Here’s the Deal on Sealing Your Asphalt Driveway

With just a little work, not only will your driveway look like a freshly paved stretch of asphalt, but it also will be protected from wear-and-tear for years to come.

Your driveway is the invitation to your home, and its appearance can make or break your overall landscaping design. There are many different types of driveways from bare dirt to gravel to concrete –  and even to grass. Asphalt, however, is one of the most common materials homeowners choose for their driveways.

 

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An asphalt driveway can last up to 30 years, but will eventually need a little TLC to maintain its pristine appearance. House Tipster has many home improvement professionals to help reseal your asphalt driveway, but if you’re a DIY pro, here’s our simple guide for resealing your driveway. As a note, if you’re unsure you can reseal your driveway safely and properly, be sure to consult a professional.

 

1. Choose Your Sealer

The first step when resealing your driveway is deciding on an asphalt sealer to use. There are numerous types of driveway sealers, all of which have different strengths and weaknesses.

 

The three most common sealers for asphalt driveways:

 

  • Coal tar sealers
  • Asphalt sealers
  • Acrylic sealers

 

Coal tar sealers are made from coal tar, sand, clay, polymers, and other additives that add pliability for better application, as well as for long-lasting protection from harsh weather conditions. Coal tar sealers are generally inexpensive, and can protect your driveway from gasoline and other vehicle fluid stains for years after their application. Use precautions when applying tar sealers, however, because it could possibly damage the surrounding lawn and plants if it’s not applied carefully.

 

Using an asphalt sealer on an asphalt driveway sounds like a no-brainer. An asphalt sealer is just as easy to apply as a coal tar sealer, but unlike coal tar sealers, asphalt sealers are not nearly as harmful to your surrounding lawn and plants.  Unfortunately, these sealers are just as prone to wear-and-tear as an unsealed asphalt driveway, and will usually require resealing within three to four years after its application.

 

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Acrylic sealers are composed of synthetic polymers and acrylics. This composition makes the acrylic sealer the most environmentally friendly option of the three types of asphalt sealers listed above. It also provides the same level of long-lasting protection as the coal tar sealers. The only drawback to acrylic sealers is the slightly higher price.

 

2. Preparations & Scheduling

Once you’ve chosen your driveway sealer, it’s time to make preparations. Before you begin, it’s best to make sure you have the right tools and clothes for the job. Workman’s coveralls and rubber rain boots are generally the best clothes to wear for this job to protect your skin from these sealers. Of course, you should avoid wearing shorts, sandals, or any expensive clothes when resealing your driveway.

 

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As far as tools are concerned, a standard paint roller, mixer, and a few disposable brushes are the required tools for this project. Other helpful tools are a garden-variety leaf blower, weed whacker, and a power washer. Both the leaf blower and power washer will be used to clear away dirt and debris from your driveway to make sure it’s clean and ready to be sealed.

 

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You’ll want to make sure to start your work early in the day on a clear day. If you see rain clouds, you should wait until a clear forecast to reseal your driveway.  

 

3. Getting Started

First, use the weed whacker to trim the edges of your lawn if it the lawn is next to your driveway. Next, take your leaf blower and clear the area of any grass, leaves, or other debris. Finally, you’ll want to pull out any grass or weeds growing through the cracks of the driveway.

 

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Once the weeds and grass have been cleared away, it’s time to give your driveway a good strong cleaning with the power washer to get the deeply-embedded dirt out. Afterwards, sweep away the pools of sitting water, and let it dry.  

 

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4. Sealing the Deal

Now that your driveway is ready for sealing, there’s just one final step to take before you apply the asphalt sealer. You’ll want to inspect any cracks or breaks in the asphalt, and apply a filler before applying the sealer. And now, with all the cracks filled, your driveway is ready to be sealed!

 

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Photo by dreamstime
 

 

Begin by using the disposable brushes to carefully coat the edges of your driveway so as not to spill any sealer on your grass. Start off by pouring the sealer onto the pavement in small portions, and apply it evenly by spreading it out over the asphalt in a cross-section pattern with the paint roller, thus allowing for an even distribution. Once the sealer is evenly applied, you’ll want to wait a minimum of 1 hour before walking on it. You should wait at least 10 hours before parking your car on your freshly-sealed driveway.

 

With just a little work, not only will your driveway look like a freshly paved stretch of asphalt, but it also will be protected from wear-and-tear for years to come. If you’re not a DIY weekend warrior, House Tipster has a ton of local professionals in your area to help get the job done. Click here to start browsing!

 

For more articles about exterior home improvements read on to 6 Tips for Aerating Your Lawn.