Whether you’re completing a brand new driveway installation or giving your existing entry point a little TLC, adding a seal coat layer will help protect the asphalt with truly stunning results.
The benefits of a seal coat are plentiful, protecting your asphalt driveway against oil spills, UV rays, and moisture. Moreover, it is a cost-effective way to keep your home’s exterior looking its very best. Nevertheless, even a seal-coated driveway will eventually succumb to the pressure of heavy weight loads and regular use.
Still, with the right maintenance in place, a seal coat will deliver stunning results for your property and finances. Here’s all you need to know.
Is seal coating worthwhile?
Before investing time and money into the seal coating process, you will naturally want to confirm that it is a suitable solution for your home driveway. Seal coats can be applied to residential driveways and commercial parking lots to help protect the asphalt beneath. The fact that the industry currently shows a CAGR of around 4% confirms that a growing number of homeowners and business managers have opened their eyes to the benefits.
With the right seal coating and general maintenance plan in place, the life of an asphalt driveway can be extended by more than 20 years. Given that a driveway replacement would cost between $10,000 and $20,000 for the average home, it makes sense to use a seal coat, not least because an untreated driveway would begin to look unattractive after just a few years.
However, if you are going to invest in a seal coat maintenance plan, it’s imperative that you implement the right strategy.
It won’t just protect your driveway, it’ll help your car tires too
How long should a seal coat last?
Many experts will tell you that a seal coat can last for up to five years. As such, many homeowners schedule a seal coat to be applied twice per decade. While it can be a good rule of thumb for some people, it’s important to understand that an extensive range of factors can influence the situation. Some of the most important issues include;
- The age of the driveway,
- The climate and UV exposure levels,
- How often people walk over the driveway,
- How heavy your vehicles are,
- Whether other issues like oil spills occur.
While you should never let your driveway go more than five years without a seal coat, most residential driveways in Canada will require more frequent treatment. In fact, many find that adding a seal coat every two years is the best way to protect their property while also removing potential trip hazards or sources of damage to vehicle tires.
In short, you should expect your seal coat to provide optimal driveway protection for around two years but could get lucky and see it last for up to five.
Signs a new seal coat is needed
While having ballpark figures in mind is helpful, the best maintenance strategy can only be achieved when you take a proactive approach.
Asphalt works as a driveway material due to its elasticity, which is provided by a tar layer that enables the asphalt to expand and contract. Black tar indicates that the driveway is in good health. When the tar layer becomes gray, the material becomes brittle and increasingly prone to cracks and potholes. If any of the following signs are noted, you should consider a new seal coat ASAP;
- Visible cracking,
- Visible potholes,
- Discoloration from black to gray,
- Poor drainage,
- Parts of the driveway start sinking.
With sinking, for example, you may need more than just a seal coat. Nonetheless, a quick response to the signs of a damaged driveway will give you the best chance of minimizing the repair or upgrade costs. The longer you leave the issue untreated, the bigger your subsequent projects will become.
Furthermore, it could reduce the lifespan of the next seal coat layer.
How to help your seal coat last longer
While seal coating is far cheaper than replacing your driveway, you will still want to help this top layer stay in the best shape as it will provide the best protection for the asphalt underneath. First and foremost, calling a professional seal coat specialist that uses quality materials like high-grade tar-based sealants will be vital. Not least because they can apply it in the correct way. Crucially, they will pay extra attention to the corners and edges, as well as where the driveway meets the garage.
As a homeowner, further steps to ensure that the seal coat delivers optimal protection to support the function and appearance of your asphalt driveway include but are not limited to;
- Install a seal coat within the first two years of having the driveway. Many people wait up to a decade before putting a suitable maintenance strategy in place. By then, the damage is already starting to surface.
- Prepare the driveway by cleaning it first. Dust and debris can severely impact the properties of the seal coat, thus providing a far less effective level of protection to the driveway.
- Avoid using the driveway for at least 72 hours after completion. The seal coat tar needs time to settle and provide the even surface that will protect the asphalt and deliver the desired esthetic.
Of course, implementing a good maintenance strategy for your entire front yard is advised too. This should extend to issues like keeping plants and flowers in good health. Before adding the seal coat, though, you must ensure that any cracks, potholes, or existing problems have been treated.
Take care of your seal coat by keeping the driveway clean over the months to come, and you will never look back.
The final word
Seal coats are a fantastic way to protect your driveway for decades. When applied in the correct fashion, they will keep your driveway looking fresh while simultaneously preventing cracks and other issues that could impact the drainage or integrity of your driveway.
With biennial applications, you should find that your home’s exterior remains in top condition for many years to come. Contact Black Tar Canada for a full consultation today.