Many homeowners recognize the importance of sealcoating and filling cracks in their asphalt driveway, but fewer recognize why this is an important step. Fewer still can tell you why a quality job makes all the difference.
In truth, sealcoating is far more than a cosmetic touch.
“Sealcoating is a protective layer that prolongs the life of your driveway, protects the asphalt from oil leaks and UV rays from the sun, and fills in any blemishes and inconsistencies that are natural with asphalt,” says Michael “Mikey” Pett Jr., who oversees the sealcoating division of Pett Paving, his family’s business in Richmond.
Your driveway’s first sealcoat is probably the most important coat, adds Pett. This is the pavement’s first line of defense. It should be done about six to 12 months after the driveway is installed and must go through at least one winter. This is because asphalt takes time to cure.
Once the first layer of sealcoat is applied, plan to add a new coat every other year. Applied too frequently, sealcoat builds up, cracks and wears off, says Pett.
“We use only the highest-quality materials to ensure the customer gets the most out of their investment,” says Pett. “We know exactly what needs to be done, and we do not try to sell a customer something they don’t need. There are shady sealcoat contractors out there who will water down their material, won’t prep the job properly and won’t be around when you need help.”
Homeowners can extend the life of their driveway with a few simple measures. For starters, backfill dirt against the edge of the driveway to support the asphalt. Avoid heavy vehicles, bike kickstands, trailer hitches and other areas of concentrated weight, as those can damage a new driveway. In addition, keep the vehicle moving while turning your wheels – especially on hot days.
Plenty of homeowners choose to sealcoat by themselves. Others hire the itinerant companies that pass through the neighborhood. This is a case where you get what you pay for, says Pett.
Reputable companies use higher-quality materials, offer free estimates, and have the expertise to recognize what will keep the driveway in good shape for years to come, says Pett.
Pett Paving is located at 3790 E. Solon Road, in Richmond, (815) 675-0647.