Your driveway is the area of your home that receives the heaviest traffic. If your driveway is made of asphalt, the heavy traffic combined with weather and age can cause cracks to form. Many people wonder if you can fill driveway cracks with sealer. We've done the research to figure out whether or not this is true.
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While sealing your driveway is necessary to maintain its appearance, driveway sealer is not the best option for filling in cracks. The crack will still be there and could worsen over time if you use driveway sealer as your primary repair method.
So if driveway sealer can't be used to fill in cracks, what is its purpose? In this article, we'll look at the proper way to use driveway sealer, make suggestions about which ones to use, and discuss how to fill in any cracks in your driveway. Continue reading to learn more.
What Is The Purpose Of Driveway Sealer?
Driveway sealer is used to improve the appearance of and protect the asphalt that makes up your driveway. The process of using driveway sealer on your driveway is called seal-coating and is a necessary part of driveway maintenance if your driveway is paved.
Driveway sealer works by creating a layer between your driveway's surface and elements such as the air, sun, and weather that can damage your driveway over time. When the sealer is applied and hardens, it can keep the color of your driveway from fading, as well as smooth out any minor irregular areas on the surface.
Should Driveway Cracks Be Sealed?
Besides being unsightly and encouraging weed growth, cracks in your driveway can cause significant problems, especially if they are left unrepaired. Cracks allow water to pass through the asphalt to the driveway support system below. This can weaken the support system through erosion, which can cause potholes, sagging, or sinkholes to occur.
If a major issue like that happens, it can cost you a lot of money to repair, so the cracks need to be filled in. And while sealer is designed to protect your driveway, it is not recommended to use driveway sealer to fill in cracks.
This is because asphalt is supposed to expand and contract with changing temperatures. But when you use a sealer to fill in cracks, the sealer hardens. It won't expand and contract with the asphalt, which can cause the sealer to crack and create the same problem you just fixed. But even though driveway sealer can't be used to fill in cracks, it can seal them once the cracks are repaired properly.
How To Seal-Coat A Driveway
Now that we've discussed whether or not driveway sealer can be used to fill in cracks and what the purpose of it is, we will explain the necessary steps on how to properly seal-coat your driveway. Here is what you'll need:
- Crack filler
- Driveway patch
- Driveway sealer
Clean The Driveway
Before you can seal-coat your driveway, you need to clean it as thoroughly as possible to ensure that the sealer sticks. First, you will need to sweep any leaves and other debris from your driveway. You can also use a leaf blower instead. If you have one or want to rent one, you can use a pressure washer for more thorough cleaning after removing the debris, but this is optional. You will also need to let the surface dry before proceeding.
Fill In The Cracks
Remember that filling in the cracks correctly is necessary for your driveway to be sealed properly. To do this, you can either use a crack filler or driveway patch, depending on the size of the crack.
Smaller cracks can be filled with crack filler, which only needs to dry for about 6 to 8 hours. But the best way to repair large cracks is with driveway patch, which requires a cure time of about 4 to 6 weeks before you can seal over it.
Seal The Edges
After the filled-in cracks have had time to dry, mix the sealer following the instructions on the package. Then, you will need to seal the edges of the sidewalk by hand using a paintbrush. This is to ensure that the edges look neat. Just start at one end of the driveway and work your way to the other end.
This multipurpose sealer works great for asphalt driveways. Click here to see it on Amazon.
This sealer protects against water and salt damage. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
This driveway sealer can be purchased in different sizes and will give your driveway a wet look. Click here to see it on Amazon.
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Seal The Rest Of The Driveway
After sealing the edges, seal the rest of the driveway by pouring sealant near the edges using the squeegee to spread it out, working across the width of the driveway. The best way to do this is to pull the sealer across the driveway, keeping the pressure consistent so that the sealer is applied evenly. Then, allow 24 hours for the sealer to cure.
This squeegee is perfect for sealing driveways. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Apply A Second Coat
After the first coat is dry, you may want to apply a second coat to cover patchy or uneven areas and provide greater protection. Apply the second coat like you did the first one, and let it dry for an additional 24 hours. Avoid driving on your driveway for 48-72 hours.
Is Seal-Coating A Driveway Worth It?
Most experts agree that seal-coating a driveway is beneficial and prolongs the life of the driveway. However, opinions differ on how often you should seal-coat your driveway. Some suggestions say that you should reseal it every three years, while others say that you should only do it as necessary. It is a lot of work, so it's entirely up to you whether or not you think it's worth it, and often you do it.
See More: Should You Seal Your Concrete Driveway?
What's The Best Weather For Seal-Coating?
The best weather for seal-coating is a sunny, clear day. Any excess moisture in the air can affect the adhesion and drying of the sealer. This includes moisture due to rain or excess humidity. Since seal-coating does take several days if done properly, make sure you have a few dry, clear days ahead of you before you start.
Should I Seal My Driveway Myself Or Hire Someone?
Seal-coating your driveway is not a difficult project or one that is too expensive. However, it can be time- and energy-consuming. It isn't a project that can be done in one day. You should allow yourself at least a couple of days to work on the project, and you can't use your driveway during the process.
Hiring a professional to seal your driveway is a great option if you don't have the time or energy to do it yourself. But by choosing this option, you will probably pay more for the supplies and labor needed to complete the job. And, you still won't be able to use your driveway during the process.
There are pros and cons to each option, but whether you choose to do the work yourself or hire a professional ultimately depends on what you can handle both physically and financially.
We hope you found this information about filling in cracks and sealing your driveway to be helpful. Driveway sealer is not the best option for filling in cracks because it doesn't expand with the asphalt, but it can be used on top of repaired cracks. If you do decide to seal-coat your driveway, just be prepared for a few days of work. Thanks for reading!