While concrete is known as a strong material, it is also porous and prone to cracks which can diminish its durability. However, there is a solution to ensure concrete maintains its strength — a sealer.
A high-quality sealer will penetrate the surface to fill in any voids and protect the concrete from weathering, staining and deterioration. The best sidewalk and walkway sealer will provide a long-lasting barrier against the elements while also being easy to apply and maintain.
Let’s take a deeper look at why it’s important to implement a sealer into a concrete sidewalk design and examine the characteristics of the best sealers.
Why Seal Sidewalks and Walkways?
Sealing sidewalks and walkways is an important step in preserving their appearance and preventing damage. Sealing helps fill in any small cracks or pores in the concrete, creating a protective barrier against weathering, staining and other wear and tear. A good sealer will also make the surface more resistant to moisture and ice, helping protect people that walk on the surface.
It’s also important to choose a sealant specifically designed for sidewalks and walkways, as it will provide the best protection against weathering and other elements.
Risks to Sidewalks and Walkways
Sun damage is a major threat to sidewalks and walkways. Bright sun can cause the sealer to fade and lose its protective properties. In addition, the UV radiation from the sun breaks down polymers within the concrete itself, weakening it over time.
This slow deterioration causes a fine dust or powder to accumulate with each passing year. It will also cause cracks or spalls to spread out from joint or seam connections. This significantly weakens the sidewalk. It’s important to choose a sealer resistant to fading and discoloration.
Natural weather patterns could also compromise the durability and appearance of concrete. Freezing and thawing cycles could create fractures while UV rays may bleach the surface. Applying the proper sealer will help prevent cracks from forming, stains from appearing and keeping your walkway looking new.
General Water Absorption
A good sealer will increase the pavement’s resistance to moisture and ice. It’s critical to use a sealer tailored for sidewalks and walkways, as it will provide the finest protection against weathering and other elements.
The freeze/thaw cycle is a major threat to concrete sidewalks and walkways. During the winter, water can seep into the pores of the concrete and then freeze, expanding and causing cracks. In the summer, the thawing process can cause the same cracks to widen and become more pronounced.
A good sealer will help prevent this type of damage by sealing the pores and preventing moisture from entering. Choosing a sealer specifically designed for freeze/thaw protection will ensure the surface can withstand harsh conditions.
Corrosion and expansion of rebar are caused by water and chlorides seeping through concrete to the steel. Concrete detaches from the surface and reduces the service life of sidewalks and walkways.
The Best Sidewalk and Walkway Sealers
Sealers come in various formulations, so it’s important to choose one specifically designed for sidewalks and walkways to provide the best protection against weathering and other damage.
DRYLOK® offers three excellent sealant options for ultimate protection against the elements. These sealants also provide options for the finished look to ensure the final outcome is as aesthetically pleasing as it is durable.
While there are differences in how each of our sealants are applied, they all can be applied with a roller, brush or squeegee. Plus, all three sealers are resistant to staining and graffiti.
If efflorescence (a white flaky substance on the surface) is present, the sealers will not properly join with the concrete, so it must be eliminated. Rinse it and allow it to dry after treating it with DRYLOK Etch* (liquid or powder formula) or muriatic acid, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Let’s dive into our three sealant options to help you discover which solution is best for your project.
1. DRYLOK Natural Look Curing Membrane & Penetrating Sealer
This product is specially designed for porous masonry surfaces. It soaks in and produces matte protection that looks natural and beautiful. Use it on indoor and outdoor masonry surfaces, including concrete driveways, basement floors, garage floors, concrete sidewalks, patios, terrazzo tiles, brick walls and slate roofs. Natural Look generally requires a single coat for effective protection, and you should allow three hours for it to dry between coats.
2. DRYLOK WetLook Clear High Gloss Penetrating Sealer
The DRYLOK WetLook Clear High Gloss Penetrating Sealer is a fantastic choice if you want a high-gloss finish. It has the greatest solids of any clear sealer and will give the most protection. It provides wet-look concrete that won’t yellow or fade over time, with a seal and protection in one application. Depending on how much absorption there is, this sealer may require as many as two coats with one-hour dry time and two hours between coats.
3. DRYLOK Protector Clear Low Sheen Penetrating Sealer
This Clear Low Sheen Penetrating Sealer protects against deterioration from de-icing salts, household chemicals, acid, petrol, oil and weathering by offering clear, waterproof protection.
The unique SALTLOK® Technology penetrates into the surface and has exceptional resistance to unsightly efflorescence stains (salt deposits) on brick, block and poured concrete surfaces due to our proprietary technology. It takes 45 minutes to dry, and the total curing time ranges from 24 to 48 hours.
When is the Best Time to Seal Sidewalks and Walkways?
Your sidewalk sealer should be applied as soon as possible with the following in mind:
Scrape off all dirt, wax, dust, mildew and loose or scaling material with a scraper, wire brush or stiff bristle brush. Scrubbing with a high-quality detergent in warm water will remove grease, wax and oil. Allow it to dry fully before sealing.
When the air and surface temperatures are both 50°F or higher, schedule your project. Wait for a dry (rain-free) period for optimum results.
Concrete must be totally dry before proceeding. Install a 12″ x 12″ piece of 3 mil plastic or aluminum foil on all four surfaces with sticky tape to check for wetness. After 24 hours, remove the covering. If the plastic or foil on the surface side is damp, allow extra time for drying and repeat the test.
Source the Industry’s Best Sidewalk and Walkway Sealers from DRYLOK
If you are looking for the best sidewalk and walkway sealers, look no further than DRYLOK. Our products provide excellent protection against the elements and come in various finishes to suit your needs. If you’re ready to get started or want to learn more about how to seal a sidewalk properly, find a retailer nearest you!