Some homeowners decide to seal driveway asphalt or concrete themselves. But this work is a big investment; the cost for sealing a driveway ranges from $200 to $400 per 1,000 square feet. So you want to make sure it's done right to prevent further damage to your concrete or asphalt.
If you decide to hire a contractor to seal your driveway, be sure to ask the following questions to find the best contractor for the job:
• What kind of sealing chemicals do you use? Different chemicals have different properties and effects. Water-based sealants are safe but generally wear off faster. Acrylic, urethane and others increase the risk of fire because they contain flammable ingredients. The shiniest water-resistant sealcoatings may make the pavement dangerously slippery, especially if you live in an area where rain, ice and snow are common.
• Do you thin out the sealant? Some driveway contractors thin out their sealer to save money, but the result is less than desirable. Make sure they apply the sealer according to the manufacturer's instructions.
• How do you spread the sealer? The hands-on brush approach is the one you're looking for because it ensures even distribution. Alternatives can cause sealing puddles, which results in a driveway overly protected in some places and not at all in others.
• Will you repair existing cracks before applying sealer? It's important to fix cracks in your driveway before sealing it, but be sure to get a cost estimate for that concrete or asphalt repair in addition to the driveway sealing job. If the cracks are minor, fix them yourself by clearing them of debris and broken edges and then filling them with a substance such as textured caulk, concrete sealer or pourable grout.
• When can you start the sealcoat job? Temperature is key when sealing driveways. Usually, anything over 65 degrees Fahrenheit is good. Check out what Angie's List founder Angie Hicks has to say about ideal driveway sealing temperatures before clearing your calendar.
Have you sealed your concrete or asphalt driveway? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on Oct. 19, 2012.