Driveway sealing isn't rocket science. Still, having basic knowledge about what driveway sealing does and why it's important will help you care for your new driveway after the asphalt paving contractors have finished their work.
Why You Should Seal
Asphalt driveways are naturally very porous. When precipitation soaks the ground beneath the driveway, it's absorbed by the asphalt. During freeze/thaw cycles, this moisture in the driveway can cause the pavement to crack and become discolored. Driveway sealing materials close off the pores in the driveway and prevent the cracking and discoloration.
When You Should Seal
After pavement has been installed, it needs to go through a hardening process known as curing. Sealing the driveway in the first year after the installation can interfere with the asphalt's ability to properly cure. To ensure that the driveway hardens properly, wait at least 1 year after paving before sealing the driveway.
How You Should Seal
Asphalt driveways can be sealed as a part of a DIY project or they can be professionally sealed. Both are acceptable. DIY sealing is less expensive, but hired contractors may know special tricks for getting the job done right, and can work with professional-grade sealing chemicals. If you choose to seal your own driveway, follow these tips:
- Clear off any debris and dirt on the driveway. Use a broom to remove leaves and twigs. If the driveway has caked-on dirt, spray it down and wash it away a few days before going through the sealing process, to ensure that the driveway will be dry by the time you're ready to seal it.
- Check the weather forecast. You'll need two days of dry weather before you can apply the sealant.
- Lay duct tape over the edges of the driveway in areas where the asphalt borders with other paving materials like concrete. This will prevent the sealant from running outside the boundaries of the driveway.
- Put plastic bags over your shoes, or change into rubber galoshes.
- Pour a gallon or two of sealant across the width of the driveway at the back near the garage.
- Use the squeegee to move the sealant around so it coats the pavement with a thin, even layer.
- Move down a few feet and pour another gallon or two of sealant onto the driveway.
- Spread the sealant around using the squeegee.
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 until the driveway is fully sealed.
Following these steps, you should be able to protect your driveway from moisture and prevent cracking. If you're not up to sealing the driveway for yourself, contact a driveway sealing professional like Asphalt Maintenance.