cause of "spalling" or "scaling" concrete is simple. Concrete is porous and
soaks up a lot of water. When that water freezes, it expands and breaks up the
concrete surface. Prevention is pretty simple too: Apply a sealer to reduce
There are many types of sealers. For most
sidewalks and driveways, the best choice is an acrylic sealer. Acrylics work by
forming a clear coating on concrete. The coating is easy to apply with a roller
or sprayer and will last two to five years, depending on weather and traffic.
Some products give concrete a glossy "wet" look, while others leave a duller
You'll pay $20 to $40 per gallon, and cost is
often a clue to quality. Also check the label; higher quality acrylics are
"nonyellowing" and require new concrete to be fully cured (14 to 28 days,
for example). Acrylics cover 100 to 200 sq. ft., depending on the porosity of
Home centers carry acrylic sealer (in the
masonry aisle), though some sealers don't say "acrylic" on the label. A few common
brands are Quikrete High Gloss Sealer, Quikrete Acrylic Cure & Seal,
Rust-Oleum Concrete Sealer and Sikagard Sealer.
coatings can make concrete slippery. So if you have smooth steps or walkways,
there's an alternative you should know about: Penetrating sealers such as
"silane" and "siloxane" create a barrier within the concrete rather than on the
surface. Available only at specialty concrete suppliers, they usually cost more
and degrade faster than acrylic.
— Gary Wentz, Senior Editor
Concrete soaks up water, which freezes and busts up the surface.
Apply a sealer to lock out water.
The concrete looks just like it did before, but water beads up on the surface and doesn’t soak in.
Check out these related concrete repair articles from The Family Handyman:
- DIY concrete crack repair
- Remove oil and other concrete stains
- Concrete garage floor resurfacing