Does Sealing A Driveway Make It Slippery? (What NOT To Do!)

Protecting a driveway with a sealer makes sense to keep your driveway looking better than the Jones’! However, you don’t want to slip on the morning dew on the driveway and break a hip when you go to collect your morning newspaper! Does sealing a driveway make it slippery, or are your hips safe going this route?

Sealing a driveway can make it slippery depending on sealant and driveway surface. Sealcote on an asphalt driveway is not slippery. A penetrating sealant on a concrete surface will not be slippery. An acrylic sealant on a concrete driveway can be slippery unless an anti-slip additive is included.

Sealing a driveway is a necessary part of driveway maintenance and extending the life of the driveway. Choosing the right sealant to match your driveway material is important to prevent the driveway from becoming slippery, particularly in wet weather.

What Is Sealing A Driveway?

Sealing a driveway is laying down a coating of some material that will seal the driveway’s surface. There are many products available for sealing driveways. The choice will largely be determined by the material your driveway is made from and what you want the sealant to achieve.

The most common reasons for sealing a driveway include the following.

  • Prevent staining of the driveway. A sealant will prevent chemicals such as oils and other motor vehicle fluids from seeping into the driveway surface, leaving hard-to-remove stains.
  • Sealing slows oxidation. Sealing a driveway will slow down oxidation which can cause colors to fade and driveways to become brittle and crack.
  • Promotes easier cleaning. Sweeping the driveway, hosing it down, or clearing it with a leafblower becomes easier when the driveway is sealed. 
  • Prevents water penetration of the driveway. Sealing a driveway prevents water penetration which can crack the driveway when the water freezes.
  • Sealing can revive a worn driveway. Asphalt driveways, in particular, benefit from sealing, which can restore a worn surface.

How Does Sealing A Driveway Work?

Home in suburbs with circular driveway
Home in suburbs with circular driveway

Sealing a driveway is a process that is normally undertaken once the driveway has been installed and has had time to cure. 

Once the driveway is cured sufficiently, a contractor will brush a sealant over the driveway surface. The application of the sealant can differ from product to product. Some driveway sealants are brushed on, while others can be sprayed on using a high-pressure sprayer.

There are a variety of different sealant types which act differently on the driveway surface. Some form a protective layer on top of the driveway material, while others penetrate the surface and seal the driveway below the upper layer.

The type of coating used to seal the driveway will determine if the driveway is slippery after applying the sealant.

Is A Driveway Slippery After Sealing?

Since there are two main driveway materials (asphalt and concrete), we will treat each one separately to discover if sealing makes the driveway more slippery.

Depending on your driveway material, you may want to exercise caution in your choice of sealant or the correct application to prevent your driveway from becoming slippery.

Do Asphalt Driveways Become Slippery After Sealing?

An asphalt driveway in a UK new construction home
An asphalt driveway in a UK new construction home

Asphalt driveways should not be slippery after sealing the surface with a sealant. However, there are some instances where the sealant can become slippery!

When the sealant is first applied to the asphalt, it will be slippery until the surface coat has dried properly. After this drying time, the asphalt should not be slippery.

If the asphalt is slippery after the drying process, then there is a problem with the sealant application. If the relevant contractor does not mix the sealant correctly, it will dry to a slippery finish.

The slipperiness of the improperly sealed asphalt will increase when the asphalt is wet. Thus, a shower of rain would turn your driveway into a veritable ice rink, with a potential lawsuit around the corner!

If your asphalt driveway is slippery after a sealant treatment, you should contact the contractor and get them to redo the sealant application.

Old asphalt wears down, especially the smaller sand and stone particles embedded in the surface layer. Consequently, applying sealant can restore the asphalt surface and improve the traction on the driveway.

What Can You Use To Seal An Asphalt Driveway?

If you are a DIY person and would rather tackle the job yourself, several driveway sealant products are available for DIY application.

One of the best that we can recommend is Jetcoat’s Premium Driveway Sealer. This product is a sealer and a crack filler and offers 5-year protection for your asphalt driveway. The application is easily achieved using a squeegee or a brush. Two coats are recommended for best results.

