Asphalt is naturally somewhat permeable, which means over time moisture seeps into your asphalt driveway and causes the material to break down. In severe cases, this can lead to large cracks, divots, and potholes. An asphalt seal combines asphalt tar and polymers to create a barrier against moisture, as well as other materials that could stain or damage the asphalt. The following can help you determine if it is time to have your asphalt driveway sealed.
1. You have cracks to repair
Cracks can be a real problem since a small crack can quickly become a large crack if moisture gets inside and then freezes. Prompt crack filling solves the problem, but you end up with a driveway covered in a spiderweb of patches. If your driveway has a lot of cracks, schedule a prompt repair and sealing appointment. All the cracks can be filled first to prevent them from becoming larger. Then, the asphalt tech will apply the sealcoat. The asphalt in the sealcoat darkens the hue of the entire driveway, helping to camouflage the cracks while also keeping out moisture so that the chances of further cracking can be reduced.
2. The color is fading
Your asphalt drive will begin to fade as the old seal wears off. Eventually, you will be able to see the color variation of the individual pieces of gravel in the aggregate mix used to make your asphalt drive. A fresh sealcoat will bring back the old color of the drive and even out the color. If you have bad stains or lots of repairs on the drive, you can even have a layer of dyed asphalt applied first. Opt for a darker color, such as deep charcoal or black, to cover up old stains and repairs. This way the sealcoat is not only protected against future damage, but it also improves the appearance of the drive by hiding past damages.
3. It's been a few years
How often you sealcoat depends on a variety of factors, including your climate and weathering patterns as well as how frequently you use the driveway. As a general guide, you should sealcoat every two or three years or when the old coat begins to fail. One way to test the old sealcoat is to sprinkle water on the pavement when the temperatures are mild and the asphalt isn't too hot to the touch. If the water beads up, then you can postpone sealing for a bit. If it soaks in, the old coat has worn off and it's time for a new application.
Contact an asphalt sealing service in your area to learn more.