Does Driveway Sealer Expire Or Go Bad?

Driveway sealer is used to prevent damage to concrete or asphalt from weather and vehicle leaks. It can get expensive to seal a driveway. There are several types of sealers, and the coverage amount varies depending on the type of sealer and the size and roughness of the driveway. When you reseal the driveway, you have some excess leftover from the first application, and would like to know if it is still good to use. We've researched whether driveway sealer expires to get the answer for you.

Driveway sealer does go bad. The shelf life of the sealer depends on the type of sealer being used. Driveway sealers can be stored between one and five years, depending on the type. Most manufacturers do not recommend storing for longer periods because the chemicals break down and are no longer effective. Proper storage is paramount, and if the sealers freeze, they are rendered useless.

There are several varieties of driveway sealers from which to choose. It can be overwhelming to figure out exactly which product to use. The two most common types of sealers include black asphalt sealers and acrylic or latex-based clear coat sealers. Please keep reading as we breakdown each of these sealer types for you to determine how best to store and reuse the remaining sealer.

A man putting driveway sealer on the driveway, Does Driveway Sealer Expire or Go Bad?

Does Driveway Sealer Expire?

Most driveways (600 sq ft) require at least three containers for coverage. Manufacturers suggest purchasing an extra container than the suggested amount per square foot because it is important not to run out mid-application; this can result in uneven distribution and color variance. The extra purchase almost always results in leftover sealer.  

Black Asphalt Sealer

Black asphalt sealers can be applied any time to driveways, old or new. Application recommendations suggest applying every seven to ten years to ensure long-term maintenance of your driveway. This sealer only has a shelf life of up to one year. It has the longest duration between applications but is the most difficult to store. 

In addition to freezing which disables additional use, asphalt sealer is susceptible to bacteria that will break down the asphalt. It is recommended to apply this type of sealer in the summer months, and manufacturers discourage storing beyond the following spring.

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Acrylic or Latex Based Clear Coat Sealers

Acrylic and latex-based clear coat sealers should be applied immediately after new concrete has cured and reapplied every two to five years. These types of sealers are water-based, have a comparable feel to paint, and can be stored in the same way. This type of sealer can be saved for up to five years but is generally recommended to be used within three years of opening.  After three years, it is considered to break down and lose its effectiveness.

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Do you need to stir driveway sealer?

Manufacturers recommend storing black asphalt sealer upside down the night before applying. Separation occurs in as short as three hours. It must be stirred before application because the uniform texture is required for even application. Use a paddle and electric mixer – hand stirring alone will not homogenize enough to get an even application.  Paddle attachments for electric hand drills can be purchased from most local hardware stores.

Clear acrylic and latex concrete sealers also need to be stirred. The different components of the sealer can separate and decrease the effectiveness of the product. Mixing with a paddle and electric mixer is also recommended to achieve an even distribution of the chemicals so that application is also uniform.

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How do you store driveway sealer?

The most important factor in storing sealer is that it must not freeze. No matter what kind of sealer is being used, freezing will ruin the sealer, and it will not be able to be used. It is recommended to store all sealers above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at a constant temperature. It is also important not to store any of the sealers in a sprayer. Sealer manufacturers suggest storing sealer in the container in which it came.

Black asphalt sealer will last through winter and can be used the following year. Storage in a temperate environment is vital to its reuse. Bacteria commonly destroy Asphalt-based sealer during storage. A biocide chemical can be added to preserve the product at a rate of 1.5 to 2.0 gallons per 1,000 gallons of sealer. A biocide is defined as a chemical substance or microorganism intended to destroy, deter, render harmless or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. Professionals recommend stirring the product periodically while storing. 

The acrylic and latex-based clear concrete sealers are much easier to store. It is still imperative to not allow freezing; however, if kept in a temperate environment, the shelf life is up to five years.

What can you do with leftover driveway sealer?

If you choose not to store your leftover sealer or had the intention to use it but never did, disposal is an option. Since most driveway sealers are expected to not be used within the recommended re-application timeframe, the excess sealer's proper disposal is important. 

All driveway sealers are considered hazardous waste. Contact your local transfer station or landfill site for details on proper disposal in your area. Some cities and towns have specific household hazardous waste drop-off facilities. These facilities have the tools and methods to properly recycle or dispose of the contents in order to prevent environmental pollution. Either way, there is usually a fee associated with taking the leftover sealer, in many cases around $50.

Most people will empty at least three containers while applying the sealer.  In the case that all the sealer has been used and the container is completely empty, it is generally considered safe to dry out the containers and throw them in the trash.  

In Closing

Both asphalt and acrylic or latex sealers do go bad. Proper storage of the product will directly affect its shelf life. Black asphalt sealers have the shortest ability to be stored, with manufacturers and users alike not recommending more than one year of storage.  Acrylic and latex-based sealers have the longest shelf life of up to five years. The most important thing to remember when storing driveway sealers with the intention of reuse is to make sure that they do not freeze.

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