If I was a driveway I would want to be sealed. Who wouldn’t?
If you could apply a magic paint to your body that that would make you live longer and look better, and you’d only have to do it once every 2 to 3 years, wouldn’t you do it? Sounds like a no brainer, I’m in!
Sealing your asphalt driveway is a lot like that.
Why Should I Seal My Driveway?
Asphalt driveways are made up of a mixture of aggregate (Gravel) and hot asphalt (Tar type stuff). While it is hot, it is placed into the driveway and rolled flat. Over time the weather, traffic, oxidation and other normal wear and tear cause the driveway to develop small cracks in the surface. These small cracks allow water and chemicals like engine oil to work its way below the surface where they can cause damage. In the case of water, in the winter time, the water can freeze and expand physically damaging the driveway. In the case of oil, since it’s a petroleum product, it can literally dissolve the asphalt holding the aggregate together. All bad things for the life of your driveway.
In addition to the damage that can be caused, unsealed driveways will fade from a nice dark black to grey. The grey color showing through is just the color of the underlying aggregate. While this is mostly a cosmetic issue, sealing your driveway will have the added benefit of the darker color warming more quickly and causing snow and ice to melt faster – less shoveling!
Ways To Get The Job Done
Driveway sealing is a simple do it yourself kind of job. The tools required are minimal and the sealers are fairly inexpensive and available at most home centers and hardware stores. Depending on the size of your driveway, it will probably take you less than a day. The biggest challenge is that this can be a very messy job – think painting but with a permanent paint. So, if you choose to take on the task yourself, make sure you are wearing clothes that you won’t mind pitching when the job is done.
If you’d rather leave it to the pros, there are plenty of companies that are willing to do your dirty work for you. Just make sure that the company that you hire is going to do the proper preparation – removing oil spots, debris, and filling cracks before applying the sealer. Just like in painting, 90% of the quality of the finished product is in the preparation.
All in all, sealing your driveway is a simple, inexpensive way to extend the life of your driveway, improve the curb appeal of your home, and maybe even save you some snow shoveling this winter!