How to Seal a Driveway

How to Sealcoat a Driveway

Asphalt is of the most popular paving materials making up thousands of driveways across the country. Asphalt driveways are popular due to their affordability, versatility, and longevity, but did you know a few simple steps could add years to your asphalt driveway?
It’s weird to think that a mix of substrate and oil needs maintenance, but there are a few things homeowners can do to revitalize their asphalt driveway, including sealing it. Let’s learn more about why you should sealcoat, how to seal blacktop, and other tips from paving pros. One simple act can add years to your blacktop, so why aren’t you sealcoating?

Why You Should Seal Your Asphalt

Why should you seal your asphalt? For longevity and appearance. The sun’s rays are filled with harmful UV radiation, which ages your blacktop over time. A regular sealcoat can help defend your driveway against harmful UV rays, other elements like snow and ice, and can add years to your blacktop.

Sealing Asphalt and Temperatures

Unfortunately, you can’t put down sealant whenever you want due to temperature’s effects on asphalt sealant. What temperature you need depends on whom you ask, but most asphalt pavers agree that temperatures need to be above 40 degrees at a minimum and generally in the 50s to 60s for the best job.

Your asphalt sealer manufacturer will also list their minimum temperature on the instructions. Always follow minimum temperature requirements, or you’ll be left with a sticky mess and expensive repair. Concerned about temperature and getting the job done right? Allow a professional, like Colorado Pavement Solutions, to seal your driveway. They’ll choose the right materials and temperature for the best possible sealcoat.

How to Seal Coat a Driveway

Step 1 – Before you apply any sealant to your asphalt driveway, you need to prepare the surface. This includes making any small repairs, cleaning off any oil stains, and removing all dust and debris from your driveway. Only a clean, dry surface will handle a new sealant.
Begin by using a broom or blower to remove all dirt, dust, and debris from the driveway. Follow up your sweep with a hose on high pressure or a pressure washer on its lowest setting to take care of any leftover dirt or dust.
Once your driveway is clean, use cold mix asphalt and/or an asphalt repair kit to patch any small cracks or divots. Substantial damage should be handled by a professional. Allow your repairs time to cure before sealing.
Pay special attention to the border of your asphalt. Does it run into a brick? Are there any plants sloping over onto your pavement? Remove any organic matter on the edges of your asphalt and run a protective tape around any areas that connect to your asphalt like sidewalks or retaining walls.
Pro Tips: Have a stubborn oil stain? Refer to our article on how to clean oil stains off asphalt for the best possible cleaning job

Step 2 – Open your sealer and remove the lid completely. Leaving the cover on can mess up your pour line and could cause you to drop the bucket, trust us – take off the entire top.
Pro Tip: Sealant from “big box” repair places like Home Depot or Lowe’s is generally poor quality. Look to a professional to find the best sealant or let the pro use their industry-grade sealcoat for a beautiful job.

Step 3 – Slowly begin pouring the sealant onto your asphalt. All driveways are different, but ideally, you want to start at the house or garage and move towards the street. Pour the sealant in a six-inch bead a few feet at a time.
Pro Tip: Don’t let your sealant buckets get trapped. Stage the buckets downhill so you can grab them as you work.

Step 4 – Use a paving squeegee or broom to coat the blacktop driveway sealing into your asphalt evenly. Work in an overlapping pattern like you would for staining wood or mopping your kitchen to get full and even coverage.
Pro Tip: You won’t be able to go back to an area, so work slowly and double-check your coat before you start the next pour. Take care of any puddles, bare spots, or problem areas before they come inaccessible.

Step 5 – Continue working side to side, and down until you reach the street.

Step 6 – Your blacktop sealant needs time to dry and cannot handle any foot or vehicle traffic. Block off your driveway to ensure no one ruins your brand-new sealing job.

Step 7 – Allow the sealant to dry for 24 hours.

Step 8 – For extra protection, repeat steps 2 through 6 again. A second coat isn’t necessary but is recommended for added defense.

Common DIY Blacktop Driveway Sealing Mistakes

It’s easy to make mistakes while sealing your blacktop. Try to avoid common errors like:

  • Sealing with low temperatures
  • Not coating evenly
  • Using low-grade sealant
  • Assuming the sealant will fill any cracks or damage

How Much Does It Cost to Seal a Driveway Professionally?

Always get a quote from a local asphalt paving professional before you choose a DIY seal. It’s normally less expensive to do the job yourself, but you might be surprised by the affordability of a professional job. If you want to be sure the job is done right, get a quote from an asphalt professional on sealcoating.

Get Sealing

By properly preparing the surface, taking your time, and keeping your eye on details you can seal your blacktop on your own and save some money. Always be careful during fall and winter jobs and call a professional for a quote before doing the job yourself.

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