Since your driveway is one of the first things people see when driving up to your house, you want to keep it looking as nice as possible. If you neglect your driveway, it will develop cracks, stains, and potholes that get worse over time. It's best to make repairs when the damage is in the early stages. Also, you should consider sealcoating the asphalt every few years to protect it from damage and to restore its dark color. You can hire a contractor to apply the sealcoat, but if your driveway is short and in good shape, you may be able to do the job yourself. Here's what the process entails.
Inspection And Cleaning
The first step is to clean your entire driveway and inspect it for damage as you go. The easiest way to get the asphalt clean is to use a pressure washer to drive out weeds and sand caught in the cracks. A pressure washer also makes it easier to get rid of oil stains. Start at the high end of the driveway and work your way down the slope. As you clean the surface, look for tiny cracks and stubborn stains that need extra attention. Inspect the edges of the asphalt carefully so you can find areas of crumbling. Mark the spots you'll need to come back and repair later.
You want the surface of the asphalt to be as clean as possible so the new coating will adhere well. Also, you want to make sure the cracks and crumbled areas are free from dirt and weeds so they can be filled in with a crack repair material. If your driveway has a lot of stains that can't be removed with a pressure washer, you may need to buy driveway cleaner at a home improvement store. It's best to put in the effort to get rid of the stains or they may bleed through the new sealcoat.
Crack And Pothole Repair
Once your driveway is clean and dry, it's time to fill in all the cracks and potholes. Be sure to repair even tiny cracks because if you don't, the cracks will continue to expand under the sealcoat. You can buy crack filler that comes in a tube with a pointed spout to fill in small cracks. Potholes may need to be filled with asphalt patching that comes in a big bag or bucket. The important thing to remember when you make repairs on your driveway is to level them off so there won't be bumps under the new coating. Fill the cracks and potholes and then use a trowel to smooth the surface so it is level with the driveway. The repairs will be visible because the patching material is darker than your asphalt driveway, but once the sealcoating is applied, the color will be hidden.
Once the repairs are complete, you are ready to apply the sealcoat on your driveway. A contactor may apply the sealcoat with a sprayer or other type of equipment, but if you apply the sealcoating yourself, you'll apply it with a roller. You can buy the sealcoat material by the bucket at a home improvement store. You apply it with a long-handled roller to your driveway in the same way you would apply paint. You'll get the best coverage if you apply it in two thin layers, and let the first layer dry thoroughly before you apply the second.
The new sealcoating has a dark color, so it covers all the repairs and imperfections on your old driveway. Your driveway will look good as new once the new coating is applied. The effects should last for several months. It depends on how much wear and tear your driveway gets, and how much the sun and weather affects the surface. However, don't put off putting on a new sealcoat when your driveway shows signs of wear. Once there is a lot of crumbling and alligator cracking along the edges, your driveway not only looks bad, it may be too far gone for DIY repairs.