One of the most significant sources of damage to asphalt pavement is water infiltration. Newly installed asphalt should be allowed to cure for about nine months to a year before the initial sealing; premature sealing prevents asphalt from achieving its optimal hardness.
Asphalt pavement should be sealed during warm weather when no rain is expected for at least 36 hours. The surface must be cleaned beforehand to facilitate adhesion of the sealant to the surface. Minor cracks and gaps between the pavement and curb should be filled. Heat-applied sealers are best for cracks. Similar in consistency to plumber's putty, they are inserted into cracks and then heated to melting with a heat gun or propane torch. Larger holes can be excavated and filled with fresh asphalt or asphalt patch.
Most do-it-yourself sealcoat can be purchased commercially in pails of up to 5 gallons. A new type of asphalt sealant, sometimes called airport or racetrack sealant, is much more durable and longer-lasting; some of this sealant has up to a 10-year warranty. Asphalt sealing performed with good-quality sealant should be repeated only every three years or so. The liquid is poured onto the surface in small quantities of 1 or 2 gallons at a time and spread with a long-handled squeegee. When the entire area is covered, it should dry overnight before vehicle traffic is permitted.
About the Author: Bill Casey, the lead operator at Casey Paving, LLC, has over 35 years of experience paving driveways, parking lots, and roadways. Based in Reno, Nevada, Casey Paving also operates in Idaho.