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The Ultimate Guide to Asphalt Driveway Sealing and Maintenance

Your driveway is one of the first things people see when visiting your home. Not only does a well-maintained asphalt driveway boost your property’s curb appeal, but it also protects against cracks, potholes and other damage that can require expensive repairs down the road. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about properly sealing and maintaining your asphalt driveway for long-lasting results.

Asphalt Driveway Sealing Best Practices

Why Is Driveway Sealing So Important?

Over time, the asphalt surface of your driveway becomes susceptible to damage from UV rays, chemicals, moisture and freeze/thaw cycles. Applying a protective sealer helps:

– Fill in hairline cracks to prevent them from spreading
– Restore the rich black color hiding fading and stains
– Create a barrier against gas, oil, salt and other corrosives
– Improve traction and prevent slick conditions when wet
– Extend your driveway’s lifespan by 25% or more

Skipping regular asphalt sealing allows moisture to penetrate and cause serious issues like alligator cracking, buckling and potholes that require costly repairs or replacement.

How Often Should You Seal an Asphalt Driveway? 

Most experts recommend sealcoating every 2-3 years, though frequency depends on:

– Climate and weather exposure
– Amount of use/traffic
– Age and condition of the asphalt surface
– Quality of the previous sealer used

You’ll know it’s time for new driveway sealing when the surface looks faded, has multiple stains or hairline cracks are starting to form. Don’t wait until the damage is severe!

Supplies Needed for Driveway Sealing

Before starting your sealcoating project, make sure you have:

– Driveway crack filler or repair caulk
– Degreaser and stiff brush for cleaning oil stains
– Concentrated asphalt-based sealer (calculate square footage)
– Sealer squeegee or brooms with thick bristles 
– Pressure washer (or hose with spray nozzle)
– Gloves, safety glasses and knee pads

Many driveway sealer products come in either a standard cure formula or a faster-drying rubberized version. Consider climate and usage when choosing.

Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Seal an Asphalt Driveway

1. Clean and Repair
Use a pressure washer or stiff brush to thoroughly clean dirt, grease and debris off the entire driveway surface. Fill any larger cracks or holes using a crack filler or cold asphalt repair mix. Let repairs fully cure before continuing.

2. Check The Weather
Only apply driveway sealer on a day with temperatures above 50°F and no rain forecasted for 24-48 hours. The asphalt and sealer need warm, dry conditions for proper application and curing.

3. Apply the Sealer
Work in sections pouring the sealant directly onto the driveway. Use a squeegee or brush to spread the sealer evenly at a rate of 250-400 sq ft per 5 gallons. Apply sealant in thin, uniform coats.

4. Let It Dry
Allow anywhere from 4-48 hours of complete drying time before walking or driving on the newly sealed surface (check product instructions). Sealers may take even longer to fully cure.

5. Apply Second Coat (Optional)
For best results and maximum protection, apply a second coat once the first coat is fully cured and dried. Just re-squeegee or broom the second layer right over the first.

Driveway Sealant Application Tips and Tricks

– Start at the highest point and work your way down along the slope of the driveway
– Work sealer well into cracks and edges using an applicator brush for full coverage
– Pour sealer from the container using a back-and-forth motion, not all at once
– Use a squeegee for best results and avoid excessive brushing or over-working
– Be careful not to let puddles form, and spread out drips or sags right away

Cleaning a Stained or Dirty Driveway Before Sealing

Sealcoating over a dirty or stained asphalt surface won’t fully adhere or hide imperfections. Be sure to:

– Use a degreaser and stiff brush to scrub any oil or grease spots
– Thoroughly rinse away dirt, dust and debris using a pressure washer
– Allow the driveway to dry completely before applying sealer (24 hrs minimum)
– Sweep away any loose gravel, leaves or other particles

The cleaner and drier the asphalt surface is before sealing, the better your results will be.

How Long Does Asphalt Sealer Take to Fully Cure?

Driveway sealers continue curing long after the stated drying time. For basic dry times:

– Fast-dry sealers take 4-8 hours to initially cure
– Standard sealers can take 24-48 hours before recoating
– It takes 30 days or more for full and complete curing

Wait at least 24 hours after sealing before parking vehicles on the driveway again. Check the sealer instructions for specific curing duration recommendations.

Caring for a Newly Sealed Driveway

After sealcoating, avoid:

– Turning or parking vehicles on the driveway for at least 2 days
– Walking or playing on the sealed area until fully cured
– Placing any heavy objects on the surface while curing

Also be prepared for a strong odor during the first few days after application as the sealer fully cures and volatiles release.

Key Takeaways : Asphalt Driveway Sealing Best Practices

– Sealing protects asphalt driveways from cracks, stains and costly damage
– Seal every 2-3 years, or as needed based on the driveway’s condition
– Clean and repair any cracks/holes before sealcoating 
– Only sealcoat when temperatures are above 50°F with no rain forecasted
– Apply in thin, uniform coats using a squeegee for best results
– Let sealer fully cure for 24-48 hours before driving on the driveway
– Consider a second coat for maximum protection and lifespan

By following these tips for proper asphalt driveway sealing and maintenance, you’ll get years of added life while keeping your driveway looking fresh and new. Schedule your next sealcoating project today!

 

FAQs

Q: What is sealcoating?

A: Sealcoating is the process of applying a protective layer to an asphalt surface, such as a driveway, to protect it from the elements and extend its lifespan.

Q: When should I sealcoat my driveway?

A: It is recommended to sealcoat your driveway every 2-3 years to maintain its integrity and prevent damage from oil stains, cracks, and holes.

Q: How do I apply a second coat of driveway sealer?

A: To apply a second coat of driveway sealer, make sure the first coat has dried completely, then use a sprayer or application brush to evenly apply the second coat.

Q: What is the best driveway sealcoating practice?

A: The best driveway sealcoating practice involves cleaning the driveway, filling in any cracks or holes, applying the sealant evenly, and letting the driveway dry completely before use.

Q: How do I check the weather before sealing my driveway?

A: Before sealing your driveway, check that the weather forecast shows temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 24 hours with no rain in the forecast.

Q: Can I seal asphalt driveways in any condition?

A: It is recommended to assess the condition of your driveway before sealing it. If there are depressions, extensive damage, or the surface is not clean, it may require additional repairs before sealing.

Q: What tools do I need to sealcoat a driveway?

A: You will need tools such as a sprayer, application brush, and possibly a squeegee to effectively sealcoat your driveway and ensure even coverage.

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