The best way to ensure that your asphalt driveway has a long working life is to apply a seal coating every few years. A seal coat is made up of asphalt tar and various epoxies. It fills in the pores on the asphalt to create a water-tight seal that slows down weathering damage and prevents stains from leaking auto fluids or other spills.
1. Weed Cleanup
Weeds and grass can invade the small cracks in your driveway, or they may be growing up and over the edges of the asphalt. A seal coat can't be properly applied over these areas until the weeds are removed. Turf must be cut back so it doesn't cover the edges of the asphalt, so edging thoroughly around the driveway is necessary. Weeds growing in cracks on the driveway surface can be pulled out or you can kill them with a contact herbicide.
2. Deep Cleaning
You don't want dirt and debris trapped in the seal coat layer — not only does it look bad but it can also interfere with proper adhesion between the seal coating and the asphalt. The ideal way to clean the drive in preparation for sealing is with a pressure washer. The high-pressure water will remove ground-in dirt and grime, as well as any algae or moss growing on the surface. Steam cleaning to bring out oil and fluid stains may also be necessary.
3. Damage Repair
Any cracks or potholes must be repaired properly before the seal coat is applied, but after the driveway has been cleaned. Small cracks will be filled with flexible asphalt repair epoxy. Larger cracks and potholes must first be cleared of loose gravel and other debris. Then hot asphalt will be poured into the damaged area to fill it. The hot asphalt will bond with the surrounding paving to create a permanent patch. Seal coating will help the patch blend into the surrounding pavement.
4. Seal Application
The actual application goes quite quickly. The seal coat is poured in batches across the driveway, and then the asphalt technicians will spread it evenly over every inch of the driveway. The first coat is allowed to cure for several hours, and then a second coat is applied.
5. Curing Time
It's a wise idea to stay off the paving until the seal coat has cured sufficiently. Foot traffic across the driveway can typically resume within a day, and vehicle traffic within approximately two days depending on how the weather affects curing time. Your seal coat contractor will let you know how long to expect the curing time to take.
Contact an asphalt seal coating service to learn more.