Sealcoat Asphalt Driveway
If you have an asphalt driveway or parking lot, you probably have asked yourself "When should I seal my asphalt driveway?" Asphalt lasts, has great curb appeal and is easier on your car than gravel. But with asphalt driveway costs compared to sealcoating maintenance, it can save you thousands of dollars to maintain your driveway by sealing it on a regular basis to protect it from weather and wear and tear.
Not maintaining your driveway may cause small cracks and bleaching, which, not only lowers the curb appeal of your home or office but if left unmanaged, can damage the sub-grade, which is the base of your driveway. Once the base is damaged, it will be more cost effective to just reinstall the entire driveway. If the damage is extensive but not past the point of repair, resurfacing your driveway is an option but is only a temporary solution. This sounds reasonable until you realize that if you would have simply maintained the asphalt you could have saved so much money by not having to do this resurfacing repair that should now last about eight years.
The average cost of sealing asphalt is much less expensive than a full repair, and seal coating should be done every 2 - 3 years. Resurfacing is almost nine times more expensive than seal coating it every 3 years. So you have decided to seal coat your asphalt driveway. The next question is should you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you? If you have the time and energy to do it yourself, there are very DIY websites which will walk you step by step through the process and tell you exactly what you need. A lot of these websites also sell the supplies you would need, so it's easy to find the website which best suits you, and works from there. You would have to prepare your driveway by cleaning it, filling in the cracks and patching the damaged areas of the asphalt. We always recommend hiring a professional, because if you do not have the proper equipment and experience you could find yourself in a huge mess quick. If you are a DIYer then here are a few steps to help you.
Cleaning - first clear off the dirt and little rocks from the surface with a broom and use weed killer on anything growing from cracks in the driveway. Professionals who do this type of work daily, suggest you NOT use a pressure washer because you will flood the cracks with water and water is the enemy of your asphalt driveway. The word on the net is to get a stiff bristle brush and clean out the cracks.
Filling the cracks - There are two ways to do this, either with hot crack filler or you can use cold crack filler.
The Hot Crack filler is more complicated and should be done by someone with a little experience because the filler has to be heated to around 400 degrees, and you'll need the equipment to do it. The Hot crack filler is a lot more work and a little more expense but it does have the advantage over cold, in that, you will be able to use your driveway in a little less than one hour, rather than having to wait the four or five hours, when using the cold crack filler. If this is your first time doing your own driveway, the cold crack filler may be the best option. No equipment and a little more forgiving if you make a mistake.
Patch the damaged areas of asphalt. I prefer patch kits which sell the patch, coats, and sealers together. The kits average around a hundred dollars dependent upon which brand you buy.
Choose your sealcoat. There are three types of sealcoat. Tar based, petroleum based and asphalt based. Refined tar based lasts the longest, with an average of somewhere between three and five years.
The most important thing to think about is short term versus long term costs of maintaining your driveway. Using contractor grade products is a good way to keep down costs overall because they will last longer and keep you from spending more money more often.
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