Does Sealing Concrete Prevent Cracks: 4 Things to Know

Last Updated on January 20, 2023

When it comes to protecting your concrete surfaces, you may be wondering if sealing the concrete will help prevent cracking and damage. Sealing concrete is an important step for homeowners and businesses alike, as it can provide a layer of protection against water and chemical penetration. It can also improve the aesthetic appearance of the concrete and make it easier to clean.

Sealing concrete helps protect the substrate from outside elements, making it more durable over time. It also prevents dusting which can lead to staining and discoloration. Additionally, sealing concrete helps reduce freeze-thaw damage which can cause cracking in colder climates.

By understanding how sealing concrete works, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is necessary for your home or business. 

Types of Sealers for Concrete

Types of Sealers for Concrete

Penetrating Sealers

Advantages and Disadvantages

When it comes to preventing cracks in concrete, penetrating sealers are one of the most common types that can be used. The main advantage of using this type of sealer is that they penetrate into tiny pores, fissures, and cracks making them ideal for protecting concrete from moisture damage.

Additionally, they create a breathable waterproof barrier on the surface which prevents water from entering the porous material and causing further damage. Moreover, these sealers are highly durable and long-lasting, with some formulas capable of lasting up to 10 years or more when applied correctly.

However, one major disadvantage is their limited ability to protect concrete from UV rays as these sealers provide no protection from fading or chalking caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Additionally, they require frequent reapplication since the amount of protection provided diminishes over time as dirt and oils build up in the protected surfaces. 

How to Apply Penetrating Sealers

Applying penetrating sealers is relatively simple and straightforward. First, make sure that your concrete surface is clean prior to application by thoroughly cleaning all areas you plan on applying the sealer with a brush or pressure washer if necessary.

Once your surface is dry and free from any dirt or debris, apply an even coat of the sealer across the entire area using a paintbrush or roller brush before allowing it to sit for at least 24 hours in order for proper curing time.

Finally, once cured completely you should buff out any excess residue left behind by wiping down with a damp cloth or scrubbing with an abrasive pad if needed before enjoying your newly protected surfaces!

Surface Coating Sealers

Advantages and Disadvantages

Surface coating sealers are also commonly used in order to prevent cracking in concrete surfaces due to their superior protective abilities compared to penetrating sealers alone.

Primarily designed for exterior use only due to their strong covering capabilities on larger surfaces such as driveways or patios; these coating can prove very effective at protecting surfaces against UV radiation, abrasion damage over time and water infiltration while providing an aesthetically pleasing glossy finish as well (depending on desired effect).

However one major disadvantage associated with this type of sealer is its inability to penetrate into existing cracks like penetrating sealers do so there may be a need for additional crack repair prior to application depending on condition of underlying surface being sealed.

Additionally these products require slightly more maintenance than penetrating varieties due to their thicker consistency making them more prone to attracting dirt/debris which will necessitate regular cleanup or re-application as needed in order maintain desired efficacy levels after weathering effects have taken place over time (albeit typically less frequently than penetration formulas). 

How To Apply Surface Coating Sealers 

Similar procedures should be followed when applying surface coating sealants such as those described above except you’ll need slightly different tools due to its thicker consistency compared with penetrating formulas: first make sure that your concrete surface is cleaned thoroughly prior to application by either sweeping away any loose dirt particles or utilizing a pressure washer if necessary; then allow it ample.

Drying time before commencing application where you’ll want use either a paint sprayer (for larger areas) or paint brush/roller combination for smaller areas depending on size/shape respectively before allowing proper curing time post-application (usually between 24-48 hours) before enjoying your newly protected surfaces!

Benefits of Sealing Concrete to Prevent Cracks

Benefits of Sealing Concrete to Prevent Cracks

Protects Against Moisture Damage:

One of the main benefits of sealing concrete is its ability to protect against moisture damage. If a concrete surface isn’t sealed, water can seep into the pores, leading to breakage and eventual cracking. By sealing the surface, you create an effective barrier which prevents any further absorption of moisture, thus prolonging the life of your concrete and preventing cracks from forming over time.

Adding sealant to your concrete also has other benefits such as keeping out dirt and other debris which could otherwise accumulate inside pore-like areas in the surface and cause a buildup of pressure that eventually leads to cracking or splitting. 

