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What You Need to Know BEFORE You Sealcoat A Driveway

Gray and Black Stone Fragments


Here in DC, we see a lot of wild winter weather. Snow, freezing rain, and sleet mixed with warm days. This can create havoc on your asphalt driveway. Sealcoating your driveway is one of the best ways to prevent cracking and other forms of damage freezing temperatures often inflict.

Not only will sealcoating your driveway enhance your curb appeal, but it will also extend the life of the asphalt by years.

Prepping your home for the winter as summer has just begun may seem a little strange, but the warmer months of the year are often the best time to do so. After all, you don’t want to wait until the weather has already started taking a nosedive to start trying to do outdoor projects.

If you’re interested in making your home and driveway a little more beautiful this year–especially if you are selling– here’s you need to know before sealcoating your driveway.

Make sure the temperature is warm enough… but not too warm

The outside temperature plays a significant role in successfully sealcoating your driveway.

If the temperature outside is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day or night, then the seal coating generally won’t cure correctly, and it won’t be as effective come winter. This isn’t a problem for us past June.

However, the temperature also shouldn’t be too hot, which can be a problem for us in DC! Steamy conditions in which temperatures are over 85 degrees Fahrenheit may cause the sealer to dry too quickly, also reducing the effectiveness of the sealcoating.

So there is a Goldilocks climate for this project. Schedule your sealcoating for a day when the temps will be steady in the low 80’s with a warm overnight temp forecast.

Check the weather forecast for rain

In addition to installing your sealcoating when outside temperatures aren’t too high or too low, it’s also essential to ensure the weather forecast predicts clear skies.

If it rains before the sealcoating has adequately dried, the rain may wash away the sealer. A sprinkle or two is fine, but you don’t want heavy thunderstorms or an all-day steady rain.  Look for fair skies above!

Prep your driveway properly

Before sealcoating your driveway, you can’t just smear some sealer on your driveway and hope for the best.

For your sealcoating to be effective, you’ll have to do some prep work. If you don’t clean your driveway, the exhaust gas, dirt, tree sap, and other substances that have accumulated over time will prevent the sealer from sticking.

First, fill in cracks with asphalt caulk. Anything more significant than a crack–like a pothole–needs to be filled in the blacktop patch.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Next,  break out your power washer and a stiff-bristle push broom, and get cleaning. Any oil stains may need a degreaser. Once you’ve sufficiently scrubbed your driveway, use a steady stream of water to rinse away the soap, and then let it dry completely before laying the sealcoat down.

Getting Down to Business

There are many types of asphalt-driveway sealers available.

The cheapest, tar-emulsion sealers, have minimal protection but cost only $12 per 5-gallon bucket. They do require constant stirring during application.

Asphalt-emulsion sealers are the most popular type of sealer. They run about $20 to $25 per 5-gallons and don’t require much stirring and provide excellent resistance to oil stains and water penetration.

Advanced latex-acrylic sealers last longer, fade less, and dry quickly. You can drive onto the driveway just 4 hours after sealing; for most other sealers, you must wait 24 hours. It’s expensive at $50 to $65 for 2 gallons of sealer.

Lastly, there are industrial-duty liquid-rubber sealers that are fortified with titanium. They provide superior surface protection and wear-resistance, but they cost about $500 per 5-gallon pail.

Each type of sealer comes with specific application instructions, and it’s crucial to use the particular tools and methods the manufacturer recommends. Most are applied with a long-handled tool that has a rubber squeegee on one edge and a stiff-bristle brush on the other.

You use the squeegee blade to spread the sealer around and the bristle brush to even it out. Some sealers are applied with a thick-nap paint roller.

When you need help getting your home ready to sell this season, give Eng Garcia a ring.  Let our realtors help you get the curb appeal you need to sell quickly and at top dollar.


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3 Responses to “What You Need to Know BEFORE You Sealcoat A Driveway”

  • You make a great point about making sure you clean the dirt from the driveway. That way the seal coat can be applied properly. I’ll have to get a paver to repave my driveway.

  • Thanks for letting me know that it’s a good idea to get seal coating services when it’s dry out. My husband and I just bought a commercial lot so that we can start a business for ourselves and we are planning on renovating it soon. I’ll be sure to save the renovation of our asphalt parking lot and the parking lot seal coating for a dryer season and focus on the store for now. I want to get the process done properly, so I’ll have to wait for the right time to do so.

  • Thanks for the info about sealcoating a driveway. I am thinking of getting a driveway for my home. I’ll look for an asphalt sealing service to hire.

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