If your asphalt driveway is beginning to develop some small cracks and chips, then it's probably time to have it resealed. This is a messy process, and though there are kits available at some home and garden stores that will allow you to do it yourself, you're probably better off leaving it to the pros. Still, there are a few things you should do before and after having your driveway sealed in order to make sure the process goes smoothly and the results are top-notch.
Before Having Your Driveway Sealed
Power wash the driveway.
If you do not do this, the contractors should wash your driveway before they start. However, they may charge you extra if they have to spend a lot of time power washing and then waiting for the surface to dry. By power washing the driveway yourself, you ensure they can get right to work when they arrive and possibly bill you for fewer hours.
You don't have to use any special formula when power washing; plain water will do. Use one of the highest settings, as this is most likely to get the grit off the surface effectively. You want any loose material to come away with the power washing so it does not end up breaking off after the sealant is applied.
Find somewhere for the kids to stay.
Driveway sealant is pretty smelly. If you have young kids, you may want to find somewhere else for them to stay during the day it is being applied. The smell can give some people headaches, rashes and throat irritation. If your kids are too young to communicate effectively, you'll have a hard time knowing whether the smell is bothering them. It's better to make plans for them to stay at a grandparent or friend's house.
If you find that the asphalt sealer fumes bother you, make sure you have somewhere to go during the process, too. The smell should dissipate after a day or so -- once the sealer is dry.
Use a leaf blower to blow any seeds and debris away from the driveway.
You can't control every little leaf or seed that may blow onto your newly sealed driveway. However, you can minimize the chances of items blowing onto your driveway by using a leaf blower on the morning of your sealing. Start along the edge of the driveway, and blow away from it. Keep blowing until you're at least 20 feet from the edge of the driveway. Rake up any debris that piles up, and dispose of it, so it does not end up on your sticky driveway.
After Having Your Driveway Sealed
Adhere to the recommended waiting time before driving on it.
Your contractor should tell you how long to wait before driving on the driveway. Depending on the type of sealer used and the temperature outside, this is usually one or two days. Many people make the mistake of driving on their driveway too soon after sealing because they feel it, realize it no longer feels sticky, and assume it's ready to be used. Since vehicles are quite heavy, they tend to leave marks on the driveway even after it no longer feels sticky to the touch. The only way to ensure your driveway stays mark-free is to adhere to the recommended waiting time before driving on it.
Extend the life of your sealant by caring for it properly.
There are a few ways to keep your sealer looking great and doing its job so you don't need to have your driveway resealed again so soon:
- Limit the use of salt for deicing purposes. Use liquid deicers that are specially formulated for driveways instead.
- When you spill oil or gas on the driveway, clean it up immediately.
- Keep the driveway free of leaves and other debris by sweeping it several times per week. Debris traps moisture near the asphalt, accelerating the breakdown of the sealant.
Adhere to these tips, and your asphalt sealing process should go smoothly. You'll also preserve the beauty of your driveway for years to come. For more information on asphalt maintenance, contact a local professional.