Applying asphalt sealer is not only recommended, it is actually required for proper maintenance of asphalt driveways. Without sealing your driveway, the asphalt material will eventually become brittle and dry, which then allows cracks and holes to form. You may need to re-lay asphalt again, which is entirely avoidable if you apply a sealer within a year after the asphalt has been installed. But with this requirement also come questions from homeowners on application, usage and maintenance of sealers. It is essential for those who will apply sealers on their asphalt driveways to be knowledgeable about them, or else risk doing something wrong.
A common concern about blacktop sealer is its safety. Pets or children may step on a newly applied driveway that still has wet sealer on it. Is it safe? Will it cause health problems? In the case of sealers, they generally do not cause skin irritation, although it is advised that those with sensitive skin should avoid getting in contact with the material. If the sealer gets in contact with skin and is still wet, the body part should be rinsed with running water as soon as possible. A citrus cleaner that is water-based and made for skin-washing should be used to get rid of any excess dried sealer.
A blacktop sealer that has been dried for a few hours should be left to set in. At least twelve hours should have passed before you can check out if the sealer has totally dried. Use a gloved or towel-covered hand to examine the surface. If the glove or towel shows smudges of black, the sealer may still be wet; driving on it would still not be recommended. If the glove or towel does not return any black stain, press the surface to make sure that it is not only the surface that has dried. Blacktop sealer that has not completely dried will ruin your driveway’s finish and will cause staining into the floors of your garage or the street.
But before applying or re-using your driveway, one of the first issues in sealers that you must answer—if you are going to do it as a DIY project—is how much sealer you are going to buy. This would largely depend on your driveway’s condition and the type of sealer you intend to buy. Naturally, the larger the driveway is, the more sealant you may need. If you will be applying blacktop sealer after three years, then you may need to smooth out more holes and cracks, and will thus require more sealer product.
A wise thing to do would be to buy a bit more than you will need. Stopping in a middle of a sealing project because you ran out of sealant may adversely affect the outcome, as the conditions you started off with may be different from the conditions you will be faced with in applying a new round of sealant. Moreover, the new sealant may be of a different brand or batch from the original blacktop sealer you started off with.