Add a fresh coat of sealant to your driveway every one to three years
Knowing if and when you should seal a driveway can be tricky. Even experts have differing opinions and factors like the type of driveway and climate play into how often you should seal your driveway. But, with these few tips in mind and a free weekend, you can make your driveway look brand new—but only when you need to.
Why Driveways Need Resealing
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a brand new driveway. But over time, harsh sunlight, rain, excessive snow, freezing temperatures, road salts, and heavy traffic can all cause wear and tear, like cracks and oil leaks.
When to Seal a Driveway
Generally, you can expect to seal a driveway about every three years. Some homeowners choose to seal asphalt driveways annually, but don’t do the same with concrete. Sealing concrete yearly can lead to more hairline cracks, so if you have a concrete driveway, you should consider resealing it every five years.
Regardless of the type of driveway you have or the climate you live in, there are some common ways to tell when a driveway needs fresh sealant.
After the driveway gets wet from rain or a hose, observe how it dries. If it dries unevenly, that means moisture is soaking into some spots more than others and could use a new coating of sealant.
Anytime you notice even a small crack in the driveway, particularly for asphalt, it’s a good time to consider resealing. For larger cracks of more than a quarter of an inch, you should consider filling the crack, then resealing.
How Long It Takes to Seal a Driveway
Prepare to set aside a weekend, maybe two to three days, to seal your driveway. Prep work takes about a day on its own and involves deep-cleaning the driveway, trimming long grass along the edges of the driveway, filling in cracks, and mixing the sealant.
Once the sealant is mixed, you can expect to spend a couple of hours adding one coat, and experts recommend doing two coats. Wait eight hours between each coat.
After the final coat, wait another eight hours before walking on the driveway. Wait up to 48 hours before driving on the freshly sealed driveway.
The Best Time to Seal a Driveway
The cost to seal a driveway can vary depending on whether you DIY or hire a professional, although we recommend hiring a professional.
DIY Cost to Seal a Driveway
The cost of driveway sealants varies widely, with prices ranging from around $15 per 5-gallons of product to $165 per 5-gallons of product, which covers 500 square feet with a single coat.
Additional costs may include a pressure washer, oil spot cleaners/primers, a sealcoating broom, and a mixing paddle. The average cost for just the materials is $440, including the sealant.
If you have a brand new asphalt driveway, apply sealer between 30 days and six months after the first installation of the asphalt. Then, you can expect to reapply every one to three years. If you live in an area with colder temperatures or frequent rain, you may need to reapply annually. If you’re always driving to and from school drop-offs/pick-ups, soccer fields, and the office, you might also need to reapply more often than driveways that see less traffic.
Hiring a Professional
For an average-sized driveway, prices typically average between $173 to $707 when handled by a professional. Hiring a professional, on average, is $36 an hour or $1.15 per square foot, and a single coat for 500 square feet takes about 16 hours.
These rates can range depending on the type of driveway, too. Rates for sealing asphalt are cheaper at $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot, while one con of a concrete driveway is that sealing it is costlier at $0.85 to $2.15 per square foot.
Sealing a Driveway Can Boost Its Life and Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Although it can take up an entire weekend, sealing the driveway is essential for prolonging its life by protecting it against the elements. A well-cared-for driveway can last decades. Plus, a fresh coat of sealant every few years can give your home a little facelift.