Just like every other part of your home, your asphalt driveway needs proper upkeep and maintenance and will eventually need to be replaced. In order to keep your asphalt driveway lasting as long as possible, you need to sealcoat it properly, and at the right time. You can hire an asphalt paving contractor to sealcoat your driveway, or, if you are handy, you can do it yourself. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when you are sealcoating your asphalt driveway on your own.
You need to seal your asphalt driveway after it has been poured. However, you don't want to sealcoat it too soon. If you sealcoat your asphalt driveway too soon, the asphalt will not have cured and set properly, and the sealcoating may not be effective. Wait for a few weeks after your driveway has been laid to sealcoat it; that will give it a chance to become hard.
Before you set out sealcoating your driveway, check the weather. You want to ensure that it won't be raining a few days after you apply the sealcoat. The sealcoat, like that asphalt driveway itself, needs time to set. If it rains soon after you seal it, it will wash away the sealcoat, rendering it useless. Humidity levels are less important, as mild dampness in the air can help the sealcoating penetrate the asphalt more effectively.
You can't just apply a sealcoat on your asphalt driveway with no preparation. You need to ensure that the driveway is clean of oil, debris, weed, and dirt and ensure that any cracks have been repaired. If there is oil on your driveway, use an asphalt cleaner specifically designed to clean up oil stains. If oil is trapped between the sealant and the asphalt, it will slowly eat away at the asphalt, rendering your sealcoat useless.
Your driveway should be cleaned with a pressure washer, removing any dirt. You should also pull any weeds. You don't want to seal in dirt and plants to your driveway, as this can break down the asphalt over time.
If you notice large cracks in your asphalt driveway, ensure that you repair them before you sealcoat it. You can use patching compounds to repair small cracks in the asphalt. There is no point in sealcoating over cracks and breaks, as sealcoating should be used to prevent cracks and breaks. Sealcoating might prevent cracks and breaks from spreading and becoming worse, but they will need to be repaired eventually.
Determine the Right Sealcoat
There are two main types of sealcoats, coal tar sealers and asphalt emulsion sealers, and you need to decide which one is best for your driveway. If you work on cars in your driveway often, you have leaky cars, or live in an area with harsh weather, your best bet is a coal tar sealer. This type of sealant is especially resistant to these things but tends to be smellier when its applied and harsher to your skin if your skin is exposed to it.
Asphalt emulsion sealers are less harsh and easier to apply; however, they offer less protective measure against damaging oil and gas. They also tend to fade out faster than coal tar sealers, and you will have to sealcoat your asphalt driveway more often if you choose this type of sealant.
Regardless of if you have an older or newer asphalt driveway, you need to ensure that you maintain it properly be sealcoating it when it needs it, as well as keeping an eye out for signs of aging and wear and replacing it at the proper time. Keeping on top of your asphalt driveway maintenance will save you time, money and grief in the long run.
For more tips, or if you'd rather not take on the job yourself, you can contact a local asphalt company like Lakeridge Paving Company.