Whether you have paved a small driveway designed for one or two vehicles or an expansive parking lot size driveway, it must be sealed regularly to preserve it. When an asphalt driveway is sealed, the dark rich color of the pavement is restored. At the same time, the cracks that form and can allow water to get beneath the surface are sealed shut. The cost is not great compared to the cost of new asphalt and the benefits are many. If the surface size is large, the project can become time consuming and labor intensive for the amateur. However, for most smaller driveways, the project is a morning of work to complete.
Begin the job by cleaning out any of the larger cracks in the asphalt surface.
Any crack that is large enough for you to see easily down into it needs attention. Smaller cracks only need to be addressed if grass is growing up through the crack. For smaller cracks, remove the grass before beginning the job. It is a good idea to spray some herbicide into these cracks to stop any unseen growth from continuing and to kill of the remaining roots. Once the grass is gone and the poison applied, you can move onto the larger cracks.
Larger cracks need to be filled before the sealing process.
Once again, you need to remove all of the plant growth that you can from the cracks. These can be pulled out or a string trimmer can sometimes be used effectively. For more difficult growth, you may need to use some type of tool and dig them out. Spray the cracks to kill any remaining plants that may be living. Use a good light weight sand to fill the cracks. Most home centers will carry this sand and the sealer. Once the sand has filled most of the depth of the crack, use crack sealer to finish filling up and sealing crack. This a thicker product than what is used for the general driveway sealing.
Consult with your home center for the proper amount of asphalt sealer for your size of driveway.
Not all sealers are applied at the same rate. Some require thinning before they are applied. Doing your homework on the specific product that you buy is important. Ask a few questions when you are making the purchase about coverage and thinning. Most driveway sealers can be thinned with water. Do it yourself driveway sealing is best done with a shop broom or a squeegee to spread the sealer. Make sure to wear old clothing and boots or shoes because this job can get very messy.
Most home asphalt sealers come in five gallon containers.
Open the container. These are usually premixed and are ready for application. Pour a generous amount of sealer onto the driveway beginning at the lowest point. Some will recommend beginning at the highest point. The problem with this approach is the risk of too much of the sealer can be lost as it runs down hill. Pushing the sealer up hill will give a heavier coverage and a better sealing job.
Spread the sealer from side to side.
It is best not to step into the fresh sealer. Footprints will make the job look bad when you are finished. By going from side to side, you can sweep or push the product across the driveway below where you are walking. Always reseal over any footprints that you might accidentally make as soon as they are created. Continue adding sealer to the asphalt until you have reached the top of the driveway. Try to make a nice even line at the end of the work just to have an attractive job. The same is true near buildings and walkways. Make sure to let enough sealer coat the driveway over the cracked areas to completely cover and fill the smaller cracks.
Make sure that rain is not forecast for about 24 hours after the application of the asphalt sealer.
Since asphalt sealer can be thinned with water, it will also wash off with water until it dries. Once it has hardened, it is impervious to rain and will give great protection to your newly sealed asphalt. A good plan is to start the job in the early morning of a day that is expected to exceed 80 degrees. If the full sun can hit the new sealer, it will harden rapidly. If you complete the job by noon, it should be ready for use by the next morning.