowing concrete, chipping or breaking? It gives the whole appearance a shabby and rundown look. Understandably, this may not be a big deal when it comes to the driveway, but when you are talking about walkways, pool patios, or decorative stone, it can ruin the whole look.
This is where we come in! Using a concrete sealer can dramatically affect how your exterior and interior concrete is going to appear. A good sealer will protect it from things like water damage, freeze and thaw damage, UV rays, and much more. Since many people do not know where to start when it comes to sealers in general, we have rated the 10 best brands out there.
Follow along to get the stats on application, wear time, protection, finish, and much more. We will also let you know which options are toxic, eco-friendly, and the formulas that need more than once coat. As a bonus, we will give you some extra info on how to pick the best sealer for your home in our buyer’s guide.
|300 sq. ft.||4.85/5|
|Ghostshield Siloxa-Tek Penetrating|
|1250 sq. ft.||4.70/5|
|Foundation Armor Solvent|
|200 sq. ft.||4.65/5|
|EnduraSeal Gloss||500 sq. ft.||4.30/5|
|DryWay Water-repellant||200 sq. ft.||4.15/5|
Our number one choice is the ToughCrete concrete sealer. You can use this on walkways, driveways, garage floors, and any other concrete, brick, or stone substrates. It works on horizontal and vertical projects, so you can apply it to chimneys and cement walls as well.
This sealer is a water repellent and protects from salt damage, mold, mildew, UV rays, spalling, cracking, and many other damaging problems. Though it is a tough protectant, it is still eco-friendly, non-toxic, non-flammable, and contains no VOCs. The one-gallon bucket will cover up to 600 square feet and dries in a short time frame.
You will also have the ease of application with this product. The one-gallon sealant is mixed with two gallons of water and can be applied with either a roller, paintbrush, or sprayer. This material has a natural no gloss finish that is not slippery when wet. You have a 10-year warranty, plus it is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This easy to apply long-lasting option is our top concrete sealer pick of 2020.
If you have a smaller area that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, this next option is an affordable sealer with some great benefits. The Ghostshield is a water-based silane/siloxane protector that is resistant to salt and freeze/thaw damage. You will also have protection from spalling cracking, mold, mildew, and of course protection from water damage.
You can use the sealer on any concrete or masonry substrates although it is only meant for horizontal surfaces. On the other hand, you can cover 250 square feet with a single gallon, and there is no mixing required. The application is easy to use with a sprayer, roller, or paintbrush, and it has no VOCs and low-odor.
There are a couple of things to be aware of, however. To begin, it doesn’t protect against oil, nor is it non-toxic or non-flammable. Conversely, it does dry down clear within a few hours, and it is approved by the Department of Transportation. All said and done, Ghostshield is the best concrete sealer for the money.
Moving on, we have a solvent-based acrylic sealer. This option is our premium choice, so it is a little more on the expensive side. For the additional money, you do get some great features, however. You can use this protective coat to seal concrete, masonry, pavement, and aggregate from various damages. Issues like yellowing, cracking, spalling, UV damage, and water stains are all well within the scope of protection.
Be aware that this type of sealer will only protect from some chemicals and light salt use. Beyond that, though, you can apply it with a roller or sprayer, and the five-gallon bucket will cover 200 square feet. This option can be used for exterior projects with one to three-years protection, and three to seven-years for interior protection.
The Foundation Armor is a self-priming, low-gloss finish that will darken the appearance of the substrate below bringing out the color. It is made of non-recycled resins, has low VOCs, and is 100 percent acrylic. As this option is more costly, you want to be aware that two coats are recommended for the best protection and look. Also, the gloss can make the surface somewhat slippery, and it’s not approved by the Dept. of Transportation.
This next product is great if you would like to have a “wet look” on your walkways, patios, etc. The EnduraSeal is a 100 percent acrylic, highly durable sealer that can be used on concrete, pavement, masonry, and aggregate.
Like the option above, this sealer requires two thin coats to get a glossy sheen. You can apply the five-gallon bucket with a roller or sprayer for coverage of up to 150-300 square feet, depending on how porous the substrate. If you would like the “wet look” finish that protects from water damage without yellowing, you will have luck with this protector.
That being said, this is not Dept. of Transportation approved, and it has a strong chemical odor. Along with that, it is toxic and flammable. Otherwise, this type of sealer is long-lasting and very durable.
Halfway down our list is an eco-friendly silanes/siloxane concrete sealer that prevents damage from all salt chemicals, freeze/thaw damage, UV damage, and mold and mildew. This option adds a layer to concrete areas keeping water from penetrating the interior of the material.
This formula is not slippery and dries to a clear matte finish. It can be used for interior or exterior projects, but it is recommended for exterior. You will also need a sprayer to apply the sealer, and it has a coverage range of 150-200 square feet per the five-gallon bucket.
DryWay has a low VOC with no gloss, no film, and it will not yellow. You get a 10-year warranty with this brand, as well. Keep in mind, however, that the sealant does need two to three days to cure before it will protect from water damage. Finally, there is little odor with this product.
The Ghostshield Lithi-Tek is a great formula for poured and cast in place concrete. You will have protection from mold, mildew, UV rays, and any type of water damage. The one-gallon bucket will cover up to 1000 square feet when it is mixed with four gallons of water, and it can strengthen the concrete by 5 percent.
Although this option is not recommended for polished and colored concrete surfaces, and you are not meant to use it in areas that will be salted, it does have a clear finish that will not yellow or fade. The sealer also has no VOCs and no odor. You can apply it with a brush, sprayer, or roller, as well.
The water-based formula has a 100-year warranty. This natural finish protector, while has a long-lasting durable finish, is meant for exterior horizontal surfaces with two coats for best results.
