Installing an asphalt or a concrete driveway can be an expensive undertaking. To preserve the fresh, new look of the driveway, have the driveway sealed and then routinely seal it to keep it looking pristine.
A good sealant can keep a driveway looking new longer and also can rejuvenate the appearance of an older driveway. Sealant can be compared to car wax. It provides an outer coating that will repel stains, stop UV rays from fading the driveway and help to protect against cracks and driveway degradation.
Over time, asphalt driveways will begin to fade in color and the stone and rocks used in the asphalt mix will appear more prominent. By sealing the driveway, a homeowner can maintain its original dark color.
Another reason to seal a driveway is to reduce the chance of freeze-thaw damage. This type of damage results when water penetrates the surface of the driveway and then expands as it freezes. The expansion can cause cracks and fissures, as well as compromise the soil underneath the driveway, making it sink or become unstable. Sealed driveways help to keep water beading on the surface of the driveway, rather than being absorbed into the driveway material. When water no longer beads on the driveway, this is often an indicator that the driveway needs to be resealed.
There are some guidelines to follow when sealing driveways. When starting, sealant should not be applied immediately after the driveway is poured. Concrete needs to cure for a period of up to one month before sealant should be applied. Fresh asphalt contains oils that eventually evaporate. The oils are what makes fresh asphalt pliable and soft. Once these oils evaporate, the asphalt gets harder and more durable. Sealers can prevent evaporation and may make the asphalt permanently soft.
After the initial base application of sealant, the driveway should only be sealed every two to three years, depending on its condition. Sealants are just coatings, and adding too many layers can cause the sealant coatings to crack and peel away.
Sealing a driveway is a labor-intensive process that's best left to professionals. These professionals have the knowledge of technique and the right tools to get an even, thin coating of sealant. Remember, a driveway should not be walked or driven on for a minimum of 24 hours after sealant is applied. Weather conditions also can influence the amount of time it takes for the driveway to cure.
Having the driveway sealed prolongs its durability and appearance. It also can make the driveway less prone to staining and cracking, making this project a sound investment.