The asphalt used for driveways is composed of fine gravel, sand, and bitumen tar blended together. Refined petroleum tat acts as a binder to hold the surface together. In a concrete mixture, Portland cement binds together the gravel aggregates. The binding element in both types of paved driveways break down over time. Sealing the surface with the appropriate coating preserves the material and extends the lifespan of the driveway.
Stick to the Schedule
Asphalt driveways need a new layer of sealant every year. After months of heavy UV exposure from the summer sun, most coatings are in need of refreshing. Concrete driveways need sealing less often. Most areas paved with this material can wait three to four years between sealant applications. If you wait any longer to invest in professional seal coating, the surface will crack and crumble very quickly.
Building a Barrier
Keeping a solid seal coat on the surface is important because it acts as a physical barrier against the elements. You can reduce damage by keeping water from filling cracks in the asphalt and concrete. The coating also blocks UV rays that degrade the compounds in the binder material. Chemicals like dripping car fluids and melting roadway salt can't soak into the paved surface and weaken it.
Preparing for Seal Coating
Before you schedule your seal coating appointment, take a look at the weather. Most products need at least 48 hours of dry, warm weather to bond with the surface. This makes fall the ideal season for this kind of home improvement project. Manufacturers recommend completing the work while temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's already cooler than that and you really need sealing service, ask the paving technicians about heaters to speed up the curing process in low temperatures.
Brand new driveways need seal coating just as much as older installations. However, you can't get the fresh asphalt or concrete sealed as soon as it hardens. Schedule the first sealing visit for a date at least six months after the installation date. This gives the material plenty of time to cure, preventing weakness and early cracking due to trapped moisture.
Give your driveway the gift of a smoother, stronger surface with seal coating. This affordable upgrade increases the number of years you get out of the slab. It can cost upwards of $10,000 for a replacement, so keep your driveway in top notch shape to put off that kind of expense for a decade or longer.