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Sealing the driveway in the scorching heat
Nothing like a 90 degree day to pick to seal your driveway!! Actually, a very warm day is the very best day to do this.
Sealing a driveway is a job that almost any homeowner can do. You can save money, protect your driveway from winter damage, improve the appearance of your property, and have the satisfaction of doing the job yourself. The only special tool you need is an applicator squeegie, which you can purchase cheaply at a local home supply store. I purchased a brush/squeegie combo and just screwed it onto an old shovel handle I had in my shed. This is helpful if your driveway is pretty uneven, or if you have tight spaces to get into… the brush works better in these situations.
If the driveway has cracks, the cracks must be filled. To do this, a variety of commercial products are sold at home improvement centers. For cracks up to 1/2 inch, there are gallon squeeze bottles of elastomeric crack filler and cans of spreadable crack filler. For larger cracks, there is asphalt cold-patch, which is sold in bags and cans. My driveway was in good shape, so I skipped this step altogether.
I started by sweeping all the dirt and debris off the driveway, and then wet the asphalt down so that it was damp before starting. I read on the blacktop sealer that the temperature should be at least 75 degrees (and rising) when you start this job. So, a hot summer day, mid-morning, is probably the best time to get started.
If you’re looking for a blacktop sealer, I can personally recommend Black Jack Drive Seal 200. This will seal the driveway for 2 years, and it will also serve as a small crack-filler. Whatever sealer you choose, make sure that you read the instructions carefully. I tipped the buckets upside down for awhile before I started, and then mixed them very well with a long stick. My technique is to just dump a pile of the sealer on the driveway, start at the top corner, and work my way down, making sure not to leave any puddles or scuffs. Work slowly, and do a very light coat. It only has to be a covering, not very thick at all. If you need to, you can go over it a second time to even everything out (just like painting a wall). With the Black Jack Drive Seal 200, I’ve never had a problem.
Here are a few tips to make the job go smoothly:
- The instructions on the bucket will tell how many square feet it will cover. Divide the area of your driveway by the manufacturer’s coverage number to figure out how many buckets of sealer you need. Buy a couple more buckets, and return them if you don’t use them. It’s much better to have too many, than not enough.
- If your asphalt has never been sealed before, odds are it will take A LOT of sealant. Last year I sealed a new sidewalk, and it took about 9 5-gallon buckets. This sidewalk is about half the size of my current driveway, which has been previously sealed, and only took 2.5 buckets.
- Wear old clothes, especially shoes, as it is nearly impossible to keep sealer from splashing on you. My dad wears his socks, which I think is gross… but whatever floats your boat 🙂
- Rub petroleum jelly on exposed areas of skin before you start working. This will make it much easier to clean the sealer off your skin later. I read this online, never tried it. I just bought a packet of those latex disposable gloves for my hands and showered immediately after.
- Once you get to the bottom of your driveway, leave the empty buckets down at the bottom to block off entry to the driveway. You never know if you’ll have an unexpected guest, and driving on the sealer before it’s dry will ruin your morning’s work.
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Amy is the founder of Pretty Purple Door and has been a garden designer since 2014 and graphic designer since 2005. She helps home gardeners design their own beautiful landscapes that are colorful in all four seasons, show off your personality and suit your lifestyle. Amy's work has been featured in publications like The Spruce, Family Handyman, Buzzfeed, Country Living Magazine and more. Read full bio.