Seal Coating Driveway Cost, Tips, Schedule and Benefits

May 02, 2019 9 Comments

Every year around September and October many driveways and parking areas are seal coated, but why? Why the need to seal coat driveways and asphalt pavement?

Seal coating is the process of applying an emulsion type product over the existing asphalt driveway that will seal and even fill small voids and cracks. This process can be completed to prevent additional damages to the pavement by weather and chemicals in contact with the driveway or parking area.

Seal coating process: When and how soon?

The seal coating process can be applied normally one year after the initial pavement has been placed to allow proper cure and wear of the surface. However, it is recommended to seal coat driveways and pavements every two to three years, occasionally going down to one year, depending on the traffic and pavement conditions. Once applied you will need to protect the area at least 36 hours, 48 hours is the actual recommendation to allow for the chemical to set and cure. Depending on the manufacturers' recommendation, the right time of the year to seal coat is the one on which temperatures will drop to 55 degrees, so the product can cure properly, but watch out that leaves and debris might degrade the emulsion coating one it has been applied and before it has set.

How much does it cost to seal an asphalt driveway?

International publications indicate that the average cost for materials to seal a driveway is about 40 cents per square foot. It might be higher depending on the area that needs to be covered, so you might want to factor in an additional 40 to 60 cents for the labor cost. A typical work on a driveway can be completed for approximately $1 per square feet but it all depends on the size and conditions of the driveway. Bear in mind that walls and other obstacles that prevent you from applying the seal coating with a squeegee will significantly add costs to your project.

 Low-end sealants range from $6 to $9 for a 5-gallon pail that covers about 400 sq.ft. while top graded products will cost around $25 per 5-gallon pail and can cover up to 300 square feet.

How many types of seal coatings are available?

There are two main products available: coal tar sealers and asphalt emulsion coatings. The first one is cheaper and will require more product management when it is being applied. If you are concerned about fuel and chemical spills, this is the one to use, if not you might want to use the asphalt emulsion type. This type of sealer is easier to apply but won't create a great protection layer against chemical spills and will also emit less volatile organic compounds VOCs than regular coal-tar-based products.

It is important to know that the more solids in the product, the better quality the sealant might have. Be sure to verify manufacturers recommendations before buying the product and make sure it is intended for your use.

Seal coating benefits 

Now that you are ready to the work, it is important to make a case for it and let your customer know about the many benefits of seal coating the area. Here are some good benefits of the process:

  • Extend the life of the driveway and parking lot
  • It creates a uniform coat over the pavement 
  • Protect the driveway from salts, chemicals, and moisture from entering into the pavement
  • Easily applied using squeegees or spraying
  • It is a cost-effective way of repairing or surfacing the existing pavement extending the life of the pavement and driveway
  • Will help on having a smooth uniform surface with minor cracks and repairs will be part of the process.

Tips when applying seal coats

When applying the product be sure to follow these tips for better performance:

  • When the area is large consider spraying it instead of seal coating with squeegees
  • Sand can be mixed with the product to create a non-slippery surface and to provide a little more consistency to the seal coating product
  • Be sure to seal coat when the temperature is over 40-45 degrees, otherwise, the coat will not adhere to the substrate
  • Use a pressure washer prepare the driveway by cleaning all cracks and removing all debris and vegetation in cracks
  • Seal coating products can be used to cover cracks as wide as 1/8 inch, so don't try to use it on cracks wider than 1/8 inch, it won't work and might fail.
  • A couple of days before starting, turn the coating pails upside down so the coating can be mixed better
  • Before running out of seal coat product, be sure to add the next pail to the existing one so you can maintain the same or similar color appearance.
  • Do not apply a thick layer, it won't work properly. The thinner the better, and apply it using a criss-cross pattern, the first one in one direction and once it has dried, apply the second coat in a perpendicular motion related to the first layer.
  • Do not use the seal coat process to fill up potholes, instead, apply some asphalt or pothole fill product that will level the area. This is especially needed in areas where the cars are parked overnight or where they tend to stop.
  • Be careful. The product will stain other areas so make sure everything is protected before applying it.
  • Oil stains should be removed using an oil stain primer prior to applying the coating product.
  • Cracks larger than 1/4 inch wide should be patched before proceeding. We recommend using a hot rubberized crack sealer to repair these cracks.

9 Responses

Eve Mitchell
Eve Mitchell

February 27, 2023

My husband and I are planning to install an asphalt driveway as soon as it warms up in a month or so. We both think this would be a great investment for our home and we want it to last us a long time. It’s good to know that sealcoating asphalt can help extend the life of the driveway and create a uniform look.

Shammy Peterson
Shammy Peterson

February 16, 2023

I found it helpful when you said that when you are concerned about fuel and chemical spills, you must consider coal tar sealers. This is something that I will share with my brother because he is planning to have a new driveway installed next weekend. He mentioned that he wants to have it sealcoated after to save him money from repairs. He has to consider that he drives cars and trucks, so I will ask him to follow your tips.

Elina Brooks
Elina Brooks

December 10, 2022

It was helpful when you recommended that we consider coal tar sealers for our asphalt if we’re concerned about fuel and chemical spills since they’re the best option to consider as protection. I imagine if you manage a gas station, it would help to have coal tar sealers for your driveway to protect the surface from oil spills. I’ll be sure to remember this while I look for a contractor to call for asphalt pavement maintenance soon.

Eve Mitchell
Eve Mitchell

November 14, 2022

Thanks for mentioning that there are two main types of products for seal coating. I’ve had an asphalt driveway for just over two months, but I need to get it sealed again. I’ve heard that it’s difficult to do in the winter, so I’ll have to wait until Spring.

Anna Collins
Anna Collins

October 18, 2022

It sure did help when you informed us that it typically costs around $1 per square foot when working on a driveway but it still depends on the size and the condition. I’m thinking of buying a new family van soon, and since I don’t want to deal with unnecessary costs for exterior repairs, I want to make sure our driveway is properly patched up before then. I’ll be sure to take note of this while I look for an asphalt paving company to contact soon for my driveway sealing.

Eve Mitchell
Eve Mitchell

March 24, 2022

I had no idea that a sealant can protect against moisture damage in concrete. I have been hoping to get a new concrete patio installed in my backyard because my current one is just pavers. I’ll definitely want to get it sealed after it’s installed as well.

Mats Wolff
Mats Wolff

February 04, 2022

Its great when you said that sealcoating is a cost-effective way of repairing or surfacing the existing pavement. My uncle owns a construction company and wants to hire a commercial paving company to pave some new roads. Thanks for the information on sealcoating and I will surely send your blog to my uncle!

Henry Killingsworth
Henry Killingsworth

January 05, 2022

It really stood out to me when you pointed out that you can extend the life of a driveway by having it sealcoated. Would it be a good idea to have the sealcoat reapplied every couple of years? This seems like a great way to keep your driveway in good condition for a long time.

Greta James
Greta James

November 04, 2021

I appreciate that you mentioned that seal coating is a cost-effective way of repairing or resurfacing pavement. I have an asphalt driveway at home that I would like to keep for a few more years. I think that it would be a good idea to contact a professional who can help me get some seal coating for my driveway.

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