To keep your concrete looking great and standing up to the elements over time, consider adding a concrete sealer on top as an extra layer of protection. Whether you have a concrete driveway or want to waterproof a walkway or patio, applying a sealant to your concrete surface can be economical and often done in just an afternoon.
David Klappenberger, founder of Klappenberger & Son and a professional painter and contractor with over 30 years of experience, affirms, "yes, concrete sealers really work." As a top coat, the sealant prevents debris and stains from penetrating the concrete. “Some clear sealers might need one coat,” says Klappenberger, adding that “applying two coats with some can cause the sheen to increase.”
It's important to do your homework before buying, but many can be used on both indoor and outdoor concrete surfaces. We researched the best concrete sealers available online, evaluating type, coverage, and drying time, so that you can pick the right one for your home.
BEHR PREMIUM Wet Look Concrete Sealer
Safe for indoor or outdoor use
Can be used on a variety of surfaces
Protects and creates top coat
Multiple drying times to keep track of
This concrete sealer from BEHR PREMIUM is our top choice since it works very well to protect and give a polished look to concrete. It enhances the durability and longevity of your concrete finish. You can use it alone to seal the concrete or brick surface, and it comes in a gallon container, making it convenient for both small and large projects. Since it is transparent, you can use it as a sealant on top of other finishes, like paint.
It is acrylic-based, so it won't fade or alter the color of most surfaces. If you have tile inlays or other surfaces around your concrete that are extremely sensitive, you may want to test a small area first before applying it to the entire area. It is safe to use indoors as well, although you should make sure that you have adequate ventilation. You can use soap and water to clean up any messes or spills.
It does take a minimum of one hour to dry to the touch. Be sure to wait a full 24 hours before walking on the surface and at least 72 hours before placing heavy items, such as furniture or other objects, back on it. It is also recommended to wait 14 days before driving on it and 30 days before washing it down with soap and water.
Price at time of publish: $39
Type: Acrylic | Coverage Area: 300 square feet | Dry Time: 1 hour
Rust-Oleum Moisture Stop Fortifying Sealer
Creates moisture barrier
Protects concrete from salt and radon
Requires rinsing after application
Cannot use on painted concrete
The Rust-Oleum strengthening sealer is a good option if you need to add a sealant layer but don't want to break the bank. When applied to uncoated concrete, it prevents moisture from penetrating and protects against salt and radon.
Since it is a penetrating sealant, it forms a chemical barrier against liquids and vapors by reacting with the concrete. After application, you should wash the area to remove any residue. For optimal results, let the sealant sit on the uncoated concrete for 45 minutes to allow for penetration and then for another 2 hours. Keep in mind that you must wait until this sealant has dried before applying paint or any other finish. You can treat up to 200 square feet with just one gallon of this stuff.
Price at time of publish: $30
Type: Penetrating | Coverage Area: 200 square feet | Dry Time: 2 hours
Black Diamond Stoneworks Wet Look Natural Stone Sealer
Protects against chemicals and UV rays
Can use on painted or bare concrete
Safe for indoor or outdoor use
High gloss shows surface imperfection
To achieve the appearance of wetness on concrete pavers, driveways, patios, sidewalks, and other outdoor surfaces, seal them with this concrete sealer from Black Diamond Stoneworks. It enhances the surface's luster without altering the concrete's color or texture in any way. As a result, it acts as a shield against the corrosive effects of dirt, sunlight, chemicals, and everyday use. It works equally well with both bare concrete and concrete that has been painted.
About 600 square feet can be covered with a single gallon. You'll need some tool to spread the sealant out evenly, whether it's a spray bottle, a roller, or a brush. While the high gloss finish gives the surface a nice shine, it also means any imperfections will stand out, so be sure to apply this carefully.
Price at time of publish: $72
Type: Water-based | Coverage Area: 600 square feet | Dry Time: 24 hours
Best for Driveway
MasonryDefender Concrete Sealer with De-Icing Salt Protection
Protects against salt damage
Comes with a warranty
Your driveway will be safe from water damage with the help of this transparent concrete sealant. It is safe to use on poured concrete as well as pavers, including those with a design. It will protect the surface against de-icing salts, an important aspect for driveways and walkways in order to make them last longer without damage. After being applied, the concrete surface becomes impermeable to water. This keeps it from creating cracks and pits over time. One coat lasts for around five years and comes with a three-year warranty for horizontal surface application.
As much as 150 square feet can be covered with just 1 gallon. To apply, you'll need a high-pressure sprayer. Before applying the sealant, it is also a good idea to use a pressure washer filled with water to clean the driveway thoroughly. You should wait at least 24 hours after applying to make sure the surface is dry. Depending on the conditions, the curing process may take even longer.
