What is it?

Driveway Sealer / What is it?

Driveway sealer is a type of coating that protects your driveway against UV rays, snow, petroleum products, and other elements — effectively maintaining its look and extending its life. This sealer can last anywhere from one to five years, depending on traffic volumes, load, and amount of elements.

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What does it do?

How Do Sealers Protect Your Driveway?

Surfaces like concrete driveways are porous. Meaning, they have a high liquid absorption level; the term “liquid” may refer to water as well as chemical spills. 

Driveway sealers have the job of keeping these surfaces protected. They are applied atop an existing surface. And once they dry, they form a barrier that can fill in small gaps and cracks and seal the whole surface. The materials that make up this sealer are resistant to different elements and chemicals, including sunlight, water, moisture, salt, and wind. They also help minimize corrosion. 

Without this additional protective layer provided by sealers, the quality of your driveway’s surface can be degraded more quickly. Not only will it look worn out, it will also be more prone to cracks especially when vehicles with a heavy load pass through it. 

Driveway sealers also play the important role of keeping your garage’s exterior clean and well-maintained. Because driveways are a prominent part of any property, making them look appealing can significantly boost your home’s market value. 

One of the most commonly used driveway sealers is the concrete sealer.

Concrete sealers are materials that can either form a protective layer atop a surface (topical or film forming) or a chemical barrier of sorts deep within (penetrating). The former is more susceptible to wear and tear; the latter is also more preferred if you don’t want to alter the physical appearance of your surface. 

These sealers are typically made from acrylic, epoxies, polyurethanes, or silicates. The topical ones are available in different sealer colors and sealer gloss levels. This makes them more flexible design- and aesthetics-wise. 

You can use concrete sealers both for the interior and exterior surfaces of your home — including driveways. Exterior concrete sealers are known for their ease of application and have a relatively more subtle odor. And though they have a good coverage rate, they are typically more costly than other sealers.

driveway into a castle

How is Blacktop Different From Asphalt?

In the US, many people use the terms asphalt and blacktop interchangeably. After all, they almost look exactly the same. 

Blacktop is actually a type of asphalt. They have the same main ingredients; however, blacktop has higher crushed stone content and due to this requires more heat when being produced. Blacktop driveways will have a rougher finish than asphalt. 

Compared to the more durable asphalt, blacktop is more commonly found in areas with relatively lesser traffic — including driveways, playground, and parking lots. Blacktop isn't suitable for commercial highways and other surfaces that encounter heavier loads on a daily basis.

Both blacktop and asphalt are flexible — meaning, they can be customized to match the needs of the surface where they’re being poured into. But blacktop is more prone to wear and tear if you’re living in a place with a generally warmer climate. This will lead to more frequent repairs and resealing in the long run. 

Nonetheless, as mentioned, blacktops and asphalt driveways are a great choice if you're located in a colder environment. In this setting, they can be the more cost-effective option in the long run.

what are the types?

What Are the Types of Driveway Sealer?

Given the relatively high cost of concrete driveways, you might be wondering if you have other options. One of the best alternatives you have is the asphalt.

Asphalt sealers are composed of two key ingredients. First is the mixed crushed stone and the other is a substance called bitumen. Bitumen is made from distilled petroleum and is used to hold the crushed stones. This viscous material is typically black in color, giving asphalt sealers their dark hue. 

Asphalt sealers are easy to apply and cure. You’d only need to give around a two-day allowance before your newly sealed driveway becomes functional again. 

One of this sealer’s advantages is its more economical upfront cost. Nonetheless, you have to take note that resealing will be more frequent (around every 3 to 5 years). 

Experts laud this sealer because it also produces a smoother and more quiet surface. Its noise-reduction property will not only be beneficial to you but to your neighbors as well. Both of these characteristics are the main reasons why many major roads and thoroughfares are coated with asphalt sealers. 

Compared to concrete sealers, their asphalt counterparts tend to be more friendly to colder environments. Because of its being black, it’s able to retain more heat from the sun — enabling it to melt snow more quickly. But if you’re in a warmer area, take note that asphalt sealers can   become oily. This makes its ingredients vulnerable to breakage, causing cracks once they dry up.

While asphalt sealers are considered to be versatile, they also tend to be less resistant to chemical spills. So if you’re concerned about fuel spills and the likes, you might want to weigh in other options apart from asphalt-based sealers.

FAqs

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Choose the Appropriate Type of Driveway Sealer?

When choosing among concrete, asphalt, and blacktop driveways, you have to take into account different factors.

As mentioned, your location plays a huge role in the longevity and ease of maintenance. Driveways in northern states — where the climate is generally colder — will benefit from asphalts and blacktop. On the other hand, southern state-located driveways will be better off if they’re made with concrete.  

You’d want to consider how you'd like your driveway to look. Both asphalt and blacktop driveways have a dark color while concrete tends to be more versatile — you can choose to maintain your surface’s appearance as it is, or elevate its look depending on the sealer’s color and gloss level. 

Before picking the type of driveway sealer you’ll use, also consider the vehicle you’re using and its usual load. The heavier it is, the more durable you’re sealer should be.

How Are Driveway Sealers Applied?

Though there are different types of driveway sealers available, DIY-ers and professionals typically follow the same procedure.

First, select days wherein the weather is expected to be dry. Then, prevent traffic to and from your driveway by barricading this part of your home. Make sure you have a temporary parking spot for your vehicle. 

Before doing any sealing, clean your driveway thoroughly first. If it’s unclean, it will affect the long-term performance of your sealer. If your driveway has cracks — big or small — you have to fill them with sealer. This will help you apply the sealer more evenly later. 

After ensuring all cracks have been filled, process with the application of your driveway sealer. Depending on your manufacturer’s instructions, you’d need to use either a roller, a squeegee, or a sprayer to cover the entire surface of your driveway. Go through the manual of the instructions to check how long the sealer will dry. 

If you need to apply another coating, do so only once the first layer has been completely dried up. Again, wait for a certain number of hours after the last coat has dried. Remove the barricades afterward.  For proper maintenance and after-care procedures, again, you have to refer to the instructions provided by your sealer supplier.

How Often Do You Need to Reseal Your Driveway?

As mentioned, asphalt sealers — including blacktops — need to be resealed every 3 to 5 years. This prompts homeowners to shell out more money in the long run compared to concrete sealers.

While concrete sealers are initially expensive, they require minimal to zero resealing. Silicate concrete sealers, for instance, only need to be applied once and they can already last a lifetime. For siliconate and siloxane water repellent sealers, the reapplication should only be done every 7 to 10 years. 

Epoxies and polyurethanes, on the other hand, need to be resealed every 5 to 10 years. The only concrete sealers that require a more frequent resealing are the acrylics. For this sealer, reapplication should be done every 1 to 5 years.

What's next?

Now that you know what deck sealer is and what type you need for the job your working on.  It's time to choose a product.