Enhances Beauty and Color of the Surface:

Another benefit of sealing concrete is its ability to enhance the beauty and color of a surface by providing a polished finish that looks great for years to come. By applying a sealant, you protect the integrity and vibrancy of your concrete’s color while adding an extra layer which reflects light differently than if it were left unsealed.

This gives your concrete an unmistakable luster that can drastically improve its overall aesthetic appeal while still protecting it from damage caused by elements like sun exposure or rainwater. Not only does this make your driveway look more attractive, but it also adds value to your property as well!  

Increases Durability of the Material:

Finally, sealing concrete increases its durability by reinforcing protection against wear-and-tear caused by heavy traffic or harsh weather conditions like snow or hail storms which have been known to cause significant damage over time if not properly protected against.

Sealants act as a protective layer between your surface and whatever environment it’s exposed to, helping maintain its structural integrity for many years without requiring costly repairs down the line due to cracks or breakages that could have easily been prevented with just one simple application! 

Drawbacks of Sealing Concrete To Prevent Cracks

Costly Maintenance Required :

Although sealing concrete offers numerous benefits when done correctly, there are some drawbacks associated with it as well – specifically regarding maintenance required after application in order to keep up with its effectiveness over time.

Many sealants require periodic reapplication every so often in order for them to continue providing protection against cracks; this means additional costs on top of what was already spent on purchasing and applying in the first place

Furthermore, if done incorrectly (ie: using wrong type/amount etc.), re-application may be necessary much more frequently than anticipated – making this process even more expensive in terms of both materials/labor costs incurred each time around. 

Can Cause Staining on Some Surfaces :

Another potential drawback associated with sealing concrete is staining which can occur if done improperly or using an unsuitable product for certain surfaces (ie: natural stone). For example, some sealants may contain harsh chemicals that could potentially react adversely with certain materials like granite or marble – causing discoloration on these surfaces even after just one application!

Therefore, it’s important that any sealant used for these types of materials be carefully researched beforehand in order to ensure best results without any potential staining occurring afterwards from use. 

Not Effective in All Weather Conditions :

Lastly, although most sealants work effectively when applied correctly under normal weather conditions (ex: sunshine/moderate temperatures), they may not provide adequate protection against extreme weather events such as severe windstorms or floods which can overwhelm even sealed surfaces due their sheer force/volume!

Therefore it’s important that any decision taken regarding sealing be factored accordingly based off regional climate patterns expected throughout year so as not waste money/time going through whole process only result ultimately being ineffective once put into practice anyway due unfavorable conditions experienced afterwards!

Important Considerations When Purchasing a Sealer for Concrete

Type of Cement Used in the Project:

When purchasing a sealer for concrete, it is important to consider the type of cement used in the project. Different types of cement have different porosity levels which will determine how much protection is needed from the sealer

For example, Portland cement has a higher porosity level than other cements, making it more susceptible to water penetration and cracking. In this case, it would be wise to use a high-grade sealer with a greater level of protection.

It is also important to note that different types of cements can be used together in a project, so it is important to find a sealer that will work with all types of cement and protect against both moisture and freeze/thaw damage.

Amount of Protection Needed for the Project:

The amount of protection needed from the sealer also depends on the type of project being undertaken and its expected lifespan. For projects involving outdoor elements such as driveways or patios, stronger and more durable sealers should be used in order to protect against weathering and wear caused by water, sun, wind and ice.

On the other hand, indoor projects require less protection since they are sheltered from these elements; however, they should still be sealed to prevent dusting or cracking due to regular foot traffic or furniture movement. Generally speaking, if you are expecting your project to last longer than twenty years then you should opt for an industrial grade sealer with maximum durability.

Expected Life Span of the Project:

Finally, when considering the expected lifespan of your project it is essential that you factor in the climate conditions associated with where you are located as well as any external factors that could affect durability such as salt exposure or vehicular traffic.

Typically speaking, concrete surfaces installed outdoors should last up to 25 years if properly maintained and sealed regularly while indoor surfaces can last up to 50 years depending on their usage rate and care regimen . When selecting a sealer for your concrete project it is important that you choose one which provides adequate protection for both short-term use (0-20 years) as well as long-term use (20-50+ years).

This could involve using multiple layers for added strength or finding specialty products designed specifically for harsh environments depending on specific needs associated with your project

Environmental and Safety Concerns

When it comes to the use of sealing concrete to prevent cracking, there are several environmental and safety concerns that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, the sealants used may contain hazardous chemicals and could potentially cause air or water pollution when they are released into the environment.

