If you have an asphalt driveway, properly maintaining it means applying a sealant every three to five years. If you have a concrete driveway, sealcoating is optional, but does offer many benefits. Knowing which type of sealant to apply ensures that the problems you are seeing with your drive are resolved.
Asphalt is an aggregate mix of stone and sand held together with tar. In hot weather, the tar can start to melt and become tacky. In cold weather, water can seep into the pores and freeze, causing cracks as the ice expands. It is also faded by sunlight and can become discolored when different liquids are spilled on it. Motor oil left on an asphalt surface will make it slick.
To extend the life of your driveway, and keep it looking good, you need to fill any cracks with an asphalt crack filler and then apply a sealant. If you are concerned about fading from the sun, use a coal-tar sealant. To change the color of your driveway from the standard black of asphalt, apply a tinted acrylic sealant. Oil based sealers offer very good protection against the elements; however, if they are oil or petroleum based, they may leach harmful chemicals into the ground. A green alternative is a water-based sealer can be used, but will need to be reapplied more frequently.
Like asphalt, concrete is a mixture comprised of sand and stone. However, instead of using tar to hold it all together, concrete uses cement. Color can be added to the cement to make the concrete any tint you like. In addition, any design can be stamped or cut into it, creating a unique look to your driveway.
However, being a porous substance, water can seep into it and freeze, the same way it does in asphalt. In addition, if the ground was not properly prepared before pouring the concrete, grass and weeds will push up through it, causing more cracks. Chemicals like gasoline can corrode concrete.
To protect a concrete driveway from cold damage and chemical corrosion and epoxy sealant should be applied. This may not stop all cracks if there are extreme weather conditions, but it will limit the amount of damage. It will seep into any designs cut into the concrete to help keep them from eroding. If you do not have any designs in the concrete, you can use a linseed oil sealant to keep precipitation from seeping into it and causing cracks. The oil also limits any growth under the driveway to stop weeds from pushing up through any small cracks or crevices.
Keeping your driveway crack-free will save on the wear and tear on your vehicle's tires. It also keeps the front of your property looking good. Applying a sealant every few years is not that big of a deal, just make sure to use the right sealant. Contact a company like Stritar Seal Coating for more information about sealcoating.