Is it time to give you asphalt driveway a fresh sealcoating? Let’s consider what happens if this critical task is neglect. Actually, it might not be that bad. You might even go a year or two without any big problems, especially if your driveway was installed by a real professional. But eventually, not sealcoating your driveway is going to catch up with you. At the very least, it’s going to reduce the overall lifespan of your driveway, and make repairs necessary sooner rather than later.

Asphalt is a natural porous material – that’s what makes it so flexible and durable. Good asphalt has the right porousness, however. It’s possible to have a mixture that is far too porous, or not porous enough. Getting it right is all about finding a professional who knows how to get it right, every time! That said, asphalt’s porousness can also work against it. That’s because moisture from rainfall, snowmelt, driveway treatment chemicals such as de-icer, leaking oil from vehicles, and so many other things can gradually sleep into the pores of the asphalt.

Water in particular is problematic, because after it enters the porous asphalt, it freezes (contracts) and thaws (expands) within the molecular structure of the asphalt. When we see cracks and potholes in asphalt surfaces, we don’t often attribute the problem to something like this. Yet the freezing and thawing of water is actually a common cause of structural problems in asphalt.

That’s where asphalt sealcoating comes in. By forming a strong “seal” on the surface of the asphalt ­– something that stands the test of time, lasting for months or even years – we can prevent this harmful effect that begins with the entering of moisture and imperfections into the subsurface of the asphalt.

Seal coating comes in different varieties, and it’s good to know what type (or types) of sealcoating are offered by your asphalt or concrete specialist. There is tar-based sealcoating, which is very successful in protecting against moisture. There is asphalt sealer, which doesn’t work as well in harsh conditions, but can be a good value in some cases. There is oil or petroleum-based product that will also provide a good result. Depending on your budget and environmental conditions, it can make more sense to choose one of these options over the others.

If your driveway was skillfully installed, you might want to turn to the same contractor and ask about their sealcoating services and options. Either way, there are plenty of professionals out there who can sealcoat your driveway, but even with something seemingly minor as this, it’s important to know you’re dealing with a professional who’s going to use a quality sealcoating product, and apply it with professional tools and techniques. This is also a great time to address any structural weaknesses or repairs that might need to be considered.

Asphalt does very well on its own, and is a very low maintenance material – that’s why it’s such a great option for homeowners. But without sealcoating, the lifespan of the average asphalt driveway is considerably lower.