In order to ensure that the environment is protected, these chemicals should be carefully monitored and disposed of properly if they are not reused or recycled. Additionally, since many sealants require heat in order to cure correctly, there is a risk of fire or other accidents occurring if proper safety precautions are not taken.

Furthermore, improper installation can lead to an increase in energy consumption due to extra insulation being added unnecessarily, which could have a negative impact on the environment as well. Finally, the sealant must be applied according to all local building codes in order for it to be effective at preventing cracks from forming in the concrete. 

Grade or Quality of the Materials Being Used

The grade or quality of materials that are being used when sealing concrete has an important role to play in determining whether or not cracks will form over time. For instance, it is essential that premium grade cement and aggregates be used whenever possible in order for a strong bond between them and the sealant to develop.

Additionally, using high-quality sealants that are designed specifically for outdoor applications will help ensure that they remain intact even when exposed to harsh weather conditions such as wind-driven rain or extreme temperatures. The sealant should also be applied evenly across the entire surface area so that it can provide maximum protection against cracking.

Finally, taking measures such as removing any existing dirt or debris before applying the sealant will also help prevent cracks by providing a smoother surface for it to adhere properly. 

Appearance Requirements for the Job Site

The appearance requirements for a job site where sealing concrete is being done should also be taken into account before any work begins. This includes ensuring that all necessary tools and materials needed for the job have been properly gathered ahead of time so there won’t be any delays during installation due to missing items.

Additionally, surrounding surfaces such as sidewalks or driveways should be cleaned thoroughly beforehand so any debris does not interfere with how much coverage is achieved by the sealant itself once it has been applied.

Another factor to consider is choosing a color scheme that best compliments both the house and landscape so that everything looks cohesive when finished; this will ultimately depend on personal preference but should still follow certain guidelines with regards to aesthetic value in order for everything to look its best upon completion of the project.

How Long Does Concrete Sealing Last?

How Long Does Concrete Sealing Last

The longevity of a concrete sealant depends on its type; however, generally speaking they can last anywhere between 2-10 years. Higher quality sealants may last longer than those of lesser quality.

Furthermore, factors such as UV exposure and chemical exposure can cause sealants to break down faster so it is important to regularly check for signs of wear or damage and reapply if necessary. 

Can You Permanently Seal Concrete?

Permanently sealing concrete isn’t really possible but you can use multiple layers of sealant to increase its longevity significantly.

Before applying multiple layers, make sure you clean off any dirt or debris from the existing layer before reapplication to ensure proper adherence. Additionally, use sealants designed specifically for concrete surfaces so as not to damage them in any way. 

Will Concrete Sealer Fill Hairline Cracks? 

While some types of concrete sealer may be able to fill hairline cracks with limited success, this isn’t their primary purpose and cannot be relied upon for complete crack prevention or repair. For more serious cracks, professional patching with materials like epoxy should be sought out instead. 

Does All Concrete Crack Eventually?

Yes, all concrete will eventually crack due to a combination of moisture absorption and temperature fluctuations over time; however, proper maintenance such as sealing can help minimize cracking overall.

Additionally, using higher quality materials during installation will also reduce the chances of cracking occurring sooner rather than later on in the life cycle of your concrete surface.  

What Is The Best Time To Seal The Concrete?

The best time to seal your concrete surface is after installation has been completed but before winter sets in (or before summer heat sets in if you live in an area prone to hotter temperatures). This ensures that moisture has had enough time to evaporate from beneath the surface while still providing protection against further moisture entering below ground level via rain or snow during colder months ahead.

Additionally, if you plan on staining your surface afterward make sure to wait at least two weeks after sealing before doing so since oil-based products can compromise adhesion if applied too soon after application.


To sum up, sealing your concrete surfaces is an effective way of preventing damage due to water and chemical penetration, as well as freeze-thaw cycles that could potentially cause cracks. Not only does it help protect the surface but it also has aesthetic benefits such as making cleaning easier and reducing staining or discoloration.

Sealing concrete requires proper preparation before application in order for it to be effective so make sure you read up on all instructions before beginning the project. With proper maintenance, sealed concrete should remain intact for many years without any major issues arising from cracking or other forms of damage.

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