Asphalt driveways take a serious beating from the elements. Without proper upkeep, your driveway will fade and deteriorate from exposure to the sun, freeze and thaw cycles, and exposure to chemicals. Filling in holes and cracks and seal-coating will help to prolong the life of your asphalt driveway.
In this blog post, we will cover:
- Planning your project
- Cleaning, degreasing, and surface repairs
- Stirring the driveway sealer before using
- Applying the driveway sealer
Planning Your Project
Before you can crack open your pail of driveway sealer, you need to watch the weather forecast and plan accordingly. The sealer should not be applied if the nighttime temperatures will fall below 50°F or if rain is predicted within 24 hours of application. Irreparable damage to the curing film may result. Best results are achieved with temperatures of 70°F to 90°F during application. Cooler temperatures and/or high humidity may lengthen the overall cure time. To optimize drying during daylight hours, it is helpful to apply the sealer early in the day.
Each 5-gallon pail will cover approximately 350–450 square feet. Please note that you are applying too thinly if you get too much coverage; conversely, too little coverage may mean you applied too thick unless your surface is very rough or very porous.
Always buy more sealer than you need, for a few important reasons:
1) If you run short and need to stop to get more, the sealer already applied will cure, and there will be a visible line where you stopped to get more sealer.
2) The application temperature and other conditions will be different when you re-start, creating another “change” in the sealer’s appearance.
3) If you stop to buy more, you risk getting products from different batches or different brands than you started with.
Finally, seal-coating is definitely a dirty job, so wear footwear and clothing that you won’t weep over after having to toss out.
Cleaning, Degreasing, and Surface Repairs
The next step is to thoroughly clean the driveway surface. All dirt and loose or foreign materials need to be removed to prevent the seal coat from peeling and flaking. A Stihl backpack blower is a great way to remove debris. Scrape off any oil spots and then scrub with a strong detergent or degreaser to areas affected. Then thoroughly rinse the area that will be sealed by flushing it off with a hard stream of water. A pressure washer is a great tool for this task, which Koopman Rentals has available at our Uxbridge and Grafton locations. For more info or to rent one, click here.
Any imperfections in the asphalt surface need to be repaired before seal-coating. Cracks and large holes will worsen over time, and driveway sealer is not intended to repair them. But proper care will help prevent them in the future.
Any cracks that are up to 1/2″ wide should be filled with a pourable crack filler, such as the Henry 305 Elastomeric Crack Filler. Holes should be filled with an asphalt patch, such as the Henry 304 Driveway Pothole Patch. Both of these products are available from Koopman Lumber.
Stirring the driveway sealer before using
It is crucial that you stir the driveway sealer before using it. But before you open the pail, store it upside down and/or on its side (in a safe place) to get some of the settled content to release from the bottom of the pail. The main reason for stirring is to mix together particles that settle naturally during shipping and storage. Failing to stir these sealers can create very uneven color and finishes, gritty areas, slick areas, areas that have little protection, uneven wear, etc.
Continue stirring until the sealer has reached a uniform consistency. Don’t worry if the sealer has a brown appearance; that is normal. It will dry black. You may opt to use a drill mounted joint compound paddle to make quicker work of the stirring (we always like using power tools wherever possible) 😉
Applying the driveway sealer
Begin at the highest area of your driveway. Pour a 6-10 inch wide ribbon of sealer across the driveway. Then use the rubber blade of the driveway brush applicator to distribute the product evenly. Next, draw the brush through the applied area with long, even strokes to achieve a uniform, thin coating without puddling in surface voids. Then tap the brush on the uncoated area to remove any excess sealer before making a final brush stroke to blend “stops and starts.” Repeat these steps as you work towards lower areas.
Another great tip is to remove the short wooden handle that comes with the applicator and replace it with an extendable painters pole. It’s much more efficient. Just protect your pole from the splatter by wrapping it in tape or plastic wrap.
It is highly recommended that you only apply one coat and make sure that your one coat isn’t too thick or heavy. Excessive material can cause tracking. Best results come from a single, thin application. Curing time varies with weather conditions. Sealed areas can usually be opened to traffic after 24 hours, and make sure that you test the area before using it.
From work gloves to crack filler, push brooms to pothole patch, rental pressure washers to sweeper hose nozzles, Koopman Lumber has everything you need to protect your asphalt driveway for years to come! If you put in a little dirty work now, you can prevent the expensive hassle of a wholesale driveway replacement. Remember, when water finds a void in the pavement, it gathers and freezes – expanding to make larger voids. Stop in and see us at any of our conveniently located stores, and we are always available online at www.koopmanlumber.com.