Sealing an Asphalt Driveway: FAQ's

Sealing an asphalt driveway increases the life of the driveway, and also makes the driveway look more attractive. Here are few things one needs to know about sealing an asphalt driveway.

Why is it Necessary to Seal an Asphalt Driveway?

When exposed to heat, sunlight, water, salt, wear and tear and other extreme weather conditions, asphalt driveways tend to breakdown and get damaged. If the cracks produced in the driveway are left untreated, the lifespan of the driveway is greatly reduced. When water accumulates in these cracks, the base of the driveway gets weaker, which leads to potholes. In places with cold weather, the water in the cracks freezes causing damage to the driveway. In warm weather, cracks filled with water triggers the growth of grass on the edges. Asphalt driveways also get damaged due to oxidation from the oxygen present in air. Sealing an asphalt driveway protects the driveway from sunlight, UV rays, water, air, cold and other contaminants.

What is the Best Time to Seal an Asphalt Driveway?

When a new asphalt driveway is installed, it is not completely hard. The light weight oils in the asphalt surface evaporate making the driveway harder. It may take around 6 to 9 months for the driveway to completely harden. Hence it is recommended not to apply asphalt sealer on the new driveway for at least 6 to 9 months after the driveway is installed. This is because the sealer blocks the evaporation process and hence the driveway may remain soft.

How Often Should an Asphalt Driveway be Sealed?

Asphalt driveways need to be sealed once in every 3 to 5 years. This again depends on the weather conditions and also wear and tear. If not sealed regularly, asphalt driveways deteriorate, and waiting too long to seal an asphalt driveway decreases the life of the driveway.

What are the Materials Used in Asphalt Driveway Sealers?

Asphalt driveway sealers are commonly made either from asphalt, refined coal tar or by a blend of asphalt and refined coal tar. The sealers with refined coal tar form a barrier blocking the destructive elements in weather, air, sunlight, oils etc. The asphalt sealers are also widely used and effective in protecting the driveways from harmful elements. One of the drawbacks in using asphalt sealers is color fading of the surface due to exposure to sun’s UV rays, dust, oxygen, salts and petrochemicals.  Asphalt sealers are odorless, safe on skin and easy to use.

How to Apply Asphalt Driveway Sealer?

The best time to apply asphalt driveway sealer is on a cloudy day without rainfall. If the sealer is applied on a sunny day, evenly spreading the sealer becomes difficult since the sealer dries quickly. If the sealer is applied on a sunny day, it is better to moisten the driveway with water just before applying the sealer.

Stir the contents of the sealer and begin by applying the sealer to edges of the driveway with brushes. Then pour the sealer on the driveway.  Spread the sealer slowly and uniformly using squeegee. Rollers or brushes cannot be used to apply asphalt sealers.

What is the Time Required for the Sealer to Dry?

It may take around 24 hours for the sealer to dry completely.  The movement of vehicles must be blocked until the driveway is completely dry.

Asphalt driveways are known for their durability and if properly maintained, they can definitely live up to the expectations.