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Asphalt Driveway Sealer and How To Apply It

Asphalt driveway sealer fills the small holes that naturally occur in the driveway surface, and this filler prevents water from freezing and degrading the surface. Somewhat. It’s a small advantage, but it’s a lot of work and expense.

Looking for concrete? See links at bottom.

Sealing asphalt driveway is not necessary, but very nice and does help. In any case, do fill cracks to keep the water out, and keep any joints in good repair (more below).

This newspaper column argues why not to add a driveway sealer. If you really want to dig in, read the government doc on kinds of asphalt sealers. Bore — ing.

My favorite sealer is the Jetcoat Premium Driveway Sealer, Asphalt Crack Filler and Sealant: see it is online here.

But is it worth the time and the cost of all the goop? It’s not hard work. But you decide below.

What’s the point?

Argument For: Instant Curb Appeal is the best reason to do this. Selling? It looks awesome so you’ll get your money back when you sell.

  • A combination of air and the sun’s UV can make the asphalt become brittle, but slowly.
  • If you use salt, that accelerates the normal degradation and shortens the life of your asphalt.
  • Water freezes causing erosion. (The Appalachian mountains used to be as big as the Rockies. It’s true.)
  • Sealing blacktop’s top value: looks. It is the start of an endless cycle that you don’t need but will enjoy.

Argument Against: Think of all the asphalt roads that are never sealed. They’re exposed to the elements, used by heavy trucks, and last many years.

The Washington Post agrees: it’s almost needless!

A Must-Do

Keep on top of the cracks: more below.

As always, use the best, below I recommend only sealers boasting high polymers and at least a two-year warranty. Some offer warranties of 5 or 6 years, but that’s bunk. Read why here.

The Best Driveway Sealer

Why I get the best:
Here it is online, the Jetcoat Driveway Sealer. There is no point in buying low or medium-grade driveway sealers. The time and cost of re-coating frequently are actually more expensive in the long run.

I only recommend solvent-based sealers and paints for driveways. The one I recommend below contains petroleum asphalt, silicate, and polymers. What a goop.

Don’t use coal tar sealers: They are not at all environmentally friendly, so I don’t want them around. They are banned in some states, and the list will grow. Then, when they disappear, what will you do at re-coating time? Plus they stink forever in the heat.

Why not water-based?
Sure, water-based chemistry has come a long way, but I go with what works (and they cost the same).

What is the best driveway sealer product today?
From my research, I recommend Jetcoat for asphalt (not concrete or brick!). A five-gallon bucket only covers 250-300 sq. ft., on par with most others, but at least this one is quality. It fills smaller cracks. The shipping costs as much as the product, so try to find it locally, but if you can’t it’s still a good deal, and it’s delivered. To your driveway.

Key point: if you are selling, you’ll get your money back.

How to Apply Driveway Sealer:

You don’t need much info here. Stir it frequently, keep moving, don’t quit until it’s done, that’s the key thing. Aim for a uniform thickness: it’s not hard to get. A drill attachment is helpful to stir.

Tools: Apply with a squeegee or the back of a push broom. This tool has both – used in the video at the bottom. For main areas, and budget brushes you will toss to do the edges. You can clean the squeegee. For a thin coat (recommended two thin coats over one thick, as with paint), you can use the brush side to even it out.

Two Thin Coats are much more than twice as protective as one coat and last twice as long. I would go with the recommendation on this. A second coat of the sealant should be applied after the first coat has dried TO THE TOUCH OR WITHIN 24 HOURS.

So you need 2 days of no rain: the weather forecasts are as good today at the 5-day as they were at the 1-day in 1980, thanks to computer modelling.

Wait at least a day or more in cool weather for vehicle traffic. Send me before and after pics and I’ll make you as famous as me. Ha!

Block off your driveway, and clean the squeegee if you want.

Good video below.

How often do I have to re-seal the driveway?
As a general rule, you should seal your asphalt driveway every 2 to 3 years. But you don’t have to EVER seal it and if you do seal it, and it needs more, but you don’t want to, there is no rule that says you must. So? Your driveway won’t look great. It’s not the end of the world. On the other hand, it’s only money. And time. Oh yeah and the work. Oh, ug the smell.

But it looks great!

How long does driveway sealer last before it shows real degrading?
About two years in most North American climates.
Do I need to seal my driveway after pressure washing?
You don’t ‘need’ to. But if you want to seal it, yes, clean it really well. If you have read my posts, you know I love the Sun Joe line of washers. They go and go. Check the price on a good one.
Some ‘experts’ (internet ‘experts’) say yes, some say no. Think of all the asphalt in the world that is never sealed and heavily abused. Seems fine to me. But as stated above, good looks and some protection is a nice touch. But the downside is the mess, expense, and your time.

Fillng Cracks and Joints

I’ve written about joint maintenance in general, but here is a quickie on asphalt cracks.

Asphalt crack to fill before sealer

First option: A strong epoxy-based filler that comes in a caulk tube. I trust Red Devil. The best deal is a case: you’ll use it all. (Read about the kind of caulk gun that won’t fail if it gets dropped.) Don’t use a putty knife as the product suggests. I wrote about caulk guns and how to use them here.

Second option: A gallon of rubber polymer from the Henry Company that fills cracks up to 1/2 inch wide in asphalt driveways. Pour it straight out of the jug. Stands up to temperature extremes.

How to apply crack filler:

  • A precaution: you don’t have to, but you can use painter’s tape to mask off where you don’t want the goop (if you are not sealing the entire driveway).
  • Cut the nozzle as small as possible as it should fit into the smallest crack you have.
  • Fill the cracks up to and just above the surface of the crack.
  • Use a rag just damp and wipe off the excess.
  • Don’t push it in, and don’t let it get rained on until it dries or it will stain.


2 thoughts on “Asphalt Driveway Sealer and How To Apply It”

  1. Hi Brad,
    We found this article while searching for answers about the Jetcoat 7 Year Driveway Sealer. We bought 18 5-gallon buckets last spring but didn’t get to the project until now. They sat outside over Virginia’s winter.

    So we have the drive prepped, re-read the bucket (where it says don’t leave outside in freezing temps…didn’t see that before), opened a bucket to find it separated. It does come together pretty well after mixing but we don’t know if it should look this watery. We expected it to look thicker with the polymers.

    We applied a 1sqft test area at 6PM yesterday. It rained moderately overnight, between midnight and 6AM, temps around 60 with 80-90% humidity. Today the test patch is wet.

    Would you think the patch is still wet bc it rained overnight or bc the the buckets may have frozen and the sealant has been ruined? I don’t know when you’ll see this but thought it was worth a shot to see if we should proceed.

    Thanks much.

    • Don’t shoot the messenger:
      I think it’s ruined. Wait more to see if it ever dries.
      Go to the maker’s website and click ‘contact’ and copy what you wrote to me.
      I am not able to know. I can tell you that freezing paint ruins it. It separates just like yours.
      Is yours oil-based? That might be ok, but please talk to or email the company.


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