Asphalt driveways are known to last a very long time. In fact, they have a life span of just under 30 years. However, getting the most out of your asphalt driveway requires correct installation and regular maintenance. This includes filling in cracks every year and sealing your driveway whenever necessary.
The preparation process for sealing a driveway is quite involving and usually takes a full day – this includes drying time. Applying the driveway sealant is a much quicker process and only takes a few hours per coat for most driveways. Typically, sealer manufacturers recommend that at least two coats of sealer applied and a minimum of eight hours drying time for each seal coat. This makes it a perfect weekend project.
Some homeowners opt to hire a professional to seal their driveways. However, with some basic driveway sealing equipment, you can save significantly on your driveway. Some tools that make the job easier are a power washer, which helps speed up the cleaning process. This is an optional tool if you want to have the job completed in a shorter amount of time. Other items you will need are:
- A Squeegee or Application Brush
- A Broom
- A Drill
- A Mixing Paddle
- Duct Tape
- A Dashing Brush
- Poly Sheeting to Protect Painted Surfaces
One of the key things to remember when preparing to seal your driver is to buy the right materials for your needs. There are many tools on the market that range in cost and quality. Make sure you buy exactly what you need. Some products contain close to 50 percent water and are therefore of lesser quality.
While they may be cheaper upfront, such products prove not to be as cost-effective in the long run. It’s best to go with premium products that do come at a higher cost, however, they contain high quality resins and UV stabilizers and contain filler and elastomeric material. These types of products will ensure longer results.
Also note that there are different sealing products that manufacturers make specifically for driveways in different conditions. For example, a new driveway that is in good condition may require one particular type of formula that works best on newer driveways, while another formula may be better suited for older driveways that have not been maintained well. Take the time to read the labels carefully to choose the right asphalt sealer for your driveway.
Driveway sealing mistakes
Some of the common driveway sealing mistakes people make are:
- Relying on The Sealer to Fill in Cracks – driveway sealer is not designed to seal cracks and if you try to use it for this purpose, it will lead to even problems. All cracks should be filled in properly prior to applying driveway sealer.
- Not Cleaning or Properly Prepping the Driveway Before Applying the Sealer – it’s important that you spend time cleaning the driveway and preparing it before beginning any sealing work. This is because asphalt sealers are not designed to stick on the dirt that may be on a driveway and the application will be ineffective.
- Failing to Stir Properly – having a consistent mixture is extremely important for the successful application of asphalt sealing. If you rely on a stir stick, you won’t be able to get the water and the solids to blend together properly.
- Using the Wrong Applicator – it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. If you are instructed to use a squeegee but use a brush instead, you may interfere with how the sealer works and render it ineffective.
- Sealing a Driveway Too Frequently – this will cause the sealer to begin to flake. A good indication that it is time to apply asphalt sealer is when the asphalt aggregates. Wait until you begin to see this happening, then apply a fresh seal coat.
How to Seal Driveway (Step by Step)
1. Cleaning and priming
Using the soap nozzle on the power washer or a garden hose applicator, apply the driveway cleaner and scrub the entire driveway using a stiff-bristle push brush. Your driveway may look clean, but exhaust gas may drip from your car and create an invisible film on your driveway. This, along with dirt and tree sap, need to be removed for your sealer to stick.
2. Rinse Off Your Driveway
Thoroughly flush your driveway using a strong stream of water from your garden hose. Then rinse your driveway with water and let it dry completely before proceeding to apply the sealer. Once it is dry, use a push broom for one final sweep.
3. Apply Primer to Oil Stains
Wondering how to remove oil stains from asphalt driveway? Look for damaged areas on your driveway and pour the oil spot primer on these areas, brushing it into the pores using a disposable chip brush. If you have heavy stains, apply a second coat and let the primer dry completely before applying the driveway sealer.
Begin the mixing paddle near the top of the pail and slowly work your way through the contents of the pail through to the bottom. Make sure you are mixing it up and down as it spins so that the water and the solids mix together to create a smooth consistency. cover the area of the driveway directly under the pale with poly sheeting to protect that area from any spills.
5. Cut in The Edges
Using the dashing brush, dip it into the sealer and apply an ample amount of coating to all four edges of your driveway.
6. Stage the Pails
Strategically place the pails along the driveway so you won’t have to walk over wet sealant to get the next pail. Make sure that you use poly sheeting to protect your garage doors and sidewalks.
7. Pour Sealant onto Driveway
Begin at the top of the driveway in either the left or right corners and pour the sealer in an upside-down U pattern.
8. Spread the Sealer
Beginning with one leg of your upside-down U, spread the sealant using even pressure. This is where your squeegee or broom will come in handy. Work your way to the bottom of the driveway.
Applying driveway sealer goes a long way in maintaining your driveway. It seals the pores and prevents water from penetrating your driveway. Water can do a lot of damage due to freeze/thaw cycles that are very detrimental to asphalt driveways. Chemicals can be equally as damaging. Applying good quality driveway sealers can extend the life of your driveway.