Although not absolutely essential, sealing an asphalt driveway extends its overall life and minimizes the need for repairs. Sealer fills small cracks to reduce damage from water, ice and growing plants. It also protects against ultraviolet radiation from the sun, as well as oil and gas spills.
Asphalt sealers contain materials that coat and protect a driveway. Different mixtures have different benefits, so a homeowner must choose a formula that protects well in his climate. Sealers must be applied when the air temperature is between 45 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit and three days of dry weather are expected. A new driveway requires six months to cure before the first application of sealer is applied.
Carefully trimming the grass edges and cleaning up gas and oil spills with soapy water and a stiff brush are the first steps in prepping a driveway for sealing. Sweeping up any debris, filling large cracks and pot holes with patching compound, and hosing the driveway off complete the process. A rubber squeegee works well for spreading the sealant over the prepared surface. Most sealers require occasional stirring during the application process. Two thin coats provide the best coverage for most driveways. After the coats are spread, there is a 24-hour drying time before the surface is ready for normal use.