A common problem with Australian driveways is that people choose asphalt because it is cheaper, but do not know how to properly maintain it afterwards. Meaning that in the long run asphalt can cost far more than the original quote predicted. However if you spend a little time learning how to properly maintain your driveways then you can avoid all the added costs from unnecessary damage.
How soon is too soon?
So naturally once you have had your asphalt driveways installed, you will be wondering when you can finalize the whole thing by coating it in sealant. One day, maybe two, you are probably thinking. Well it may surprise you to know that it can actually take your driveways eight months to properly dry, to the point of being able to have sealant on them.
If you put the sealant on the asphalt too soon, then it will never properly harden. This means that every time you use your driveways you could potentially be causing it damage. Asphalt can have a tendency to go soft in heat anyway, so putting sealant on too soon will really seal its fate.
How do you know your asphalt is ready?
Obviously saying you need to wait around eight months is only helpful to a degree, so you need to know what to look out for, the tell-tale signs that your asphalt driveways are ready to be sealed. So what are the tell-tale signs? Well to start off you need to know that asphalt is petroleum based and because of this, it has a lot of elasticity to it. However over time it loses moisture and becomes brittle, turning a light grey colour. This is when you need to add the sealant, when the asphalt is turning from a deep black to a light grey.
Can you do it yourself?
There is a selection of different sealants you can use on your asphalt driveways, which are all do it yourself. They range in price but start from around $199, which is cheaper than having someone come do it for you. If you want to save even more money, you could buy the sealant in bulk; most distributors offer a bulk buy discount. Your asphalt will need resealing every four to five years after it is initially done, so planning in advance could save you some cash.
A moment of warning
If you are considering sealing your own asphalt then you need to pay careful attention to the sealants instructions. There are some sealants out there that are completely safe to use, however there are some others that are not. A lot of the sealants can actually be corrosive and you need to keep them away from your skin and clothing. They can also have toxic fumes that you want to prevent from inhaling if you can.
It may also be very tempting to add a thick layer of sealant to your asphalt however this isn’t recommended. You actually want to apply two thin layers, the second one after the first one dries. This will ensure that you have the best coverage possible for your asphalt driveways.