Every asphalt driveway and parking lot needs regular sealcoating. This sealant is applied when asphalt is first poured, but it should also be reapplied regularly throughout the years. There are many advantages to driveway sealcoating, but it's especially important to have a driveway regularly coated if you work on tools and lawn care equipment in the drive, if your home is in an area with persistently inclement weather, and if there are no shade trees over your home's drive.
Regular driveway sealcoating provides a protective barrier between asphalt and harsh sunlight, stormy weather, motor oil and corrosive fluids, and other causes of damage. Having this sealant applied to your home's driveway or any asphalt will reduce the number of repairs and patches needed for the pavement, and also allow for a longer time between needed resurfacing.
Since asphalt sealcoating is so essential for any residential driveway or other paved surfaces, you might note some basic information about asphalt and other paving materials, including what causes potholes and similar damage to form eventually. A few tips on protecting your asphalt driveway can also ensure that it lasts as long as possible in between repaving and always looks its best.
In simple terms, asphalt is a combination of gravel and sand mixed with a binder, called asphalt cement. When this binder breaks down, the other materials that make asphalt begin to separate from each other. In turn, the pavement will then develop potholes, chips, cracks, and spalling.
Sealcoating, as the name implies, is the application of a coating that helps to seal asphalt or protect that binder from breaking down. This coating acts as a barrier between asphalt and outside elements that cause corrosion and other damage. The sealant applied during this coating process fills in tiny pits and pores so that water won't seep into those areas and soften asphalt cement, while also deflecting hot sunlight that can cause the asphalt binder to become brittle and break down.
Asphalt sealcoating applied after new asphalt is installed, but not usually on the very same day. You need to wait until the pavement is thoroughly dry or cured before the first application of the sealant is applied. In many cases, this might take a good six months or more!
Most asphalt driveways then need fresh layers of sealant every three or four years. A sealant cannot fix worn asphalt, but it can help keep damaged areas from getting worse. Sealants then allow you to avoid early repairs while also restoring the overall appearance of an asphalt driveway.
While most residential driveways and commercial lots should be sealed every three to four years, it's good to know when your asphalt might need additional sealants and coatings. Consider a few telltale signs that your home's driveway or other such surface is at increased risk of damage:
An asphalt sealant is applied with a brush, roller, or spray. While you might assume you can rent sealcoating equipment and manage the application of this material yourself, note some reasons why it's good to hire a professional to apply this sealant for you:
As with any other professional work you have done around your property, each contractor will have their pricing structure and list of services included in their quote. In general, asphalt sealant application is priced by the square foot and may cost anywhere from fourteen to twenty-five cents per square foot. If a contractor charges twenty cents per square foot, asphalt sealing then costs about $100 per five hundred square feet.
Whatever the cost of asphalt sealant, remember that this coating is an investment in the overall lifespan of your driveway. Investing a few hundred dollars in a sealant can mean avoiding the cost of repaving and resurfacing, which typically costs far more than a sealcoat! Asphalt also looks better after the sealant is applied; the color is often richer and more vibrant, making this sealant well worth any cost for its application.
While a good coat of a quality sealant will help to protect an asphalt driveway or parking lot, sealant doesn't fix specific problems with this paving material. Note a few considerations to remember about maintaining asphalt over time, including what a good sealant won't do for your asphalt, so you know your driveway or your parking lot is always in the best condition possible:
While a sealant is helpful for an asphalt driveway, remember to keep it in good condition by protecting it from oil leaks, salt used to clear snow in wintertime, fertilizers and other chemicals used during summertime, and overly heavy vehicles. A sealcoating contractor can also typically provide specialized or personalized advice for protecting your home's driveway, so you know your paving materials last as long as possible.