Dear Angie: When is the best time of the year to seal a driveway? How can you be sure the paving contractor is using quality material? — Susan B., Fairland, Indiana
Dear Susan: Spring through the fall is an ideal time to seal your driveway. It’s important the driveway sealing temperature is warm enough for the sealant to bond with your driveway.
Whether you have a concrete driveway or asphalt driveway, you’ll want to preserve its value with regular maintenance.
The best way to protect your asphalt driveway is to seal it every two to five years, depending on its condition. That can help prevent staining, enhance its appearance and extend its lifespan.
There are different types of sealers, such as an asphalt-based sealer, but many professionals consider a coal tar sealer the industry standard. Before you have the driveway sealed, have any cracks repaired or holes patched for a smooth surface.
If you have a concrete driveway, you can help protect it by having it sealed after installation. If you're sealing concrete, use a penetrating sealer, which helps prevent oil, gasoline and rock salt from penetrating and damaging the concrete. An annual resealing can help restore concrete drives with oil stains or salt damage.
Homeowners often try to seal a drive themselves, but it’s really better left to an experienced professional concrete or asphalt contractor. A mistake could be messy and costly to repair.
The best way to ensure your contractor is using quality materials is to hire a highly rated contractor with a good reputation and history. Talk to neighbors who have had their driveways resealed and check Angie’s List for reviews. Look for a company that’s been in business for a while.
Ask for photos and references of the contractor's previous work. Make sure you get the job details in a written estimate. Ask the contractor for proof of insurance before allowing any work to start. Never pay cash up front; pay by check or credit card, and only pay in full after the work has been completed.
And if you're having work done on your driveway, don’t forget one important tip: get your cars out of the garage first!
Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org tweet to #AskAngie. Follow Angie at @Angie_Hicks.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Aug. 2, 2011.