A durable and sustainable driveway requires a solid foundation, which includes the use of different materials and equipment such as asphalt, stones, and mini asphalt pavers. But making an asphalt that lasts longer may need an entirely different procedure. That process is called seal coating.
Seal coating refers to the application of an extra protective coating over concrete or asphalt pavement, preventing natural elements such as air, water, and sun to permeate it.
Benefits of Seal Coating
- Protects pavement from fuel, oil, and other petroleum products
- Prevents hairline cracks from getting bigger
- Delays the deterioration of the asphalt
- Prolongs pavement life
- Enhances traction
- Allows easy pavement cleaning
- Provides a uniform color
When Should You Seal Your Driveway?
Seal-coating the driveway is recommended every three to five years. And hot weather has always been the ideal season for it, as it helps the sealant dry faster. But not to worry, if you miss it in summer, you will still have the entire fall season to seal your driveway and protect it from winter. Freezing and thawing during the cold season can easily result in cracks and holes.
Check out the common mistakes one should avoid when applying a sealer:
- Relying on the sealer to fill in the cracks instead of filling and patching them properly beforehand
- Applying a sealer without cleaning the driveway. Dirt and dust reduce the sealer’s ability to stick with the asphalt.
- Not blending the water and solid content properly
- Failure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer (e.g. using incorrect applicator)
The Seal-coating Project: Eight Steps
1. Buy the right material
Premium products remain the most cost-effective sealer. They are made of high-quality resin, elastomeric materials, and UV stabilizers, making them last longer. But if you plan on doing only a little renovation, for the purpose of putting up your house for sale, bargain products would do.
There are two different formulas for seal coating: for a new driveway and the unmaintained old driveways. Refer to the manufacturer’s label at the back. In terms of the applicator, it’s important to use the correct one, as using the wrong applicator may result in premature failure.
2. Clean and prime the driveway
Use a soap nozzle or garden hose to clean the pavement. Remove the dirt and light deposits that get stuck in between the cracks with a push broom. Even if the driveway seems clean, there might still be some oily film hiding in there.
3. Rinse with a strong stream
Use a strong stream of water to wash off the dirt and soap residue after cleaning the pavement. Do another round with clean water to ensure that there’s no remaining residue. Finally, let it dry completely before giving it a final sweep.
4. Use oil spot primer
The mixture used to improve the strength of the asphalt-based concrete is called an “oil spot primer.” It prepares the concrete for a new sealant covering. Apply it to the damaged areas using a chip brush. For heavier stains, you may need to apply a second coating.
5. Mask, stir, and trim
Start stirring the mixture with a mixing paddle. Beginning from the top of the pail then slowly lower it until it settles at the bottom of the content. Cycle the mixing paddle as it spins to achieve a smooth consistency. Use poly sheets during the mixing process to avoid spills, as they will show through the seal later.
6. Cut in the edges
Coat and cut in all the four edges of the driveway with a dashing brush. Apply generously as you also want it to fill in the cracks.
7. Stage the pail and pour the sealer
This simply means estimating the coverage of the pail to avoid having to move back and forth to get to the next pail.
Driveway sealers are easy to splash elsewhere, and they’re hard to remove when they get onto your shoes and clothes. Wear worn-out clothing and use poly sheets to protect the garage door and wall.
Finally, when done staging the pail, start pouring the sealer over the driveway, beginning from the top left to the right corner.
8. Spread the sealer
Using a squeegee start spreading the puddle across the surface of the driveway. Maintain a balanced pressure on the squeegee to layer the sealer as evenly as possible.
Continue to work back and forth until the entire driveway is covered. Apply the second coating the next day and wait until it completely dries up before using it.
Applying a sealer properly can make the asphalt last for up to 30 years. If you haven’t yet, you still have enough time to do it before winter sets in.