Sealing your asphalt driveway protects it from oil stains, sun damage and rain penetration. A sealcoat make your driveway look like new because it gives it a darker, uniform color. It can even extend the life of the asphalt by protecting it from cracks and potholes. You can hire a paving contractor to do the job, or you might be able to do it yourself. Just be sure you understand the process, because once you start, you have to keep working so the sealant dries evenly. Here are some things you need to know about sealing your driveway.
Not For New Driveways
Although you'll want to seal your new driveway as soon as you can, you'll have to wait for it to fully cure first. This process could take several months. Plus, your contractor may want to wait until your new driveway has made it through one full summer before it is sealed. As long as your driveway isn't brand new, you can have it sealed at any stage of its life. Just keep in mind that sealing does not repair cracks and potholes, so you'll need to have repairs done first. For the best care of your driveway, you'll probably want to have it sealed every few years depending on the climate you live in and the amount of wear and tear the asphalt endures.
Ideal Weather Conditions Are Advised
You'll need to schedule the work for days when no rain is expected for at least a couple of days. This allows time to apply two coats and for them to fully dry out before it rains. Also, a sealcoat is applied in warm weather only, and this includes low temperatures at night. The exact temperature depends on the brand of sealant used. The ideal time for having your driveway sealed is late spring through early fall. This ensures the thick coating goes on smoothly and is able to cure properly. If you have it applied in the summer when days are long and dry, you may be able to have both coats applied on the same day if you start early enough in the morning.
The Driveway Needs Prep Work First
You'll have to do repairs to your driveway before you apply the sealcoat. This includes filling in cracks, pulling out weeds and filling potholes. Just like a new driveway has to fully cure before applying the sealcoat, you have to allow enough time for the patching materials to cure before you cover them with the sealant. Therefore, restoring your driveway is a multi-step process that make take some time to complete, especially if your driveway is in bad shape right now. Make the repairs first and allow the material to cure according to the product label, and then wash the driveway to get rid of sand and grit. Wash it at least one day before you apply the sealant so it has time to dry. On the morning the sealcoat is applied, your driveway should be fully repaired, clean, and dry.
The Application Requires Planning
If you intend to seal the driveway yourself, you'll need to plan out your steps before you start. Place a bucket of sealant every few feet along your driveway so you can apply the product in a continuous sweep. The sealcoating is thick, so you have to spread it out with a squeegee. Pour some out across the driveway and work from your garage to the street spreading the sealcoat out evenly with a squeegee. Allow the first coat to fully dry before applying the second one. You may need to do the second coating the next day. You'll get better results if you apply two thin coats instead of applying the coating in a thick layer.
Once the sealcoat is applied, you have to allow it time to cure before you drive on it. You might be able to walk on it within a few hours, but because your car is heavy, the driveway surface needs to fully cure, which could take as long as a couple of days. Also, if your driveway is in full sun, it will cure faster than if it is shade or if it is overcast the day you have the work done.
For more information, talk to a professional like AAA Paving and Sealing.