Your new asphalt driveway provides a beautiful, shiny black entrance to your home. It provides visitors with a smooth and attractive path as they approach your house. A well-kept asphalt driveway enhances your curb appeal and increases your property’s value significantly. While they are one of the least expensive types of paved surfaces, asphalt driveways are still rather costly. With proper care, however, they can last for more than 30 years. Seal coating your asphalt is part of this routine maintenance that prolongs your driveway’s lifespan.
- The First Seal:
It is important not to seal coat your driveway immediately upon installation. Asphalt is composed of stone chips, sand and asphalt cement. The asphalt cement gives it that lovely shiny black look. However, it also contains lightweight hydrocarbon oils. These oils give the asphalt flexibility. Newer asphalt is more flexible than older asphalt. This is due to the hydrocarbon oils. Flexibility is important to a driveway because it helps it to absorb the weight of objects without breaking or becoming deformed. However, too much flexibility can make your asphalt easier to damage. Bike kickstands, spinning tires, or simply dropping a heavy object on an overly flexible driveway can leave permanent dents and damages. Seal coating your driveway will prevent it from properly curing because these hydrocarbon oils will be unable to escape.
Curing times for asphalt varies based on the environment. At a minimum, you should wait at least 90 days before sealing your asphalt. Experts, however, recommend you do not seal your new asphalt for 6 to 9 months.
- Waiting Period:
Vehicles should not drive on freshly sealed asphalt for at least 48 hours. In fact, plan ahead. Check the weather and make sure the forecast does not include rain for at least 48 hours as well. This can prevent your seal coating from properly adhering and drying. In addition to this, it should be 50 degrees or more outside when applying your seal coating. This will affect how it adheres to the asphalt as well. Check your specific seal coating instructions to ensure you allow it adequate drying time before use.
- Subsequent Coats:
Asphalt should be sealed every 1 to 3 years. Depending on use, the environment and damages, your driveway may need subsequent coats more often. If you can see the individual color of the rock chips used in your asphalt, then it is time to re-apply your seal coating. If you have used a patch to fix any cracks in your driveway, you should wait at least 90 days before applying a seal coating.