We’ve reached the time of year when colder, wetter weather is becoming more frequent, but there are still days mild enough to finish last-minute outdoor projects before winter. And if you’ve noticed that each spring, your paved driveway looks a little (or a lot) worse for wear, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent that from happening this year.
Well, according to an article on ThisOldHouse.com by Mark Clement, this may be the year to sealcoat your driveway. Here’s what that is, and how to do it.
What is driveway sealcoating?
First of all, what’s the point of sealcoating your driveway? According to Clement, it “creates a membrane that protects the concrete or other substrate from the damaging effects of the sun, gasoline, rock salt, oil, and ice.” So, really, driveway sealcoating has year-round benefits, but tends to be associated with something to do before winter because of how much rock salt and ice can do in one season.
How to sealcoat your driveway
The best conditions for sealcoating a driveway are dry weather and temperatures above 50 degrees, Clement explains, adding that it’s possible to finish the project over a weekend. Start by moving vehicles to the street, and clipping any grass that is bordering the driveway or growing up through it, using a string trimmer.
Then remove the grease and dirt on the driveway. “This part of the job calls for a general degreaser, which can be applied with a pressure washer that has a detergent reservoir, though a garden sprayer will work, too,” Clement writes.
If you have oil and gas stains that may repel or discolor the sealer, he says to spot-clean them with a specialized cleanser and a stiff bristle brush. Next, seal large cracks and fill in any potholes on the driveway. Clements provides more detailed instructions on how to do that in his article.
Now, it’s time to get out the sealant. First, use a 4″ paint brush (that you don’t mind throwing away) to apply the sealant to the borders of a driveway—similar, Clement says, to painting the borders of a room before getting out the roller and filling in the large middle area.
When that’s done and you’re ready to move on to the rest of the driveway (called the “field” in this context), follow the directions on the sealant, and refer to Clement’s article for additional tips.
Once you’re finished, Clement advises blocking the foot of the driveway with cones or used sealant to keep others from driving on it. If you’re using a quick-dry sealant, you should keep foot traffic off the driveway for about an hour. But Clement says that for two-coat systems, it should be car- and pedestrian-free for up to 48 hours.