Asphalt or “blacktop” driveways need sealed or seal-coated about every three years. With a little patience and understand, almost anyone can accomplish the task. So here’s what you need to know. The composition of the driveway asphalt can be deteriorated by, oil, gas, grease, solvents, water, ultraviolet rays and other elements.
This is why your driveway needs to be sealed. Sealing the cracks in your driveway will prevent penetration of these substances and extend the life and appearance of your asphalt driveway.
Picking a product
There are several products you will need when preparing to seal your asphalt.
- Sealing squeegee or roller
- Crack repair products
- Asphalt Driveway Sealer
- Cleanup rags
- Hose or pressure washer
Most of these products can be found at your local hardware store, or warehouse does it youstore. However the products you find there are usually consumer-grade products.
If you choose to contract the sealing out to a local contractor, he will have access to better products than you do. So what do you do to get a great job but save money? Well, you can seal it yourself; however, you will have to purchase commercial-grade products online. For most purposes, buying what you cannot get from your local store will mainly be the sealer itself. Now let’s talk about driveway preparation.
The first thing you will need to do is make sure you are not expecting rain for at least two days before you begin the preparation/ application process. It is important that the ground temperature be at least 50 degrees F. Next you can make sure to have your grass cut back, so it will not interfere with the application process.
The next thing to do is to thoroughly wash your driveway with a garden hose or power washer. You may need to use a commercially available cleaning product and scrub oil stains with a course brush. The idea is to remove as much oil, gas, grease, dirt and broken asphalt as possible. The next thing you should do is fill any large cracks in the asphalt. A good rule of thumb is to fill any cracks larger than 1/8″ wide. Unique crack fillers are available.
My first piece of advice is “wear old clothes”. The sealer is not always water-soluble, and no matter how careful you may try to be, you will get it on you. Now that that is covered, the next thing you need to do is follow the manufacturers’ recommendations about theapplication. However, with that said there are some general guidelines that you may want to follow. After opening the bucket, stir the sealer with a clean stick. Pour a little of the sealer out and try to work on small sections at a time (maybe ten-foot square). There is no need to tackle large sections. Re-stir the sealer to keep a consistent mixture and begin again.
Go slow. Take your time.
Apply thin, overlapping coats of sealer. Try to work your way across your driveway and then back across; not all the way down one side and then back up the other. Make sure to apply just one thin coat. More is not better and if double coats are applied, the sealer could peel. Don’t work yourself into a corner either. When the sealing is all done, make sure to put up barriers so that all access is prohibited. Drying time is often more than 24 hours and try to keep all traffic off the driveway during that time; especially vehicles.
If you follow some of these steps, you will be rewarded with a trouble free application that will make your asphalt driveway look better and last longer.