How to seal your driveway

Tips for a top-notch job and professional-looking results

By Ryan Shervill


Photo by Roger Yip

1 comment

You see them at all of the home-improvement centres: stacks of 20-l pails of driveway sealant with pictures of beautiful homes with jet-black driveways gracing the labels, along with equally clever displays of rollers, squeegees and all the rest of the driveway-sealing paraphernalia. The question is: can you really seal your own driveway and get results that not only look professional but last as well? Sure you can!

Getting a top-notch sealing job on your driveway isn’t difficult, and the results are really dependent on only two things: quality materials and proper preparation.

There are all kinds of formulas available, including coal tar, water-based and acrylic sealants. Although these apply and dry differently, the prep work is pretty much the same.
















The driveway leading to my shop (above) was in desperate need of a makeover. But before I pulled out the sealer, the first and most important step was to make sure the driveway was clean. Sand, spills, small gravel and dirt can ruin a perfect sealing job, so take extra care here.

On a dry day, blow away debris with a leaf blower. Take extra time to clear out any cracks. I completed a dry cleaning of the entire driveway, then I did it again to be sure. If you don’t have access to a blower, a broom and a lot of elbow grease will get the job done as well.

Next, the driveway gets a bath. Take the time to scrub any oil stains with a stiff brush and a degreaser (such as TSP) mixed with water. Then give the surface a rinse. If you have access to a pressure washer, it will make the initial cleaning go a lot faster. If not, a regular hose with a jet nozzle will suffice. The key here is to blast any stubborn deposits out of the nooks and crannies in the surface of the driveway. Clean from the top of the drive to the bottom, once again ensuring you get any cracks thoroughly cleaned out.

Again, once you’ve completed the entire area, do it again. This time, however, rinse the driveway down with just a hose. In the case of sand and mud, water volume cleans better than water pressure as it carries the debris away. Soak the area down completely, then allow it to dry. Any remaining dirt that was missed will be obvious once the asphalt dries, but it will be sitting on top of the pavement and will easily blow away with another quick pass of the leaf blower.

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Dec. 20, 2011

3:40 am

Old and beat-up asphalt or blacktop driveways sometimes require resurfacing by a professional, but many times such driveways can be restored to like-new condition by some relatively inexpensive maintenance steps. The first step is inspecting and cleaning to give the driveway a thorough examination to determine what repair materials are necessary and give the surface and base a preparatory cleaning.

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