How To Breathe New Life Into Your Asphalt Drive

Sealcoating provides a protective barrier to an asphalt driveway. It can help slow weather and sun damage, while also protecting against oil and other automotive stains. Applying a fresh sealcoat also breathes new life into a worn driveway, making the asphalt look nearly new again. Getting the most out of a sealcoating is a two part process.

#1: Address the Damage

Damage on the asphalt must be addressed before it's sealed. The extent of the repair depends on the type of damage. Following are some examples of common asphalt damage and repair methods:

  • Single cracks. Generally, cracks only require repair if they are more than about 1/2-inch wide. Your driveway technician will fill them with asphalt and level the surface before sealcoating.

  • Multiple cracks. If your driveway has multiple cracks, a condition sometimes called alligatoring, you will be given the option to repair first or to sealcoat and live with the cracks. Your technician can fill the larger cracks, but the smaller cracks will still show through the sealcoat finish. Repairing excessive cracking may require reconstruction of the driveway base, or resurfacing of the drive with a layer of fresh asphalt.

  • Crumbling edges. A crumbling edge is a sign of driveway deterioration. Although you can sealcoat the drive and get several more years of use from it, eventually you will need to have the edges of the driveway base rebuilt and the drive resurfaced. You can slow crumbling in the interim by preventing weed and grass growth near the edge. Also, avoid driving on the edge of the driveway.

#2: Seal It Properly

Sealcoating is typically done every two to four years, depending on your climate and the amount of use your driveway experiences. A properly sealed drive looks wet compared to unsealed asphalt. If the driveway begins to look dry, it's likely time to apply a fresh seal.

You can sealcoat the drive yourself or hire a professional. If you opt to do it yourself, you must make sure there is no dirt or debris on the drive, and that the paving is dry. You will then pour the sealcoating on the driveway in long stripes from edge to edge.

Once in place, smooth out the sealer by using a squeegee on a long pole. You want to smooth it into an even coat. If necessary, use a brush to keep the edges neat. It will take up to two days for the sealer to cure, so avoid walking or driving on the drive until then. For assistance, talk to a professional like Stritar Seal Coating.