Up next, we have the MasonryDefende, a water-based silane/siloxane formula that protects concrete and masonry from mildew, salt, freeze/thaw, and water damage. The one-gallon container will cover approximately 90 to 150 square feet, although the coverage is closer to the 90-square feet mark.
This sealer will slightly darken the appearance of the substrate. It is recommended for use on horizontal, exterior, and above-grade concrete surfaces, and it will protect from pitting, cracking, and spalling. You will have a three-year warranty, as well. What’s more, the eco-friendly design has no gloss added so, therefore, it is not slick when wet.
You will need to apply the protector with a sprayer, but it does have a quick six-hour dry downtime. This is a great option for concrete patios, walkways, pool decks, and garage floors. You can also use the sealer for driveways as it can withstand salt chemicals.
Our next choice is an eco-friendly unique formula that is made up of 100 percent natural plant oils, water, and polymer. It is non-toxic with no VOCs. Using this sealer will protect your concrete, wood, pavement, and brick surfaces both indoors and outdoors.
The EcoProCote gives protection from UV damage, mold, mildew, efflorescence, and it’s water-resistant. This option has a matte sheen finish with a touch of gloss. Like some of the other brands, you will need to apply this with a sprayer. On the other hand, it does have a 30- to 60-minute dry time.
While the substrates are varied, you want to stay away from areas that will need to be salted like walkways and driveways. Also, you will only be able to get 150 square feet of coverage per quart making this an option better suited for small areas. A few other things to keep in mind is that the sealer is almost odorless, comes in a 32-ounce bottle, and does not penetrate concrete as well as some other options for optimal water damage resistance.
Our second to last pick is going to be a good option for protecting decorative concrete. The semi-gloss consistency is great for bringing out the patterns and colors in patio, pool deck, and walkway concrete. The water-based acrylic is recommended for exterior use and will cover 300 to 400 square feet per gallon.
This particular brand can be applied with a sprayer, roller, or brush. The application process is more difficult because you can not apply this product in the sunlight or warm temperatures over 80-degrees. The dry downtime is about 24 hours, and you should not use this in areas that will be salted, have possible oil or gas spills, and it can not be thinned. On the other hand, It will prevent yellowing and surface water damage.
The sealer is toxic and flammable, plus it does have an odor, even though it claims it does not. Careful use is recommended, although it is VOC compliant. The formula itself will darken and intensify the colors and patterns in the concrete. You can also add additional coats to produce a higher gloss finish if necessary. Finally, this brand gives you a 10-year warranty against damage.
The last pick for concrete sealers is the SEAL-ONCE water-based polyurethane protector. This brand has a low VOC non-yellowing formula that can be used on concrete or masonry exterior substrates. The non-toxic eco-friendly option comes in a one-gallon bucket that needs to be applied with a sprayer.
Unfortunately, the sealer is difficult to use because it does not spread evenly on the surface. While it is supposed to prevent everything from water damage to cracking and spalling, the evidence of wear is usually spotted within a few months of application.
Another important aspect of this formula is that it does not dry down clear. Instead, the sealer has a film that can also be quite slippery even when it is not wet. You also want to keep to horizontal surfaces as vertical application runs. Overall, the coverage is less than 50 square feet which leaves much to be desired. All in all, this option is the most troublesome and least effective.
One important aspect of concrete sealers is the make-up of the formula. For the most part, sealers will be made of either silane/siloxane or acrylic. The main difference is that silane/siloxane sealers are water-based and they penetrate the concrete.
The reason you get water damage is due to the water penetrating deep into the concrete, causing it to weaken. This type of sealer uses the same principle but adds some additional ingredients to the formula to seal the material from the inside out. This stops water, UV, and other damaging agents from penetrating the inside of the concrete.
An acrylic sealer, on the other hand, does not penetrate the substrate. Instead, it creates a protective layer on top of the surface. This will keep water and other agents from causing damage. Both have their pros and cons. The biggest drawback, however, is that acrylic can create a film on top of the surface that can be slippery and unsightly.
Volatile organic compounds, otherwise known as VOCs, are a major consideration when using chemicals. VOCs are carbon-based compounds measured by the amount of toxins they release into the air. When a product has a low VOC rating, it is typically going to be low odor, eco-friendly, non-toxic, and non-flammable. The only drawback here is if you are looking for a gloss finish. For the most part, sealers that have a gloss finish are going to have a higher VOC, but not always.
When buying a sealer, the first two things you want to consider are the amount of space you want to cover, and the type of damage you want to protect the surface from. If you live in a warm area, chances are you are not going to have any salt damage, so you will not need to worry about that issue. You want to make sure that you are choosing an option that will protect your concrete from the various damaging agents that could harm the surface.
You also want to consider the type of finish you are looking for. Some sealers have a gloss finish while others can darken the appearance of the surface. If you have decorative concrete in the yard, a gloss finish is a good way to go. On the other hand, if you have a pool deck with children, you may want to consider an option that is not going to be slippery.
Finally, some of these products require a sprayer to be applied. A cheap garden sprayer is typically used, but if you do not feel comfortable with that, an option that can be rolled out is better. We do not suggest trying to hand brush an entire area, however. Of course, the closer you are to the mixture the more you will be affected by the toxins in the formula. Children and pets should be considered, as well, when choosing the right formula for your needs.
If you are looking for a great sealer that will protect your various surfaces from damage, the ToughCrete CECOMINOD072153 Concrete Sealer is the best option. If you plan on using the sealer in a smaller space, and you want to conserve money, the Ghostshield Siloxa-Tek 8500 Penetrating Concrete Sealer is an affordable option.
We hope you have enjoyed these reviews, and you have a better idea of the type of sealer you are looking for. If you need some help with a brick and masonry sealer, check out these reviews here.
Featured Image Credit By: Foundation Armor AR350, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!