More than just an area for parking your car, your driveway is the first thing your guests see when they visit you. Driveways play a crucial role in defining your home's curb appeal. (Related: New Driveway Cost & Consumer Guide)
That said, how would you like to have a well-maintained driveway that never fails to impress? It is ideal to have your driveway often resealed to add a dash of "wow" factor and impress your visitors the moment they enter your home!
Asphalt driveways need resealing at least once every 5 to 10 years. It keeps the driveway in its prime condition. Doing so lessens the cracks and helps the driveway hold up better long term.
Driveway Sealing Average Costs
On average, asphalt driveway seal coating costs around $360 to $700. Expect a standard 20 x 20-foot flat driveway to pay around $500.
Exceptional cases which require more material and labor may have you paying up to $1,600.
Note that there are different types of sealants available with various viscosity. Most of these are sold and applied per sq/ft, making each driveway a unique project with varying total project costs.
Thicker liquids cover less square footage but offer a more generous layer than thinner substances.
Why Seal a Driveway?
It is essential to seal your asphalt driveway, given that it is often affected by harsh UV light, snow, and rain. As a result, it is softened by the heat and may even develop cracks due to the shifting soil.
Areas with freeze/thaw conditions are at an increased risk of having frost heaves and potholes in their driveways– especially when the water finds its way into a crack and expands in freezing temperature.
If you want to prevent these costly problems, opt to have your driveway sealed. Doing so fills all the cracks (both minor and major) and protects the driveway from being damaged by several external factors.
Not to mention, sealing extends the lifespan of your asphalt driveway and keeps it looking great.
Types of Sealants
The total driveway sealing costs depend on the type of sealant you'll use for the project. Selecting the best one will depend on your driveway's current condition. Generally, though, sealing a driveway costs cheaper (per square foot) than resurfacing.
Here are the different sealant types for your reference:
Coal Tar Sealer
Coal tar sealer costs $0.09 to $0.11 per square foot. It's considered the most common and cost-effective seal coat type for driveways. It is made of coal and holds up against foreign elements– including blocking UV light.
It's known to emit high VOC levels. Thus it is banned in some areas because of possible environmental issues.
Asphalt sealer costs around $0.16 to $0.21 per square foot. It's a liquid form of the same driveway material, minus the aggregate or sand. Because of this, it gives the driveway a uniform black coating.
This sealer type also protects the driveway from several moisture issues. However, it's known to fade in the sun, so it's unsuitable for application in sunny areas.
It also only fills shallow cracks. If you need to fill deep holes, you may better choose other types.
Oil-based sealers are tricky to apply, starting from $0.16 to $0.21 per square foot. That said, it's less widespread than the other types.
These sealers also do not last longer than asphalt. If you live in an area where coal tar is prohibited, you can use oil-based sealers to fill in the cracks.
Acrylic sealers are new types known for their longevity, much like coal tar, but without the high VOC levels.
It starts from $0.26 to $0.36 per square foot. While it is more difficult to spread and costs more than the other options, this sealer type can efficiently fill cracks and holes of moderate size.
Fill and Seal
If your driveway has seen better days, you may be able to save it using the fill and seal method. It uses a thicker sealant (with aggregate) to fill big cracks and holes effectively.
This costs around $0.36 to $0.51 per square foot.
If you're environmentally conscious, you can use eco-friendly asphalt sealants such as BioSealCoat. These green sealants are one of the most expensive options, starting from $0.26 to $0.39 per square foot.
The premium price tag allows you to leave a negligible impact on the environment, though. These sealers usually last for around five years.
Labor Costs to Sealcoat an Asphalt Driveway
Labor costs are crucial in determining the total project costs to seal a driveway. Since some driveways are in visibly poor shape, your contractor may need to fill any cracks and holes before the sealing process. Some driveways also require patching and edging.
If that's the case, expect the total costs to increase accordingly. Other factors will depend on the shape and slope of your driveway, its condition, and sealant type.
In some cases, you may also need to clean your driveway. Professional cleaning is available to save your time and effort, but it comes at a cost ($0.70 and $1.85 per sq/ft).
Should I Hire a Contractor to Seal my Driveway?
Sealing a driveway can be done by DIY homeowners, especially if there are proper tools and insight. Some homeowners who want to save on labor may opt to do the project independently.
However, expect some elbow grease and prepare the needed tools for driveway sealing. It includes:
If you don't have the luxury of time, hiring a professional to do the job for you is always a great idea. Make sure to ask multiple bids to determine the most suitable quote to fit your budget and needs.
Your contractor may need to clean the driveway, get rid of any debris, and adequately mask off the surrounding areas of the home to avoid getting splattered or stained.
Before sealing, you will also need to mix or prepare the seal coat liquid properly. Each brand has special instructions to prepare the coating– hence hiring a professional is a great idea.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often should I seal my driveway?
On average, you must seal your driveway every 5 to 10 years, and it may still depend on factors such as climate, sealer type, and how much sun it gets. Remember that low-cost sealants may need to be replaced every three years because they wear off quickly. Too much sealant may cause your driveway to peel over time, so it is essential not to seal too often.
How many years does an asphalt driveway last?
A well-maintained asphalt driveway lasts anywhere from 25 - 30 years, but it may last even longer in some moderate climates. In harsher climates, a not regularly sealed and maintained driveway may show signs of wear in less than ten years. Sealing your asphalt driveway is one way to help reach its entire lifespan. An asphalt driveway may last anywhere between 25 to 30 years if it is well-maintained, but it may last longer in moderate climates. It may wear down in less than ten years without regularly sealing and maintaining the driveway. If you want your asphalt driveway to reach its entire lifespan, filling it is one way to help you.
How can I prepare for the sealcoat process?
You do not have to clean or prepare your driveway for seal coating. Instead, clear any vehicles, dumpsters, equipment, and other things that may become an obstacle in the area. Some companies can offer power cleaning services, but it comes with an additional charge.
When's the best time in the year to seal a driveway?
It is best to seal your driveway between spring and fall because it must be warm for the sealant to dry and bond firmly with the driveway surface.
At the end of the day, every driveway defines a home's curb appeal. Sealing the driveway as often as necessary is an excellent way to maintain the value of your home.
Not to mention, this process also prolongs its average lifespan to your benefit.