Price at time of publish: $36
Type: Water-based | Coverage Area: 90-150 square feet | Dry Time: 24 hours
Best for Garage
Foundation Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer
Protects against damage
Keeps garage free of mold and mildew
This sealer's low gloss creates a sleek look that is perfect for a garage or workshop. This cement sealer will give your floor a smooth, finished appearance without the expense of replacing the flooring. It resists common types of damage, including cracking, peeling, flaking, and pitting. It will also protect against salt damage, so you don’t need to worry about your tires getting salt or other debris on the surface. Additionally, it prevents the growth of mold and mildew, two problems frequently encountered in damp garages.
Coatings should be reapplied every one to three years for optimal performance. Because you'll have to clean out your garage entirely, this can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. It comes in a large quantity, more than enough to cover your carport, driveway, and any walkways around your house. It is shelf-stable, so you can also save it for future touchups or recoats.
Price at time of publish: $224
Type: Acrylic | Coverage Area: 175 square feet per gallon | Dry Time: 48 hours
Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal Liquid, Clear
Creates waterproof barrier
Can be painted
Safe for a variety of surfaces
This coating does double duty as a concrete patch and a weatherproof sealant. It comes in a clear, black, or white finish. You can also paint over it without affecting the waterproof barrier. A brush, roller, trowel, or even just pouring it on the surface will work for the application. You should ensure that it coats evenly, especially if you use it in places that are not level and where water tends to pool.
The container is a bit smaller than the other options. It is ideal for smaller projects or touch-ups where you really need that extra layer of protection. You can use it without worrying about damaging concrete, wood, brick, metal, or even some plastics. This makes it a great option to have on hand for spot use.
Price at time of publish: $35
Type: Waterproof | Coverage Area: 40 square feet | Dry Time: 24-48 hours
Eagle Natural Seal Penetrating Clear Water-Based Concrete and Masonry Sealer and Salt Repellent
Multiple size options
Good for textured concrete
Creates penetrating and surface barriers
Eagle Natural's water-based, penetrating concrete sealant comes in either a 1- or 5-gallon bucket and is a good option for sealing large concrete areas. It works equally well on poured concrete, stamped concrete, pavers and concrete floors installed indoors. You won’t have to worry about noticeable alterations to the surface's appearance or texture.
Although somewhat costly, this is still an excellent buy. You'll need a pressure sprayer and other tools to do the job. It penetrates the concrete and creates a surface barrier to protect against everything from water and de-icing salt to harsh UV rays. It is an investment upfront but can extend the life of your concrete surfaces.
Price at time of publish: $105
Type: Silicone | Coverage Area: 1000 square feet | Dry Time: 4 hours
Our top pick, BEHR PREMIUM Wet Look Concrete Sealer, can be used on multiple surfaces indoors and outdoors. It is also easy to clean and apply. Rust-Oleum Moisture Stop Fortifying Sealer is an excellent budget-friendly option that can be applied quickly and creates a waterproof barrier that protects your concrete.
What to Look for in a Concrete Sealer
Acrylic- or water-based sealants are commonly used for concrete sealing products. They form a barrier that protects the raw concrete surface from moisture, UV rays, and chemicals. Penetrating concrete sealers like the Eagle Natural Seal work into concrete material and form a chemical barrier of waterproof material.
If you are applying a sealant to an outdoor concrete surface, look for one like the Rust-Oleum Moisture Stop Fortifying Sealer, which is waterproof and protects against harmful chemicals, such as radon and de-icing salt. Both salt and radon can damage concrete over time. A concrete sealer that creates a layer between these substances and the concrete will ensure your surface stays in great shape.
For outdoor applications or large areas, often driveways, sidewalks, or flooring, make sure to look for a larger quantity. This is usually a good way to save money, although the features of the sealant can also play a factor in the overall cost. Most concrete sealers can be stored, so you can purchase a larger bucket and save any extra for future touch-ups or resealing.
Ease of Application
For smaller projects, look for a concrete sealer that can be applied with a brush or roller for the easiest and cheapest applications. Larger projects, such as sealing a driveway or sidewalk, often require a pressure sprayer. You should also consider the drying time required since this can make the application process take much longer overall.
Do concrete sealers really work?
A good concrete sealer can do wonders when it comes to keeping out water, harsh chemicals like those found in de-icing salt, and harmful ultraviolet rays. Concrete exposed to the elements outdoors is particularly vulnerable to damage and problems, including cracks, flakes, and discoloration. Concrete sealers form a barrier between the porous concrete and the elements.
Is it better to spray or roll on concrete sealer?
The best application depends on the size and layout of the surface, as well as the type of sealant. Spraying often gets a more even application and can cover a larger surface area. However, you will need a pressure sprayer. Rolling can be done quickly and only requires a roller, but it may not be the best for large projects or those with strange angles.
Do you need two coats of concrete sealer?
Most concrete sealers recommend two coats, although some can get an adequate barrier with just one coat. It is best to apply two thin coats rather than one thicker coat. You should also make sure to follow the drying time recommendations between coats so that they have time to fully cure.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Melynn, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Melynn has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. To make this list, she looked for concrete sealers that had a variety of features, including finishes and application methods. She also got insight from David Klappenberger, founder of Klappenberger & Son, which offers painting and other handyman services.