Sealcoating your driveway is one of the most effective and economical ways of protecting and extending the lifespan of your driveway. Naturally, asphalt paved surfaces are vulnerable to wear and tear from automobile traffic and weather. This can be even worse if the asphalt grade used to pave the driveway is of a lower quality—which can leave your driveway susceptible to cracking and potholes. In case your asphalt driveway has seen some better days, sealcoating is the best solution to help keep it in a good condition.
Why do you need to sealcoat your driveway?
Helps extend the life of your driveway
Sealcoating gives your asphalt driveway a protective layer—a layer that protects the surface from the elements. Sealcoating is particularly important towards the winter season, which brings precipitation, cold temperatures, and frost. These three elements can easily damage your asphalt surface because of the frequent freeze-and-thaw cycle. But sealcoating gives your asphalt a protective layer, to keep it safe from these elements.
Help prevent high repair and maintenance costs
Failing to sealcoat your driveway leaves it exposed to the harsh elements. This can lead to damages like cracking and potholes. Please note that it’s very costly to repair such damages, and failing to take the necessary measures can force you to replace the entire driveway sooner than you expected. So, how do you avoid such costly expenses? By sealcoating your driveway every 3 – 5 years.
Protects your driveway from water
Water is one of the greatest enemies of asphalt, and failing to sealcoat your driveway leaves it vulnerable to water damage. During the winter, the frequent freeze-and-thaw cycles make this problem worse, particularly when water penetrates the base layer. The free-and-thaw cycles make the cracks larger, thus increasing the possibilities of potholes. However, sealcoating your driveway helps to prevent such damage because the sealant blocks water from penetrating the surface.
Sealcoating improves the curb appeal of your property
The deep, dark color you get immediately after sealcoating your property gives your driveway a better appearance, thus improving the overall curb appeal of your property. Moreover, sealcoating gives your driveway a smooth and non-porous surface, which allows rain to easily wash away the dirt on your driveway. This, in turn, keeps your driveway clean and beautiful.
The best time to sealcoat your driveway
The sealcoating contractors at ABC Paving say that the summer season is the ideal time to seal your asphalt driveway since the temperatures in most places are high, and humidity is low. The early spring temperatures, on the other hand, are a bit cold and can cause the fluids found in the sealant to freeze during the night, thus causing serious problems.
Please note that humidity and temperature are huge determinants of how long it should take for the asphalt sealer to dry and cure. Therefore, the summer season might not be the ideal season, but it provides the best conditions for sealcoating a driveway. This shows the importance of understanding the type of sealant you need to use because it will help you determine if you need to sealcoat your driveway in cooler or warmer weather.
Generally, water-based asphalt sealers like coal tar, acrylic sealers, or asphalt emulsion should be applied when the surface temperature is above 40 degrees F. Because these sealers are water-based, they are likely to freeze. And, in the case of water-based sealer freezes, its properties can be changed, thus damaging the sealant completely.
This is the reason why you shouldn’t sealcoat your driveway during the winter season because of the freezing weather conditions. However, there’s one exception to this—using Gilsonite asphalt sealers—these are solvent-based sealers, and you can apply the sealer at any temperature.
That’s why we advise you to sealcoat your driveway during the summer season because the warm weather conditions allow the surface to cure faster. Most people don’t like to wait for long hours for the surface to cure—normally, they want to use the driveway within 24 hours after the sealant is applied. The less humidity and warmer weather during the summer season allow the sealant to dry and fully cure within a short period. Typically, it takes 48 – 72 hours for the sealer to fully cure when applied at 50 degrees F temperatures.
Watch out for shady areas
When sealcoating your driveway, be mindful of the shady areas on your driveway. The areas with direct sunlight are bound to dry and cure faster than the shaded areas. Thus, you need to consider the time of day when you need to sealcoat your driveway. During the morning hours, your driveway might be covered by shade—and, although this is not a big issue, it might take longer for the driveway to dry.
Consult a professional
Sealcoating asphalt driveway is an important part of driveway maintenance. However, this is not the only way to keep your driveway in a good condition. In case your driveway has already developed cracks, potholes, or other signs of wear and tear, ensure that you repair these issues before applying the sealant. With that said, it’s important to consult a professional contractor, who will not only help to sealcoat your driveway, but also inspect your driveway to see if it requires other urgent repairs before the sealcoating process starts.