If you want to maintain the rich color and smooth surface of your asphalt driveway, then you should have a sealcoat applied to it regularly over its lifespan. A sealcoat is a protective layer that keeps the asphalt from degrading, fading, and cracking. Here are a few things to know about sealcoating.
Why Asphalt Deteriorates
Your asphalt driveway will last a long time, but it will probably start to show signs of wear in a couple of years if you don't have sealcoating applied. That's because asphalt is susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures, rain, and UV rays. Oil and gas leaks can also cause a chemical reaction with asphalt that causes it to weaken. Also, if you park a heavy truck or RV on your driveway, the extra weight could cause stress that leads to cracking of weakened asphalt.
How A Sealcoat Helps
Sealcoating is a protective layer for your driveway. It keeps gas and oil from coming into direct contact with the asphalt. It also seals the asphalt so rain can't seep into it, freeze, expand, and create potholes. Sealcoating also keeps the surface of your driveway a fresh, dark color so it is more attractive. It's important to remember that your driveway is much more than a layer of asphalt. The asphalt is just the top part of a bed of compacted dirt and aggregate.
The purpose of asphalt is to bind the aggregate together and keep it from washing away in the rain. It has an elastic quality that allows it to expand and contract with the weather. This places a lot of stress on the asphalt layer of your driveway, and the sealcoat offers some relief from this stress. By protecting the asphalt layer, the sealcoat helps prolong the life of your driveway.
How Sealcoating Is Applied
A contractor can apply sealcoating with a spray canister so it goes on like spray paint. He or she could also apply it by hand and smooth it out with a squeegee. It doesn't take long to apply the sealcoat, but it does take a while to prep your driveway first. The asphalt must be clean and dry so the sealcoat will adhere properly. Also, all cracks must be filled and leveled out so they won't show through once the sealcoating is applied. Once the job is done, you may have to wait a day or two before you can use your driveway, it all depends on the weather conditions and how quickly the coating cures.
Sealcoating helps protect your driveway from damage and keeps its color fresh. It is worth the investment to apply sealcoating periodically since it will save you money in the long term over repairing or replacing your driveway sooner than you should have to.