What is a Driveway Resurfacer?

Dana DeCecco

A driveway resurfacer is a product used to seal and top coat a driveway. Asphalt and coal tar products are used for asphalt driveways. Concrete driveways are normally top coated with acrylic based products. The different products available have certain advantages and disadvantages, including price, durability and environmental factors.

A driveway resurfacer may provide protection from corrosive deicing chemicals, such as calcium chloride.
A driveway resurfacer may provide protection from corrosive deicing chemicals, such as calcium chloride.

Asphalt emulsion driveway sealers contain petroleum byproducts, water, clay and other chemicals. This type of driveway resurfacer is the better environmentally conscious choice because it emits a mild odor and few harmful chemicals. The downside is that asphalt absorbs gas and oil, which might leave stains. It is not resistant to sunlight, and its jet-black color might fade.

Tar can be used when repairing cracked asphalt.
Tar can be used when repairing cracked asphalt.

Coal tar-based sealers last longer than asphalt sealers. They resist water and petroleum products such as gas or oil. Coal tar products resist sunlight and remain black longer. This type of driveway resurfacer is very durable in comparison with asphalt sealers. The downside is that coal tar emits strong odors and might irritate skin.

The best grades of sealers for asphalt driveways contain a higher percentage of solids. The solids help to seal cracks. The formulas vary among different manufacturers as to proportions and types of polymers and chemicals added. The warranty provided by the manufacturer is the best indication of a better quality driveway resurfacer. The more expensive sealers tend to be the better driveway resurfacers.

Concrete driveway sealers can be penetrating resins or film-forming resins that are acrylic based. Acrylic sealers are often combined with epoxies or silicones and provide the best performance for the price. Some types of epoxy and polyurethane sealers build up a thick film. This film might become slippery and not allow moisture to escape from the concrete pad, causing discoloration.

The best concrete driveway sealers might be penetrating sealers. This type of sealer sinks into the concrete below the surface. Penetrating sealers provide a barrier against water, chemicals and deicing salts below the surface. The natural appearance of the concrete can be maintained using this type of driveway sealer.

Driveway resurfacer products do not repair large holes and cracks in the driveway. Before one of these products is applied, the driveway should be cleaned and repaired before applying these products. New concrete and asphalt driveways should be cured before any sealers are applied.

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