Giving your asphalt driveway a coating every three years will not only make it last longer, but will also make it look better. A seal coat can help protect your asphalt driveway against the sun, moisture, rain, oil, gasoline, and other materials that can potentially harm and shorten the life-span of your asphalt driveway.
DIY (do-it-yourself) products and materials that you can buy in the supermarkets and handyman stores to fill cracks and seal asphalt driveways are often not as good as the ones used by professional contractors. But, there are products that you can use to achieve the same results as when professional contractors do it. You just have to know which materials to use. Doing so will help you save up to 65% of professional fees.
The options that you can choose from when you visit your local store may be limited. You just have to make the best out of the products that you can buy. When you are out shopping for the best asphalt sealer for you and your asphalt, here are the things that you should consider:
Should You Buy Coal Tar or Asphalt Based Sealers?
Asphalt sealers that you can find in retail stores are often water-based emulsions which can contain water, latex, polymer, clay fillers, additives, asphalt, or coal tar. Asphalt-based sealers are quite popular because it is friendly to the environment. Significant changes and improvement have been made to asphalt-based sealers to make it more durable, more resistant to gas, oil, and ultraviolet rays. But, coal tar is still the best choice when it comes to sealing asphalt driveways. Coal tar sealers are more resistant to oil, gasoline, moisture, and UV rays. The use of coal tar has proven to improve the longevity of asphalt driveways. The only drawback of using this kind of sealer is that it emits high levels of VOC (volatile organic compounds) which can make the air smell foul and is potentially harmful to the environment.
Judging the quality of coal tar and asphalt-based sealers according to their formulation would be difficult as this information is proprietary. You will not be able to get this information on the label. Thus, making it difficult to determine which one is better in terms of formulation. However, the rule-of-the-thumb says that products that are better in quality come with a long warranty. The longer the warranty a sealer comes with, the better. This way, you and your investment are protected. When buying a sealer, make sure that you check the warranty before paying for it. This will easily be seen on the label.
Coverage And Cost
Asphalt based sealers are a little bit expensive because it emits lesser VOC levels and the process and technology added to improve its performance. Thin coal tar that can cover about 400 square feet usually costs up to $8 per 5-gallon of sealer. Don’t expect this kind of sealer to last for more than one season. Plain sealers, which is a level higher than the previous sealer, costs up to $11. This type of sealers is unsanded which has a more solid texture. This can cover up to 350 square feet of asphalt. The same goes to sealers in the upper end. The heavy-duty sealers can cost up to $20 per 5-gallon of sealer. And depending on the condition of the asphalt driveway, it can cover up to 350 square feet of asphalt.
Buying a sealer really depends on your needs and how exposed your asphalt is to foot and vehicle traffic. For asphalt pavements that do not go through a lot of foot traffic, a low-end sealer can be used. For places that go through a lot of foot and vehicle traffic, it is recommended to use heavy-duty sealers.