Should You Do Asphalt Sealcoating By Your Own?
Driveway sealcoating is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways of protecting and lengthening the lifespan of a driveway. Typically, asphalt paved surfaces are vulnerable to wear and tear—from weather, as well as from traffic. However, sealcoating an asphalt driveway after every three or so years gives it the extra protection it needs to resist deterioration and last longer.
So, what is driveway sealcoating?
This is the process of applying a protective coating to finish an asphalt driveway. The sealcoat is made of coal tar pitch, and it can be bought from a hardware store or any sealcoating company. The main purpose of sealcoating a driveway is to protect it from damage caused by salt, water, UV rays, as well as oil and gasoline spills. Besides, sealcoating your driveway helps to improve its appearance, especially by concealing the discoloration caused by oxidation over time under the neat black finish.
One of the most notable benefits of sealcoating an asphalt driveway is the sealing of the small fissures and cracks, thus preventing water from penetrating through to the base layer. This, in turn, helps to prevent additional cracking and erosion of the driveway.
With that said, driveway sealcoating is a project that can be done by professionals or anyone with DIY skills. This, in turn, brings another question—is DIY sealcoating your driveway worth the effort? Although sealcoating experts recommend hiring a professional to sealcoat your driveway, you can sealcoat your driveway on your own so long as you have the right equipment for the job. However, there are a few things that you must do for this to be possible. These things are:
Preparing your driveway for sealcoating
The Tampa experts from CSG Sealcoating say that preparing your driveway for sealcoating takes some time—a full day at a time. This makes it a tiresome and tedious process. Applying the sealcoat is faster, as it requires a few hours for a normal driveway.
Quality asphalt driveway sealing materials will cost you around $100. Choosing to sealcoat your driveway on your own can save you around $200 in terms of labor cost. Please note that you don’t need a professional power washing service—you can clean your driveway using a brush and water. This will also save you a lot of money. Also, you will need a mixing paddle, drill, dashing brush, duct tape, and poly sheeting—this helps to protect painted surfaces.
Common mistakes to avoid when sealcoating your asphalt driveway on your ownNever rely on the sealer to fill the cracks on your driveway—this will not happen. Therefore, ensure that you fill them properly before sealing the driveway.
Failing to clean and prepare your driveway before sealing it—this can prevent the sealer from sticking to the driveway. Failing to stir the sealer properly—you shouldn’t rely on a stir stick to get the job done. It will not blend the solids and water enough to give you a consistent mixture.
Failing to use the correct applicator. At times, the manufacturer will require you to use a brush, rather than a squeegee. Using the wrong application can cause your sealer to fail prematurely.
Sealcoating your driveway
Make sure that you have mixed the sealer thoroughly—this is where the need for a mixing paddle attached to a drill comes in. Also, make sure that you turn the pails containing the sealer upside-down overnight—this helps with the mixing process. The thing is, you want to make sure that all the materials are well mixed before you start the sealcoating process.
Checking the weather forecast for the day is another thing that you must consider. Depending on the kind of sealant you need to apply, you will need at least 8 hours of curing time. Typically, you will need at least 50 degrees F and dry weather for the next 24 hours for the project to be successful.
There are two common types of driveway sealers:
- Asphalt emulsions
- Coal tar sealer
The difference between these two products is durability. Generally, coal tar sealers last longer and are more effective when it comes to protecting a driveway from oil and gas spills.
Different sealcoating products require specific application requirements. However, most of the products require a brush/squeegee combination—and you can find these materials at any home improvement store.
To sealcoat your driveway:
- Always start at the top of your driveway—poor a reasonable amount of sealer
- Next, apply a coat of 3” to 4” at the edges of the driveway. Now, using a brush, apply the sealer into the porous areas of your driveway.
- Then use your squeegee to spread the sealer in thin layers, and make sure that you cover all the parts of your driveway.
- Make sure that you don’t leave any excess sealer in the low areas of your driveway. Also, try as much as possible to keep the squeegee marks even when repeating the process—working your way from the top to the bottom of the driveway helps to prevent that.
- If you need to apply a second layer, wait for 6 – 12 hours before repeating the process. Most experts recommend two thin coats over one coat.
- After sealcoating the driveway, barricade it for at least 24 hours to prevent traffic from accessing the area.