For years, Tyler Stephens, owner of Stephens Concrete Sealing in Indianapolis, used to use your typical film-forming sealer on his outdoor concrete projects. “It left a little sheen behind and had nice curb appeal, but it didn’t bead water the way penetrating sealers do,” he says.
For the last three to four years, he’s been using Clemons Concrete Coatings’ Super Seal M and Specco Industries Waterstopper WB on the driveways and walkways he installs. “They have great beading qualities and my clients are amazed when they see the water beading for the first time. It’s gives them some security because they can tell when their driveway is sealed.”
In Indiana where he lives, they have vicious freeze-thaw cycles and the sealers made with silane or siloxane hold up extremely well. He says he prefers to use the water-based versions over the solvents because they are easier on the equipment and friendlier to his employees. The solvent sealers last longer but are not enough to be a deterrent to water-based.
“When the penetrating sealer dries, you can’t tell the driveway is sealed,” Stephens says. It’s a different story when clients dump water on the surface.
“My customer satisfaction has improved when I switched from topical to penetrating and they have a visual to show them the concrete is sealed. We’ve also gotten a lot more referrals off that characteristic.”
As a bonus in the winter, salt can’t penetrate the sealed concrete surface and his clients can clean off the driveway with a leaf blower instead of having to get out a shovel. “The ice forms but it doesn’t have anything to bond to,” he says.
About 95 percent of Stephens jobs are outside. Last year, he completed 760 broom-finish jobs totaling almost 1 million square feet of concrete that was cleaned and sealed.