Asphalt driveways can provide many benefits over using concrete. Unfortunately, they also require a bit more maintenance to keep them looking and functioning properly. In fact, making sure to seal your driveway occasionally is one of the easiest ways to prolong its life for years to come.
Of course, no matter what do you do it will eventually be necessary to have the driveway resurfaced. The problem is that many homeowners struggle to determine whether their asphalt needs a simple sealing or if it needs to be torn out and resurfaced. That’s why we’ve produced this handy guide to tell you everything you need to know about asphalt sealing and resurfacing.
How Often Does Asphalt Need Sealed?
The question of how often an asphalt driveway needs to be resealed is one that many homeowners and even experts argue over. In truth, the answer depends on both the overall condition of your driveway and the type of climate you live in. In Connecticut, the cold winters and hot summers combine to cause asphalt to become damaged more quickly than in hot, dry climates.
For this reason, it is generally a good idea to have your driveway resealed every two to three years. Although some homeowners insist on sealing their driveway every single year, this can potentially cause the sealcoat to crack and peel more so its best avoided.
It’s always best to judge things by eye, as there are several obvious signs that your driveway needs sealing. If you notice multiple small cracks or the asphalt is turning grey and weathered looking, it’s time to reseal. The sealcoat will restore the shiny, bright appearance of the driveway and seal up any smaller hairline cracks. However, it’s important to have any larger cracks filled before resealing.
Sealcoating vs Resurfacing
Cracks and other damage to your driveway allow water to penetrate underneath the base of the asphalt. In winter, this water freezes and thus causes the cracks to expand and eventually break up the driveway into chunks. When the pavement begins to be severely cracked and broken, no amount of rubber fill will be enough to fully hold it together. Similarly, resealing will do nothing to repair major breaks or deep ruts.
In both cases, the only option is to have the asphalt completely resurface. No amount of sealing or filling of cracks will be enough to repair a driveway once it reaches a certain condition. In addition, trying to fill too big of an area with rubber can lead to further damage. During hotter weather, the rubber can easily get stuck to your tires with the result that you can basically rip some of the asphalt right out of the driveway.
The Importance of Filling Cracks
Of course, making sure to seal your driveway every few years is still a good way to help prevent some of the cracking in the first place. Nonetheless, sealing is more for cosmetic purposes since it can’t fill in larger cracks. Therefore, it is also important that you are diligent about regularly inspecting your driveway and filling any large cracks as soon as you spot them. This is especially true when winter is coming, as the continuous freezing and thawing can wreak havoc on damaged asphalt and quickly turn small cracks into giant pot holes.
In truth, determining when to reseal your driveway isn’t rocket science. All it takes is that you pay attention to your driveway and look out for any damage, cracks, fading and other signs. By taking a bit of time to ensure your driveway is properly maintained, you can hopefully avoid having it resurface for many more years.