As a homeowner, applying sealant is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to prolong the life of your asphalt driveway and enhance its appearance.
Sealing your driveway protects it from harsh weather and oil stains, extends its lifespan, and saves you money on future repairs.
Here at Betz Works, we have more than 30 years of experience in the asphalt industry, and we’ve compiled some of our knowledge into this comprehensive guide, which will teach you how to seal your asphalt driveway.
- To seal an asphalt driveway, prepare the driveway surface, apply the sealant, and allow the sealer to dry and cure. Before you apply an asphalt sealant, take your time to clean and prepare the surface since the sealant will not bond to a dirty driveway.
- For best results, seal your driveway on a day when there is no rain in the forecast for the next 48 hours and temperatures are between 60-90 degrees.
- If your driveway is large or has significant existing damage, consider hiring a professional asphalt paver for driveway sealcoating services.
Before You Get Started
Set yourself up for success by doing these things before you begin the asphalt sealing process:
1. Check weather conditions
It’s crucial to choose a dry, warm day to seal an asphalt driveway.
Opt for a weather window with no rain forecast for at least 48 hours and temperatures between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit, which are ideal for curing.
If you live in an area with lots of morning dew or fog, plan to stop the sealcoating process by 3 pm, so it doesn’t wash off with the next morning’s moisture.
2. Gather your tools and materials
Here’s a list of the essentials you’ll need to seal your driveway:
- Driveway sealer
- Broom or leaf blower
- Crack filler
- Squeegee or sealant brush
- Pressure washer
- Tape (for edging)
3. Make sure you understand the difference between DIY and professional sealing
While a DIY approach to sealing your driveway can be cost-effective and satisfying, it’s not always the best idea.
If you have a large driveway or a driveway with large cracks, sinkholes, or lots of damage, hiring a professional will ensure a more even application and better long-term results.
How to Seal an Asphalt Driveway
Follow this step-by-step guide to seal your driveway like a pro:
1. Prepare the driveway
Before sealing your driveway, the surface needs to be completely clean and prepared. Driveway sealer will not bond to asphalt that’s dirty or covered in debris.
How to do this:
- Clean the surface. Sweep or pressure-wash away leaves, dirt, and buildup. To remove oil stains, apply an oil spot primer with a disposable brush. This is also a great time to tidy nearby shrubs with a trimmer, and make sure to cut grass back from your driveway with an edger.
- Tape adjacent surfaces. Use duct tape to tape concrete surfaces, bricks, and gutters to protect them from sealer.
- Check the angle. Never DIY driveway sealant on a driveway that slopes more than 20 degrees since the sealant will likely ripple or flow off the driveway surface.
- Fix existing cracks. Fill in any cracks and potholes with a suitable crack filler and allow it to cure as per the instructions.
- Move cars, toys, and other gear. Make sure you have a clear surface in which to work by moving cars, trailers, basketball hoops, and other objects off the driveway.
2. Apply the sealant
Applying sealant may seem intimidating, but it’s easier than you might think.
Here’s how to do it like a pro:
- Start applying sealant at the edges. For best results, use a pre-mixed driveway sealer. These sealers can be used right from the bucket – no blending needed – and they’re a great way to ensure consistent texture and composition. Open the bucket of pre-mixed sealer and pour it along your pavement, from one side to the other. Use a squeegee or brush to spread the sealant thinly yet evenly across the surface, starting from the edges of the driveway and ensuring you don’t miss any spots. Work quickly so that each strip of sealant blends seamlessly.
- Apply a second coat. Once the first coat of sealant has dried (minimum drying time is usually at least 8 hours for a first coat), apply a second coat perpendicular to the first layer. Remember – two thin coats of sealant are more durable and protective than a single thick coat!
3. Allow the sealer to dry and cure
Now that you’ve applied the sealant, you need to allow it to dry.
Here are a few tips:
- Be patient and let the sealant dry according to the instructions, usually at least 24 hours. During this time, avoid foot and vehicle traffic.
- Keep cars, bikes, and pedestrians off the driveway for the recommended time to avoid damaging the sealant.
- Keep in mind that sealant may take up to 48 hours to fully cure, depending on weather conditions.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Steering clear of these common mistakes can make the difference between a successful project and a do-over:
- Applying too much sealant. This can lead to long drying times and a sticky surface.
- Skipping the prep work. Not cleaning the driveway properly can result in poor adhesion and render the sealant ineffective.
- Thinking the sealer will fill cracks. Sealer will not fill cracks on its own. You need to use a crack sealer to fill them before applying the sealant.
- Getting impatient. Not allowing enough drying time before using the driveway can ruin the freshly applied sealant.
- Choosing the wrong applicator. Read the directions on the sealer you’ve chosen, and use the exact applicator they recommend. Using a brush if the manufacturer says to use a squeegee, for example, can cause the sealant to fail prematurely.
- Sealing the driveway too often. While it may seem like more is better, using too much sealer will cause the protective surface to flake off. Instead, wait until you start to see the asphalt aggregate below the sealant before you apply another coat.
How to Maintain a Sealed Driveway
The best way to protect your investment and increase the time between seal coats is to maintain the driveway surface once you’ve sealed it. Here’s how:
- Conduct regular cleaning to remove debris.
- Decrease your use of de-icing chemicals, and use a shovel to remove snow and ice instead.
- Inspect for damage routinely to catch any issues early.
- Re-seal as needed; typically, driveways require sealing every two to five years, depending on the traffic and climate conditions.
Are you Looking For an Asphalt Sealing Contractor in Santa Cruz County? We can Help!
A well-executed sealing job enhances your property’s curb appeal and is a smart way to extend your driveway’s lifespan.
If you’d like to hire a professional to help seal your driveway, we’re here for you.
We service customers in and around Monterey County and Santa Cruz County, and we’re happy to help you with your asphalt sealing needs.
Contact us today to request a free estimate: 831-400-8466
1. How long should you wait to seal a new asphalt driveway?
We recommend waiting at least 6-12 months before sealing a new asphalt driveway. This allows the asphalt sufficient time to cure and harden.
Additionally, we recommend allowing asphalt repair products like crack and pothole fillers to cure for six months before you seal your driveway.
2. Why is it important to seal an asphalt driveway?
Sealing an asphalt driveway serves multiple purposes: First, it provides a protective layer that safeguards the asphalt from harmful UV rays and damaging substances like oil and gasoline.
Second, it helps prevent water from seeping into the pavement, which can lead to freeze-thaw damage in colder climates.
Third, it enhances the appearance of your driveway by giving it a fresh, clean look.
With these things in mind, it’s easy to see why sealing your driveway is a beneficial practice that extends the life of your asphalt driveway, saves long-term repair costs, and improves your property’s curb appeal.
3. What is the best sealant to use?
The best driveway sealant for your purposes depends on the specific needs of your driveway and the climate in your region. That said, acrylic resin-based sealers are popular due to their durability, longevity, and superior color enhancement properties.
Another strong contender is coal-tar sealants, known for their resistance to water, oil, and UV damage. However, it’s crucial to note that they are more toxic and banned in some regions.
Lastly, asphalt-based sealants are popular for their ease of application and low cost. Remember to consider your specific situation and conduct adequate research before deciding on the best sealant for your driveway.