Can concrete be left unsealed?


Concrete is a versatile and durable material that is commonly used in construction projects. It is known for its strength and longevity, but one question that often arises is whether concrete can be left unsealed. While the idea of leaving concrete unsealed may seem appealing due to the potential cost savings, it is important to consider the implications of this decision. In this article, we will explore the benefits and drawbacks of leaving concrete unsealed, discussing the impact it can have on durability and appearance.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Benefits of Sealing Concrete
  • Drawbacks of Unsealed Concrete
  • Key Takeaways
  • FAQs
  • Conclusion

Benefits of Sealing Concrete

Sealing concrete offers a range of benefits that can enhance its durability and appearance. Here are some key advantages:

1. Protection against Moisture

Concrete is porous, meaning it can absorb water and other liquids. When left unsealed, moisture can penetrate the concrete, leading to cracks, stains, and other forms of damage. Sealing concrete creates a protective barrier that prevents water from seeping in, reducing the risk of deterioration.

2. Increased Durability

By sealing concrete, you can significantly increase its lifespan. The sealant acts as a shield, protecting the surface from wear and tear caused by foot traffic, UV rays, and harsh weather conditions. This helps to prevent cracks, chipping, and other forms of damage, ultimately extending the life of the concrete.

3. Enhanced Appearance

Sealing concrete can enhance its appearance by adding a glossy or matte finish, depending on the type of sealant used. This can greatly improve the aesthetic appeal of the concrete, making it more visually appealing. Additionally, sealants can enhance the color of the concrete, giving it a richer and more vibrant look.

Drawbacks of Unsealed Concrete

While leaving concrete unsealed may seem like a cost-saving option, it is important to consider the drawbacks associated with this decision. Here are some key disadvantages:

1. Susceptibility to Stains

Unsealed concrete is highly susceptible to staining. Spills from oil, grease, and other substances can quickly penetrate the porous surface, leaving behind unsightly stains that are difficult to remove. This can negatively impact the appearance of the concrete, making it look dirty and unkempt.

2. Increased Maintenance

Unsealed concrete requires more frequent maintenance compared to sealed concrete. Without a protective barrier, the surface is more prone to damage caused by foot traffic, weather conditions, and other factors. This means that regular cleaning, repairs, and maintenance will be necessary to keep the concrete in good condition.

3. Reduced Longevity

Leaving concrete unsealed can significantly reduce its lifespan. Without the protection provided by sealants, the concrete is more vulnerable to cracks, chipping, and other forms of damage. Over time, this can lead to the need for costly repairs or even replacement of the concrete.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key takeaways regarding leaving concrete unsealed:

  • Sealing concrete offers protection against moisture, increasing its durability.
  • Sealed concrete has an enhanced appearance, with options for glossy or matte finishes.
  • Unsealed concrete is susceptible to stains and requires more frequent maintenance.
  • Leaving concrete unsealed can reduce its longevity and lead to costly repairs.


Q: Can I seal concrete myself?

A: Yes, sealing concrete can be a DIY project. However, it is important to follow proper instructions and use the right sealant for your specific concrete surface. Consulting with a professional or researching reputable sources can help ensure the best results.

Q: How often should concrete be sealed?

A: The frequency of concrete sealing depends on various factors, including the type of sealant used, the amount of foot traffic, and the weather conditions. In general, it is recommended to reseal concrete every 3-5 years for optimal protection.

Q: Are there environmentally friendly sealants available?

A: Yes, there are environmentally friendly sealants available that are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and have minimal impact on the environment. These sealants provide the same level of protection while being more eco-friendly.


While it may be tempting to leave concrete unsealed to save money, the benefits of sealing concrete cannot be overlooked. Sealing concrete provides protection against moisture, increases durability, and enhances appearance. On the other hand, leaving concrete unsealed can result in staining, increased maintenance, and reduced longevity. Ultimately, the decision to seal or leave concrete unsealed depends on individual preferences and the specific needs of the project. However, considering the long-term benefits, sealing concrete is often the recommended choice for ensuring the longevity and beauty of the material.