Over time an asphalt driveway may (and will unless it’s indoors) become cracked and start to feel bumpy and look unpleasant. Often the driveway is neglected, and the problems with it will only get worse. These issues can be fixed when the driveway is sealed again. Some people head into a sealing job thinking they know everything, but often they’ll make mistakes that can only cause more work for themselves or a professional if they choose to hire one.
Here are some mistakes to avoid while doing it yourself.
A common mistake that people make when sealing driveways is relying entirely on the specific type of sealant to do the job and disregard any sort of technique associated with applying it. They think that the sealer will fill any cracks that are present on the surface of the driveway. In reality, the sealer won’t do any of this, and the sealing job will be incomplete and quite frankly, pointless. All cracks should be filled before applying any sealer. Crack filler can be used, and many brands have the ability to self level, but the cracks shouldn’t be overfilled, or the filler will be too visible after the sealant is applied.
After getting my parents’ driveway in Chantilly done professionally by Tony, Carlos and their company, who helped us with their blacktop driveway sealing, I’ve personally learned a lot by simply watching them work. Sealer should never be put on a driveway before it has been properly cleaned. Skipping the cleaning phase of sealing will only result in more work, as the sealer won’t be able to stick to a dirty driveway, and the driveway will still have to be cleaned anyway, along with another application of sealer. A broom or leaf blower can get rid of larger things like leaves and acorns, while a hose can wash away some things that were missed. A powerful pressure washer would be even better at cleaning away debris, along with things that stick to the driveway, such as moss. Weeds that grow in the cracks of the driveway should also be pulled.
The sealer will need to be mixed before it can be put on the driveway. Some people rely on a simple stir stick to mix the sealer ingredients together, but this is simply not enough. The stick won’t get a good enough stir to properly blend the solid ingredients together with the water, and the mixture will be terribly inconsistent. The stick should be avoided and instead a mixing paddle attached to a power drill should be used. The paddle should be moved up and down while it’s spinning to incorporate the ingredients together and create a consistent mix.
Want a visual example? I found this great video where Dave walks your through a step by step guide:
Depending on the kind of sealer that is purchased, the manufacturer will insist that either a brush or a squeegee be used to apply the sealer. Only the applicator that is recommended in the instructions should be used and not the opposite. The selected applicator was chosen by the manufacturers because it is the best way to apply the sealer with that particular formula. By using a different applicator than what is suggested, the sealer won’t be properly applied and will fail prematurely.
The sealer should not be applied to the driveway too often. The general wait time for applying more sealer is when there are signs of aggregate. Too many applications of sealer in a given time will only cause the sealer to flake off.
Driveway sealing can be done correctly, as long as the common mistakes are avoided. When done the right way, the driveway will look impressive and stay intact for years.