The biggest challenge with this asphalt sealer is that it must continuously be stirred in the bucket during the application. The sealant will make the driveway slippery if this mixing is not maintained.

If you are not a DIY type of person, or you want a professional to seal your asphalt driveway, you can get a contractor out to do the job. 

Coal tar is a good option to use on your driveway but needs specialist equipment to apply the sealant (and can have health concerns if applied incorrectly). The coal tar must be heated to cause it to melt before applying it to the asphalt surface. Coal tar dries to form a durable, non-slip coating on the asphalt. This asphalt sealant is often referred to as sealcoat.

Do Concrete Driveways Become Slippery After Sealing?

A double garage with concrete driveway leading to it and concrete path along side
A double garage with concrete driveway leading to it and concrete path along side

A wider range of sealant products is available for concrete driveways than for asphalt driveways. While you may think this is a good thing, it also increases the risk of choosing the wrong product and ending up with a driveway more slippery than a greased pig!

The type of concrete sealer used will influence how slippery the driveway is after the sealant application. Typically, sealants that dry on the outer surface of the concrete are more slippery than penetrating sealants.

Surface coat sealants applied on their own can result in a plastic-type coating on the driveway, which will make the driveway slippery, especially when the driveway is wet. This may not only be a problem for people, but vehicles may lose traction of steep driveways with this coating.

Acrylic sealants can be used, but they must include a non-slip additive, which essentially adds grit to the acrylic coating, making the coating slip-resistant.

Penetrating sealants are a good option to use since they do not dry on the surface of the concrete but penetrate below the surface to seal the driveway. Thus, these sealants do not make a concrete driveway more slippery, but they do not enhance the non-slip aspect of the concrete either.

If your concrete driveway pre-sealant is not slippery, then a penetrating sealant is recommended. However, if your concrete driveway is slippery without a sealant being applied, the best sealant choice would be an acrylic sealant with a non-slip grit additive.

What Can You Use To Seal A Concrete Driveway?

If you want a penetrating sealer for your driveway, a water-based silane siloxane sealer would be the one to look for. 

MasonryDefender Penetrating Concrete Sealer is a good product in this category that will work well on your concrete driveway. This sealer penetrates below the surface of the concrete and dries to a clear finish. It will not alter the appearance of the concrete from a texture or color aspect.

This sealer does not allow water to penetrate the concrete but causes it to bead on the surface. A slight gradient to the driveway will allow it to shed water easily. The Masonrydefender product has the added advantage of protecting the driveway from salt products used in icy conditions.

This penetrating sealer is easy to apply with a low-pressure garden sprayer and conveniently only requires 1 coat. The driveway must be cleaned thoroughly before applying the sealer.

If an acrylic concrete driveway sealant is required, we can recommend the Foundation Armor AR350 concrete sealer. This sealer will slightly darken the concrete and will give it a wet look. The product is made from acrylic resins which dry to a glossy finish.

The main issue with this type of sealant is that it can be slippery when wet, which is why an anti-slip additive such as the MasonryDefender Clear Non-slip Acrylic Additive is important. The additive will not color the acrylic sealer but will improve the traction on the finish with the added grit.

What Can You Do If Your Driveway Is Slippery After Sealing?

A slippery surface warning sign
A slippery surface warning sign

What can you do if your concrete driveway has already been sealed but is slippery in wet weather? Several options are open to you at this point that will help to make your driveway less of a health hazard!

The best option is to have the driveway re-sealed with an appropriate sealer with a grit additive to improve the surface’s slip resistance. However, this option is generally only feasible if your driveway is due for another sealing treatment.

Another solution is to put down adhesive grip tape or stick-on grip tiles in high-traffic areas, but these often detract from the aesthetics.

Conclusion

Sealing a driveway is needed to extend the driveway’s life and keep your driveway looking good for longer.

Choosing the right sealing product for your driveway is the key to an appealing, protective finish on your driveway that will not become slippery when the driveway is wet. 

The right sealant will help the driveway surface to shed water rather than absorb it or allow it to pool on the surface. Most penetrating sealants will not result in a slippery finish on the driveway. Acrylic sealants should include a grit additive to prevent them from having a slippery finish.

About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.