Seal It Up – Proper Ways to Seal An Asphalt Driveway

by Dave The Handyman on October 16, 2012

An asphalt driveway is an important part of your property. You treat it as your personal highway where you frequently roll your vehicle. It also serves as the main connection of your house to your back or front yard and to the main streets.

Just like how public roads are maintained, however, your own stretch of road needs care as well. After several years of constant use and exposure to a wide variety of elements outdoors, your asphalt driveway can get that worn, pitted look, not to mention that it might already be boring holes and cracks. All it takes to address these problems is a simple resurfacing job. Fortunately, you do not need hire professionals to get the job done. Keeping your asphalt driveway in shape is a task you can do yourself. This is also the perfect time of the year to restore and protect your driveway, before winter sets in along with its subfreezing temperatures. Here’s how you can do it.

Steps to Take Before Getting Into the Actual Repair of the Surface

Check for problem spots

Inspect your asphalt driveway carefully and take note of oily stains and possible damages such as cracks, potholes and crumbling. Look closely to the edges of your driveway as these areas are particularly vulnerable against damage.

Clean up the stains

If there are stains such as oil or grease on the driveway, wash them with a combination of detergent and hot water and scrub them with a stiff brush. If they are difficult to remove, use a degreaser, oil-spot primer or a cleaning solution especially designed for driveways which you can purchase in your local home center. Then, wash the area and allow the surface to dry.

Address cracks

Driveways are likely to develop cracks due to frequent use. If left unattended, these cracks, no matter how small, can invite more trouble which can be expensive to repair. Hence, if your driveway has cracks, address them immediately.

There are various products available in the market designed to fill in cracks in asphalt driveways. Most of them are appropriately used depending on the size of the damage. For instance, liquid fillers are recommended for cracks that are a quarter inch in size, while the roll-type filler is ideally used for cracks that are between the size of one quarter and half an inch. The use of a stuff foam backer may also be used along with the filler if the crack is wider one-half inch. With these selections available, it is vital to read the manufacturer’s instructions prior to application. The cracks should also be cleaned of dirt, grass and other particles, and completely dried before the filler is applied.

Patch holes

If the cracks in your asphalt driveway have eventually widened into holes, you need to repair them using a blacktop patch (cold patch). Clean the potholes first, making sure no loose materials are left behind. Using a trowel, fill the holes with the patch mix. Compact the area using a hand tamper and add more asphalt mix until the opening is somewhat overfilled. After filling the holes, lay a plywood over each patch, and drive your vehicle over them so that they will be on the same level as the rest of the driveway. Let the patch cure for at least 24 hours before you proceed sealing the entire driveway.

Prep up the driveway

The final step you need to do before you put the sealer to the driveway is to clean the area thoroughly. With a push broom at hand, remove the debris and other particles on your driveway. Then using a hose or pressure washer, rinse the surface of your drive to remove loose dirt. You may choose to scrub the surface if the driveway is dirty. After which, allow the area to dry.

Sealing Your Asphalt Driveway

Driveway maintenance products, especially sealers, should be applied on a relatively warm, dry day when you do not foresee rain for the new few days. Hence, before applying the sealer, check the weather forecast first. Also, be prepared to keep your driveway out of service for several days as some sealers may take two more days to completely dry.

There are different types of sealers available, including tar-emulsion, asphalt-emulsion and advanced latex-acrylic. The tar-emulsion types are the cheapest, but requires constant stirring and provide minimal protection. Asphalt-emulsions are the most preferred choice as they provide excellent protection against oil stains and water penetration. Advanced latex-acrylic sealers, on the other hand, are fast-drying (usually 4 hours) and provide superior surface protection though such features come at a hefty price.

Regardless of the sealer you pick, the most important thing to do is to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using it on your driveway. Pay attention to what type of tool should be used, the recommended amount and how many coats are needed to achieve the result you desire.


This article was penned by one of the regular contributors of, a company that provides premier roof coatings services.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Try Angie's List!