One of the easiest ways to protect your asphalt driveway is a seal coat. This thin barrier will help your driveway repel water, gas, oil, and other chemicals that could otherwise penetrate and weaken the asphalt. A seal coat typically lasts 2 to 3 years, though it should be inspected annually. Although your asphalt contractor would be happy to apply a seal coat, enterprising DIY types may prefer to tackle the job themselves. Here are the 7 steps to seal an asphalt driveway.
1. Check the Weather
A seal coat is useless if it gets wet before it has the chance to cure. Pick a week during which mild, dry weather is predicted. It should only take a day to apply the seal coat and another day for it to cure, but preparing the driveway adds time. Look for a clear weather window that is at least 4-5 days long.
2. Trim and Tape the Edges
Cut back all shrubbery that overhangs the driveway. Use an edger to carefully cut the grass along the driveway’s edge. Then use painter’s tape to tape off all surfaces close to the driveway such as brick, gutters, or concrete.
3. Clean the Driveway
With a broom or a leaf blower, carefully remove all leaves, dirt, dust, acorns, and debris from the entire surface of the driveway. Use a degreaser to remove oil stains. Pick all weeds that are growing in cracks. Use a pressure washer with a 15-degree tip to thoroughly wash the driveway, and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.
4. Patch Cracks and Holes
If you have small cracks or holes in your driveway, it’s worth the effort to fix them before applying sealant. For cracks smaller than 1/2”, just grab a bottle of crack filler. Gently squeeze it into the crack, taking care not to overfill. If you do, use a scraper to spread and level the excess. Allow the filler to dry for at least 4 hours, or a bit longer in humid weather. If you have bigger cracks or holes, it is best to hire a professional to fix them.
5. Hand-Seal Around Structures
Start at the top of the driveway, by the house or garage, and work your way to the street. Use a paintbrush to gently cut in around all structures that meet the driveway, such as the garage or sidewalk.
6. Pour a Line of Sealant
Again starting at the top of the driveway, pour a line of sealant the width of the driveway. Use a squeegee at a 45-degree angle to spread the sealant evenly along the surface of the driveway. Watch your pressure. If you push too hard, sealant will work its way over the top of the squeegee. If you push too lightly, you will not achieve an even, thin coating.
Work back and forth from one side of the driveway to the other, pouring more sealant as needed and stepping back now and then to check your work.
Allow to cure for 24 hours before walking on the driveway, and 72 hours before driving on it.
7. Repeat if Needed
If your driveway is old and was not previously sealed, you may need a second coat of sealant. Check the driveway after 24 hours, looking for spots that are thin or uneven. If you see any, repeat the process for an even second coat. Be sure to allow the second coat to dry for 24 hours before walking on it, and 72 hours before driving on it.
Based in Abbotsford, Topwest Asphalt also serves Langley, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge. Are you ready to start your next asphalt project with a team you can count on to do the job right, on time, and on budget? We invite you to call Topwest Asphalt today at 1-800-ASPHALT to discuss your project and schedule an estimate. We look forward to working with you!