Whether you have a home or business asphalt driveway, you might be curious about sealing asphalt driveway pros and cons.
Sealing the asphalt can keep the driveway in great condition and boost curb appeal.
Although a degreaser can get rid of the occasional oil spot and crack fillers can look after little cracks, you might be considering something which can stop these issues from happening in the first place.
There are both pros and cons to sealing asphalt. Even though it can extend the life of your asphalt, mother nature will take over eventually.
How To Pave the Driveway with Asphalt
First let’s take a look at how to pave the driveway with asphalt to make sure it’s long-lasting and strong, and then we can look at whether sealing the asphalt is a good option for you:
Step #1 – Demolition
Any existing asphalt has to be removed first and then you are going to need to remove the rubble.
This might sound simple but bear in mind you will need a forklift or Bobcat, or similar heavy machinery, as well as the necessary training and expertise.
Even if there is no existing asphalt you still have to get rid of the top level of ground so leveling is made easier.
Step #2 – Grading and sloping
You can grade and slope the land after removing the old blacktop or top level of ground. This ensures you have a good rain roll-off.
Standing water can cause heaving, cracks and potholes so don’t skip this step!
Step #3 – Prepare the base
It’s important to prepare the sub-base before adding the asphalt. This compacts it to make sure the asphalt isn’t damaged later.
Sometimes ice can form underneath the blacktop during cold weather which would cause cracks, for example.
Step #4 – Proof rolling
This involves making sure the sub base is strong enough to support the asphalt and you will use a proof roll.
Before applying a binder layer you need to fix any soft spots.
Step #5 – Application of a binder layer
Oil mixed in with large aggregate makes the binder. This layer strengthens the surface before the blacktop is added.
Step #6 – Add the asphalt layer
This layer is made of sand, oil and small aggregate, and it should look shiny and be smooth after adding.
Step #7 – Joints and transitions
Transitions and butt joints are used to fix the asphalt to the existing road, driveway or other surface.
Step #8 – The roller truck
Now the asphalt surface can be smoothed out with a roller truck. This evens out any bumps in the asphalt so your surface will be beautifully paved.
Why Use an Asphalt Sealer?
As you can see, making asphalt paving isn’t really a DIY project since you need a certain amount of expertise as well as heavy machinery.
The expense of making asphalt paving means it’s best to protect the investment from the beginning, first by making sure you hire a professional asphalt technician and then by adding the right sealer.
Sealing the asphalt can help minimize the effects of time, UV rays and weather and prevent certain issues from happening.
Of course you don’t want to sprain your ankle or ruin a tire in pothole-covered asphalt.
If you’ve invested in great asphalt, it seems to make sense to use a sealer, although there are both pros and cons.
First, what exactly can go wrong with unsealed asphalt?
Snow, rain and even sunny days can take a toll on the asphalt. Water sometimes gets into the porous material, making potholes and cracks.
When it turns to ice, that ice will expand and contract. If this happens you can expect fissures and cracks in the blacktop which will get worse as time goes on.
UV rays are as bad for your asphalt as they are for your skin.
Just as they can dry out your skin, they can dry out the blacktop, making the material bonds weaker.
This leads to fissures and cracks which gradually get worse.
One of the biggest dangers to your new blacktop is water. Poor drainage means the possibility of standing water on top.
This water will then seep into the asphalt and cause cracks and potholes, the same as you’d expect in a river bed or well-watered garden.
You are likely to already see wear and tear unless your asphalt is brand new. It’s true these blacktop driveways can last for up to 25 years.
There are a number of factors influencing their longevity though, such as the soil underneath, regular maintenance and protective sealants.
Vehicle weight and oil stains can shorten the lifespan of an asphalt driveway. You know how some parts of a parking lot seem in worse disrepair than others?
That’s because the spot nearest to the entrance of the building are typically chosen first.
Wear and tear and chemicals can leave marks and ruin asphalt paving.
These reasons are why you might want to apply a sealant coat to the new asphalt. An asphalt sealer is a coal tar layer that will cover the blacktop surface and offer protections from water, ice, UV rays, and chemicals.
What are the Pros of Asphalt Driveway Sealer?
- It can extend the lifespan of a concrete or asphalt parking lot or driveway.
- Sealant is easy to apply.
- Sealant can protect against oil stains, water and chemicals.
- It’s the cheapest way of resurfacing and repairing asphalt.
What are the cons of Asphalt Driveway Sealer?
- You have to reapply it every several years.
- You need specific temperature and weather conditions to be able to apply it.
How Do You Know When It’s Time for Sealant?
If you are seeing cracking, pooling water after rain, potholes, buckles or other surface warping, or UV ray discoloration, it sounds like sealant could be a good idea.
You will obviously want your new driveway to last as long as possible and stay in the best condition.
Sealant is certainly cheaper than having to replace the entire asphalt. It can even be time-consuming adding fillers to potholes or patching cracks.
In almost all situations, sealing a new asphalt driveway is a solid choice.