Seal coating your driveway is important to keeping it in good shape for years to come. Without sealant, asphalt will become progressively harder and more brittle with exposure to the elements; in addition, dirt, water, and even oil and gas from vehicles can get into the porous asphalt and break it apart from the inside.
However, it's not as simple as just throwing a coat of sealant on top. If you're going to have your driveway sealed, there are some things you need to know first.
The Right Age
The same process that causes unsealed asphalt to grow hard and brittle is actually beneficial during the first year after asphalt pavement is laid. During this time, the asphalt gradually cures to a surface that is durable yet flexible. Applying sealant too early will preserve the asphalt in a softer state. That's why you should wait until new asphalt is a year old before having it sealed.
In order for the sealant to adhere properly to the asphalt, it's crucial that the surface of the asphalt is clean and dry. This means that you'll probably need to wash your driveway before sealant is applied. Luckily, this isn't difficult to do. First, sweep away any debris with a broom. Then wet the surface of the asphalt, scrub away any visible stains or dirty areas with detergent, and rinse the surface clean with your hose. Doing this during dry weather is best so that the asphalt will dry quickly.
If there's any damage to the surface of the asphalt, you'll need to have this fixed before seal coating as well. If the surface is cracked or has holes in it, call a contractor about having them filled. Otherwise, they will compromise the surface of the asphalt, making the sealant pointless – which means you'll just have to reseal once the surface is fixed.
In most parts of the country, summer is the best time to seal a driveway. How long this window of opportunity lasts, of course, depends on the climate in your area. If the temperature is too low when the sealant is applied – which means it drops below 50 in the 24-hour period after application – then the sealant may not dry properly.
In addition, when the weather is rainy or foggy, this can wash sealant off the surface before it has a chance to dry. Ideally, you want to have your driveway sealed when the weather is hot and dry.
For more information or assistance, contact a construction company such as Norwest.