Sealcoating a driveway reduces cracking and improves its appearance, but it isn’t necessary. Before you decide whether to use driveway sealing chemicals on your own driveway, you should know a few things about the process and the reasons for doing it, as well as the right questions to ask a future concrete contractor or blacktop paving company.
Sealing driveway holes in concrete or asphalt
In the USA, concrete and blacktop account for 90 percent of driveways. Both will crack and discolor over time. Driveway fractures result primarily from age and weather, especially in unsealed driveways. When water from snowfall or rain seeps through the blacktop or concrete, it produces pools of water underneath it, which lead to splitting, especially when that moisture becomes frozen and thaws repeatedly.
This seepage happens because most driveways are made from porous minerals. Driveway sealing closes off the pores so that water can’t penetrate the paving material.
Tree roots and heavy vehicles can also damage the concrete or asphalt. To minimize or avoid these issues, build your driveway base with 5 inches or more of compacted rocks.
Benefits of Driveway Sealing
Most seal coatings shield your driveway color from fading. Sealants also make cleaning oil or other leaked fluids from your vehicle much easier because the liquid can’t leak into those tiny pores on the driveway.
If you decide to use sealing off chemicals, keep track of how often you reapply them. Every two or three years should be enough to keep your private road in fine shape.
When to employ a sealcoating contractor
Some homeowners decide to seal off driveway asphalt or concrete themselves. This work is a big investment; the cost for sealing a private road ranges from $200 to $400 per 1,000 square feet. You need to make certain it’s completed properly to prevent further damage to your cement or asphalt.
If you decide to hire a service to seal your driveway, be sure to ask the following questions to find the best contractor for the job:
– What form of sealing chemicals do you use? Different chemicals have different properties and effects. Water-based sealants are safe but wear off faster. Acrylic, urethane, and others increase the risk of fire because they contain combustible ingredients. The shiniest water-resistant seal coatings could make the pavement dangerously unsafe, especially if you live in an area in which rain, ice and snow are common.
– Should you thin out the sealant? Some private drive contractors thin out their sealer to save money, but the end result is less than desirable. Make sure they apply the sealant according to the producer’s instructions.
– How do you spread out the sealer? The hands brush approach is the most common as it ensures even distribution. Alternatives can cause sealing puddles, which results in a driveway overly protected in some places and not at all in others.
– Should you repair existing cracks before applying sealer? It’s important to correct cracks in your driveway before sealing it, but be sure to get a cost estimate for that concrete or asphalt repair in addition to the driveway sealing job. If the cracks are minor, fix them your own self by clearing them of debris and broken edges and then filling them with a substance such as textured caulk, concrete sealer or pourable grout.
– When can you begin the seal coat job? The outside temperature is key when sealing driveways. Normally, over 65 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.