You probably already know that sealcoating is important to maintaining your home's driveway. Routine sealcoating helps provide that beautiful deep, black shine, but it's also a functional process. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, asphalt sealcoating protects your driveway from the damage it can incur from ultraviolet rays, water, and even vehicle fluids.
However, you may need to sealcoat your driveway more often than you would expect. If you've recently conducted repairs, such as fixing a pothole or releveling a drainage grate, it may be the perfect time to add a new sealcoat.
Why Do Repairs and Sealcoating Go Hand-in-Hand?
A durable sealcoat generally requires a smooth asphalt surface in relatively good condition. While sealcoating can restore your driveway to a like-new finish, it can't fix major underlying structural issues. Although most sealcoats can cover minor cracks, larger breaks typically require a filler before applying the sealcoat.
Getting your driveway into the best shape possible before sealcoating will produce a better result and, more importantly, help your sealcoat to provide better and longer-lasting protection. Since the sealcoat is less flexible than the underlying asphalt, existing damage can cause the sealcoat to flex and break, ultimately forcing you to apply a new sealer much sooner than would otherwise be necessary.
Since getting your driveway into good shape can be beneficial for the durability of your sealcoat, most professional paving contractors will recommend these repairs during routine sealcoating. In other words, you should fix relatively minor problems in your driveway about once every two or three years.
Why Shouldn't You Wait to Sealcoat After a Major Repair?
Of course, some repairs can't wait several years for routine maintenance. Expanding cracks, major potholes, and sinking drainage systems require immediate attention. Ignoring these problems for too long can make your driveway unsafe for vehicles and pedestrians and may even lead to much more expensive problems in the future.
Even if you've sealcoated your driveway relatively recently, it's worth considering a new application after any major repairs. These repairs almost always involve replacing lost asphalt material, which means installing new, unsealed asphalt into your driveway. This new asphalt will stand out like a sore thumb against your older pavement and, more importantly, will lack the protection of fresh sealcoating.
Sealcoating your entire driveway after a major repair will blend the new asphalt into the old driveway, hiding the repair and making your driveway look brand new again. Additionally, the sealcoat will help protect your repair. Since fresh asphalt may be especially vulnerable to damage, this added layer of protection can help ensure your repair remains durable and long-lasting.