Sealing your asphalt driveway before our harsh Northeast winters can help prevent headaches as the cold creeps in, and extend its lifespan.
Skipping the sealant could lead to cracks, potholes, oil and gasoline damage, and UV damage which means costly repairs are in your future. Don't wait! Take advantage of the remaining pleasant weather to get this project finished.
First and foremost, avoid rain in the forecast.
If there is a chance of rain in the next 48 hours, you should wait to start sealing your asphalt (or "blacktop") driveway. Even after the initial application, the sealant needs to cure, which it cannot do in the rain or in extreme temperatures. A healthy coating of morning dew can also affect the curing process, so be sure to finish your project by 3 PM if you typically experience a lot of dew or morning fog.
Plan ahead based on your asphalt driveway's needs.
While the curing process only takes a couple of hours, you won't be able to drive over the new seal for 24-48 hours. Additionally, if you plan to fill cracks or potholes, you will need to do in advance to let them fully cure and adjust based on temperature. Some filling products take longer than others, so be sure to read the instructions on the package ahead of time. If your driveway is made of concrete, you need a different set of instructions all together. Never use an asphalt driveway sealer on a concrete driveway!
Stock up on supplies.
For this project, we recommend:
- Asphalt driveway sealer of your choice - we stock a wide selection both in-store and in our online warehouse!
- Driveway coater brush with squeegee
- Cleaning supplies, including: stain-removing detergent, push broom, garden hose or pressure washer, etc.
- Safety gear, including: gloves, safety goggles, a respirator (optional), etc. Driveway sealer is messy, and gives off fumes that could be unpleasant so be sure to protect yourself!
- Material to patch cracks and holes, if applicable
Invest plenty of time in preparation.
Similarly to painting projects, applying driveway sealer will go much more smoothly if you prepare for success.
- Be sure to remove any grass from the edge of your driveway that could get caught in your squeegee or sealant.
- Remove any stains, especially oil or gas, using the appropriate detergent and brush combination.
- The surface must be as clean as possible for a great application. Use a pressure washer or a garden hose after sweeping and removing stains to ensure that all dirt and debris left behind are removed.
- Before opening your sealant, turn it upside down to mix the product. Consult the instructions on your sealant before opening!
- Tape off anything you don't want getting sealant on it, including gutters and concrete walkway edges. Use a paintbrush to apply sealant in hard-to-reach places.
Apply your sealant according to the instructions.
Start in the upper corner of your driveway furthest from the street, and pour out a bead of asphalt driveway sealant. Work in small sections of about 20 feet, and apply your sealant in thin coats with your brush and/or squeegee. Start at your garage, and work your way toward the street. Remember, adding more sealant does not give you more protection. Be sure to follow the instructions on your sealant of choice carefully throughout the entire application.
Protect your project!
Remember, your new driveway sealant needs to cure completely before any kind of traffic - especially cars - goes over it. Put something at the end of your driveway (or all the way around if you're feeling ambitious) such as empty sealant buckets, or those reflectors you use for snow plowing with some yellow tape in between, to ensure that no one drives on your beautiful new surface.
If you need help choosing the right sealant for your driveway, how to apply your sealant, or how to ensure it cures properly, visit your neighborhood Valu Home Center and speak to our knowledgeable Sales Associates! We love helping with DIY projects of all kinds, and are glad to provide you with advice to get the job done right.