Most homes have driveways that allow you to park your car near your residence, and these driveways are often made out of asphalt. Asphalt driveways last a long time, but they do not last forever. To help reduce the amount of pressure and stress that the asphalt is exposed to, you should invest in regular sealcoating. You should have your driveway sealed every one to ten years. If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures during the winter and summer months or if you start to notice asphalt damage, then you should contact a professional to seal your driveway every few years. Many people know not to walk or drive on a freshly sealed driveway, but there are other things that you should not do either, like the following:
1. Use Sprinklers Near Your Driveway
There are a variety of different asphalt sealers that may be placed on your driveway. The sealer may contain an emulsified mixture of latex, clay, water, coal tar, and polymers. The materials also may be made up of asphalt materials and coal tar, or they may be formed from acrylic substances. Emulsified mixtures and acrylic ones are water soluble, but asphalt materials are not. Regardless of the solubility, water can rinse away the sealer that is secured on your driveway. Water soluble sealers are quickly thinned out by the water, while the non-soluble materials are forced off the asphalt as water pools on the surface. Water also may create uneven surfaces or indentations across the sealing material.
This means that you should not utilize sprinklers or hoses near the edge of your driveway. Turn off automatic sprinklers before your sealing is scheduled or water your grass beforehand. Most types of grass do not need to be watered more than two or three times a week, so this should not be a problem even during the hottest days of the year.
2. Wait Less Than 48 Hours To Use The Driveway
Most sealcoating professionals will ask you to wait about 48 hours after the sealer is placed before you use your driveway. During this period of time, the undisturbed sealer will adhere to the asphalt driveway and create a solid and impenetrable barrier across the surface. The heat from the sun will help to force the water to evaporate from the sealer, or it will help to solidify the natural oil materials. As long as your driveway is exposed to somewhere between about 12 and 14 hours of sunlight throughout the 48 hour curing period, your driveway will be safe to use afterwards.
However, if areas of your driveway are exposed to only two or three hours of sunlight each day, then it may take a day or two longer for the sealer to harden. This is why it is important to examine the surface of your driveway before you start using it. Sealers will appear wet with a slight shimmer or dark appearance if they have not fully cured yet. Look for areas of the asphalt that appear like this. Also, feel along the driveway every several feet. If it feels cold, then it is not ready to be used.
3. Park Heavy Vehicles On The Driveway
When an asphalt driveway is initially installed, the contractor will inform you to keep heavy trucks, RVs, and other types of machinery off the driveway for several weeks to several months. This allows the oils and natural hydrocarbons within the asphalt to harden properly. Even after a few months, the oils will still need to harden. Many sealers contain the same types of tar or asphalt materials that the thick driveway contains. This means that sealers can retain ridges, indentations, and cracks much like the asphalt itself can. Fortunately, sealers are much thinner than the asphalt, and they do not need to cure for nearly as long as the driveway did. However, you should park heavy vehicles elsewhere for one or two weeks after the sealer is spread.
Sealing your driveway with a professional sealcoating is a good idea to keep your driveway in good shape. By avoiding these three things, you can ensure that the sealcoating does its job. Learn more about sealcoating by clicking here.