What You Should Know About Sealcoating Your Asphalt Driveway

If you have an asphalt driveway or you are considering getting one, it's important to understand that, just like anything else in your home or yard, asphalt needs routine maintenance to keep it looking good. One of the best things you can do to your asphalt driveway is applying sealcoat. If you are interested in an asphalt driveway, check out these must-know facts about sealcoating.

Applying Sealcoat Is Cheap

Applying sealcoat to your driveway is extremely inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of asphalt repairs or replacement. If you do it yourself, the tools you need cost about $50, and the ingredients you need for the sealcoat cost about $150 per 1,000 square feet. If you hire a professional, you'll only end up paying about $50 to $100 more. If you live in a colder climate with harsh winter weather, you may need to apply sealcoat once every one or two years, but if you live in a warmer climate, you can do it every four years.

It's a Preventative Measure

Sealcoat is a preventative measure. It isn't designed to fix major problems, such as big potholes or cracks. However, if you continually keep applying sealcoat, you can prevent these major problems. As a result, you'll need fewer repairs, and the lifespan of your asphalt increase. Just like you weatherproof your deck to protect it from the elements, so should you apply sealcoat to protect your asphalt from potential damage. Of course, just like weatherproofing your deck may make it look a little better, so does sealcoating. It gives it a new, fresh surface, fixing minor cracks, rough spots and discoloration.

It Limits Oxidation

Oxidation starts as soon as the asphalt is laid, and it causes the asphalt to get hard and brittle. Basically, oxidation is a molecular process to try and create a stable state. Fresh asphalt has some elasticity to it, so it can bend under the heavy weight of cars. Old asphalt that has become stiff can't bend under the weight, so it breaks, creating potholes and cracks. While you can't stop this process completely, you can slow it with sealcoating. However, you really only benefit if you sealcoat over the entire life of the asphalt. Don't wait until the asphalt has already become brittle.

It Protects Asphalt from the Weather

Weather can wreak havoc on your asphalt driveway, especially cold weather. Water, in particular is dangerous in colder climates. This water seeps into the asphalt, which helps breakdown the asphalt. In freezing temperatures, the water may freeze, causing cracks in the asphalt, which allow even more water to seep into the asphalt and to the ground below. The sun, is also dangerous to the asphalt. Sun exposure not only causes the asphalt to turn gray, but it also can accelerate oxidation.

Sealcoating Creates a Barrier Between Oil and the Asphalt

Oil is also dangerous to asphalt. Oil is corrosive, and asphalt has a weak molecular structure. The oil has no problem destroying the asphalt, causing it to become weak and soft. The asphalt loses its ability to hold itself together. You should always clean an oil stain as soon as possible, but sealcoat provides a protective barrier between the oil and the asphalt, so the breakdown process is slower.

Sealcoat is a great way to protect your asphalt driveway from many dangers, and the best part is that it is cheap. Sealcoat, however, can't fix major problems you already have, so don't wait until they appear. Regularly applying sealcoat can prevent the need for expensive repairs and increase the lifespan of your driveway. For more information about asphalt driveways and asphalt maintenance, contact a specialist in your area today.