Sealing a driveway is one way to ensure that it remains beautiful and protected for years. There are a number of different brands and types of driveway sealants available on the market, and the best advice for sealing driveways is to read all labels and follow all of the directions. Some general tips for sealing driveways, however, include choosing the right time, preparing the surface properly, and following the proper safety precautions.
Proper timing is one of the most important factors when it comes to sealing a driveway. Sealing a concrete driveway can be done much sooner than sealing an asphalt driveway. Typically sealer can be applied to concrete a few weeks after it has been installed. Sealing an asphalt driveway, on the other hand, should be put off until the asphalt is completely cured, which can take months. As a general rule, an asphalt driveway is often ready to be sealed when water stops forming beads on the surface of the driveway.
Concrete driveways should typically be sealed every three to five years, on average. Sealing a driveway made of asphalt should be done every two to five years. Determining the length of time between each sealing can be a bit tricky, but it depends largely on the weather. In areas with harsher, colder, or wetter climates, a driveway may need to be sealed more often, while driveways in dryer climates may not necessarily need to be sealed as much. Not reapplying sealer often enough can leave a driveway with inadequate protection, but reapplying too often can cause the sealer to peel and crack.
When sealing a driveway, it is recommended to be aware of the weather forecast. Warmer, dryer weather is best, and many experts suggest that temperatures should stay between 65 and 90 degrees F (18.3 and 32.2 degrees C) for at least 24 hours before, during, and after application. Temperatures that are either too high or too low can possibly cause the new sealant to cure improperly. Also, there should be no rain in the forecast for at least a day or two, as this can also cause problems with the sealer drying or curing properly.
Preparing the driveway for sealing is an important step that should never be overlooked. First, repair larger cracks in a driveway prior to sealing. Thoroughly cleaning the driveway is next, and this can be accomplished with a push broom, garden hose, or pressure washer. Stubborn oil or grease stains should be removed using special cleaner or detergent and a stiff bristle or wire brush, if necessary. Not only will the oil leave ugly stains, but it may prevent the driveway sealer from sticking to the surface, resulting in peeling.
Although it may seem like it would add extra protection, applying thick layers of driveway sealer is not recommended. Doing this can result in peeling or an ugly surface. Instead, with most brands of driveway sealant, it is recommend that one to two thin layers be applied, with a certain amount of drying time between each layer.
Finally, it is strongly advised that individuals take the proper precautions when sealing a driveway. Harsh chemicals and components of these sealers can be dangerous, and protective clothing should be worn at all times. This includes gloves and goggles. Also, when sealing a driveway, fumes of these products should not be inhaled, as this can possibly lead to some respiratory problems.