Asphalt driveways suffer from wear and tear over the years similar to other surfaces. It doesn’t matter whether there’s minor damage from vehicles being driven over it or due to the impact of harsh weather conditions, driveways take the brunt of the damage.
This brings up the valid questions whether it’s useful to sealcoat a driveway or should it be left as it is? In this article, we look at this issue to confirm the right approach to take.
How Do Driveways Get Damaged?
Most driveways are produced using asphalt concrete, which is a type of concrete made for this purpose.
Whilst it’s a useful surface material, it is put through some difficult conditions. This includes heavy vehicles with sometimes uneven load distribution and daily exposure to oxygen and sunlight.
As a surface material, the asphalt mustn’t crack because this lets in sunlight, air, and moisture inside the cracks which will further damage it and the ground below it too. When the damage is too extensive, the whole driveway has to be removed, relaid, and then surfaced again.
Use Other Examples as Reference Points
While they will get considerably more use than your driveway, the asphalt used on public roads isn’t all that different from the materials used in private driveways.
Why do we bring this up?
Because public roads need repairing by resurfacing to deal with potholes and more minor imperfections in the road surface. It stands to reason that the same applies to a private driveway with asphalt materials too. Left untreated, any private driveway will suffer wear over time.
Will Driveway Maintenance Extend the Life of Your Driveway?
While there are different grades of asphalt, it’s a fair observation that when not maintained, it will eventually crumble on the surface and begin to degrade. Once this process begins, it is likely to accelerate as the asphalt surface breaks down further through continued use.
However, when it’s resurfaced using sealcoating, this defers a replacement driveway project because it creates a new surface that prevents the previous cracks in the surface from letting in additional moisture, which would have damaged it more.
According to Erickson Asphalt, a Minneapolis Sealcoating contractor, a driveway should be sealcoated every 2-3 years. This protects the investment and extends its useful life. It’s more affordable than having to replace the driveway more infrequently instead of just resealing it.
When You Should and Should Not Seal a Driveway?
Never seal an asphalt driveway when it’s younger than half a year old. Residual oils must be allowed to evaporate naturally first, otherwise, they could interfere with the process. The driveway becomes harder based on the amount of oil that’s present.
The sealer treatment requires a temperature of over 50 degrees to respond correctly. Otherwise, it won’t work properly. It requires a couple of days once the driveway is sealed, so it’s best to avoid having driveway work performed during questionable weather seasons.
A quality driveway that’s been maintained well (with the records to prove it) increases the value of your home. A low-quality driveway that could potentially damage a vehicle’s tires does the opposite for home values and lowers the curb appeal too.