Homeowners should sealcoat a driveway every 2-4 years, as needed. Keep an eye out to see when the tar emulsion coating wears off, and cracks begin to develop. If you seal too early, you’re wasting money and gaining little benefit. If you wait longer than 3-4 years, you may have cracks start to develop which, over time, will widen and cause the asphalt to crumble.

Preparing for seal coating

To prepare the driveway for seal coating, make sure it is as clean as possible before you seal it. If you trap any oils in between the asphalt and sealant, it can eat away at the asphalt and ruin your driveway. You also want to make sure to make any necessary repairs before you seal coat, otherwise those problems will only worsen under the new seal. 

 Pull all weeds and remove debris with a push broom. Next, use a pressure washer to clean out any large cracks. Clean up any oil spots with a store-bought asphalt cleaner specifically designed to remove oil stains, then scrub the entire driveway with detergent and water.

Techniques for seal coating

Sealcoat the driveway from the garage down to the street. Use a squeegee or brush broom to apply the sealer in overlapping ribbons across the driveway. Pull the sealer carefully to the edges with a squeegee. Lay out the first coat in long, horizontal stripes down your driveway. After the sealer has dried (about 6 to 12 hours), apply the second coat in vertical stripes. 

 No-mix driveway sealer is used directly out of the pail with no blending or mixing required.  Before applying driveway sealer, get familiar with your product and how to use it.

General Tips

Asphalt sealers cure in just a few hours, but the driveway cannot be used for vehicle traffic for 24-48 hours. Don’t walk on it for 24 hours because you might trail seal coat in the house.

The ambient temperature outside must be a minimum of 60°F or more within a 24-hour period before and after making your repair.

Do not apply if rain is imminent or forecasted within 24-48 hours before or after application.

Do not apply driveway sealer on a driveway that slopes more than 20 degrees.

Allow six months for repairs such as crack or pothole filler to fully cure before sealing.

Cautions

Asphalt sealers are not intended for use on concrete. There are many products available for concrete and masonry. Check the label to make sure you’re using the right sealant for your job.

There are few things more critical to a good seal coating job than drying. Drying times for seal coating asphalt driveways will usually vary between 6 and 24 hours for the best possible results.