Paving For Fun

Driveway Seal Coating Guide

If you have an asphalt driveway, proper maintenance is a key way to keep it in great condition for many years. Seal coating is one of the maintenance tasks that every homeowner needs to be aware of. 

What Is Seal Coating?

Seal coating is a combination of asphalt or tar and acrylic sealers. It is in a semi-liquid state so that it is easy to spread over your existing paving. Seal coating isn't applied at the time of driveway installation. Instead, the first seal coat is typically applied a few months later, after the initial asphalt has fully cured. It is then reapplied periodically for the life of the driveway. 

Why Is It Necessary?

Asphalt is a porous material. Moisture and pollutants can seep into the paving and speed up degradation. Another concern is UV radiation. Heat and sunlight wear away the asphalt and dry it out. Over time, the paving will develop cracks and potholes from the moisture, as well as a faded, granular surface from the sun exposure. Seal coating prevents these issues and helps prolong the life of a driveway. By keeping up with seal coating treatments, you can greatly extend the working life and attractiveness of your driveway.

How Is It Applied?

The driveway is first completely cleaned. Oil and fluid stains have to be removed, and a special primer is applied so that the seal coat will adhere to the stained areas. An initial thin layer of the seal coat is first spread over the entire surface. This dries until tacky, and then the thick final coat is applied. Squeegee-like tools are used to smooth the surface and clean up the edges so that the driveway looks nice. Then the drive is left to fully cure, which can take up to 48 hours. 

When Is Seal Coating Applied?

Timing varies depending on your climate and driveway usage. The more rain, freezing weather, or sun exposure, then the more often you may need to schedule seal coating services. Heavy use of the driveway can also increase the frequency of application. Generally, driveway seal coating is done every two or three years. There are a few signs that it's time to apply seal coating. The paving will seem more absorbent. Instead of beading up on the surface, water will soak into the asphalt. The driveway may also appear more faded or uneven in color. 

Contact a seal coating service in your area if you are ready to add additional protection to your driveway.