An asphalt driveway is made up of small rocks mixed with an asphalt binder. As the driveway ages, the asphalt is worn away from the surface. Water can then get into the driveway and break it apart. Sealcoat will restore the surface asphalt and prevent this from happening, significantly extending the life of your driveway.
I apply asphalt driveway sealer every two years. It takes me about 4 hours from start to finish and I save money and do a better job by doing it myself. Here are the steps I use to apply the driveway sealer.
Things You'll Need
- Water-based driveway sealer.
- Driveway sealer squeegee.
- Disposable paint brush.
- Stir stick.
- Driveway patch (if needed).
- Crack filler (if needed).
PURCHASE MATERIALS -- You will need enough sealer to cover your driveway, and an applicator to spread it. I used 4 buckets of sealer on the driveway in the main picture. This is the second time I have applied sealer, so I needed less than the 6 buckets for the first time. Buy a couple more buckets that you think you'll need - you can always return them later if unopened.
Don't wear clothing you don't want to damage. These sneakers have been through a couple sealcoat missions.
CHOOSE PROPER WEATHER -- Ideally, you want a cloudy day in the 70s with no rain in the forecast for 24 hours, but you can still spread it down to about 55F. Hot, sunny weather will make spreading the sealcoat difficult as it dries too quickly. If you must spread on a hot, dry day, mist the driveway with water before you spread the sealer.
CLEAN DRIVEWAY -- Trim grass around the edges to expose the sides of the driveway. I also spray herbicide on any plants growing close to or in the edges of the driveway. Then I hose off my driveway with a 1/4" 'sweeper' nozzle like this. Get dirt, loose asphalt and debris out of any cracks or holes.
REPAIR DRIVEWAY -- Cracks are simple to repair with a bottle of crack filler that you pour into the crack. Larger gaps or holes must be filled with an asphalt patching material. You can usually find these at the same place you buy the sealer from.
STIR SEALER -- Open a sealer bucket and stir it well. The contents will have separated and need to be mixed together again. It should be the consistency of a black, tarry milk shake. Yum.
APPLY SEALER TO EDGES -- I used a disposable paintbrush like this to dab the sealer onto the edges of the driveway. It's difficult to get the sealer over the driveway edges with the large spreader, and this way you can make sure any grass is pulled out and small cracks are filled in.
CUT IN AROUND WALKWAY AND GARAGE -- I also use the brush to edge around objects like our brick walkway and the garage opening. You don't have to do this, but it makes the job much neater-looking.
POUR SEALER ON DRIVEWAY -- Once the edges are complete, you can pour out a ribbon of sealer across the driveway. Try to work in small (10' wide) sections so that the sealer does not dry out too much before you're done spreading it.
SPREAD SEALER -- Using the squeegee or a broom, spread out the sealer slowly and evenly. If you go too fast, the thick sealer will not ooze into the small cracks and between the stones as well. You really want a pretty smooth surface when done.
CONTINUE FROM HIGH TO LOW POINTS -- Continue working down the driveway from the highest to lowest point, a section at a time, blending the sections together. Great job!
Tips & Warnings
- I use water-based sealer because it's easier to clean up and there is less smell than an oil-based sealer.
- Photo Credit Bryan Cass, latexite.com
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