By Theodora Sarah Abigail
For new homeowners who aren't familiar, sealcoat (or pavement sealer) is a liquid coating mixture that's usually applied to asphalt-based pavement. When moving into your new house, fixing the driveway might not be high on your list of priorities. In fact, you might even be asking yourself: Is sealcoating really necessary for my home?
If you’ve made an investment by purchasing a house, you want to take great care of it, right? You spend hours picking the perfect colors to match your sheets, and every Sunday you bring out the vacuum to suck dirt and debris. You might even spend money trimming your trees and bushes to keep them looking lovely.
When you think about it, your driveway takes up much of your front yard. A cracked, dirty, and faded driveway just doesn’t match with clean, polished cars. Here are some reasons why you should invest in a sealcoat for your driveway.
1. Maintain its Appearance
Your driveway takes up space. It’s where cars are parked and where children play during the sweltering summer months. If it isn’t well-maintained, it can have a detrimental effect on your house’s appearance. Asphalt driveways are prone to cracking, fading, and other signs of distress. It doesn’t look good to anyone! Cracks in the asphalt can even lead to accidents.
A sealcoat sits on top of a driveway and acts as a barrier for it. Its deep black color looks regal and strong. The coat prevents water, car fluids, water, the sun, salt, and other chemicals from warping the color or eating away at the driveway. And a sealcoat will prevent weeds from growing in the asphalt. That means no more getting down on hands and knees just to clean those irritating weeds!
New sealcoat, when applied, looks bold and dark. It improves the appearance of both new and old asphalt, adding a pop of vibrancy to your house that you may not have expected.
2. Prevent Cracks
Sometimes, your new home comes with cracks in the pavement. You might be inclined to think, “Well, the previous owner seemed just fine with these cracks. The driveway looks good enough.” Don’t settle for mediocrity—you deserve the best!
Water that seeps into the base material can cause small cracks to widen. Sealcoating your driveway properly will prevent that. Any minor cracks and rough patches can be smoothed over, and if there's any dirt on your driveway, the rain can easily wash it away. That's because sealcoat is a non-porous, smooth surface.
3. Protect the Asphalt
The sun can burn our skin, but did you know it can also harm your driveway? Surface voids on asphalt can absorb oxygen and UV rays. The radiation from the sun can warp the asphalt and cause the color to fade quickly. On top of that, pockets of surface void allow oil or gas to penetrate.
Chemical spills can also worsen your driveway's condition. With a thick layer of sealcoat, you'll be able to prevent (or at the very least, minimize) the harmful effects of spills and the sun. By lowering the rate of water absorption (the water will run right off), sealcoating minimizes the risks of damage due to water, snow, and freezing. There are many things that can destroy your driveway: gas, diesel fuel, salt, chemicals, oil, and ice. It's better to prevent these from attacking your driveway so that you won't have to risk costly damage control.
4. It's Strong
Sealcoat helps attract heat from sunlight and becomes more pliable when hot. Instead of the asphalt cracking at high temperatures, the sealcoat will mold to shape. If you have guests over, the asphalt won’t waver under the combined weight of the cars. That’s because the sealcoat will be there to protect it.
5. It Saves Money
Sealcoating can be done as a weekend DIY project, or you can hire someone to do it for you. A DIY sealcoat project should cost about $50 to $200. It all depends on the size of your driveway. On the other hand, hiring a professional is probably safer. It would cost about $200 to $500. If you choose to hire a company or a person, you can be assured that they'll be more familiar with good products. Different products work better in certain areas (because of the temperature and climate), and a professional will know which sealants are best avoided.
Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire someone else, sealcoating your driveway is far cheaper than spending hundreds of dollars trying to repair or even replace your driveway's asphalt!
If you allow moisture to seep into the driveway, you might not notice at first. But after weeks, the quickened deterioration will begin to show as your asphalt becomes more and more distressed. It’s much easier to prevent the issues instead of scrambling to find someone who can quickly fix the asphalt! Just make sure that you wait 90 days after setting a new asphalt driveway to apply the sealcoat.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com