How To DIY Asphalt Driveway Sealing

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Every year without fail, someone rings our doorbell wanting to seal our asphalt driveway, but I’m the DIY guy around here, so if I can do it the right way, I won’t pay anyone to do it.

DIY Asphalt Driveway Sealing
How To DIY Asphalt Driveway Sealing

Update The Look Of Your Property With Asphalt Sealer

When it comes to home renovations and maintenance, I’m picky.

I won’t do something to be cheap; I’ll do it because I know I can do it or call in the professionals.

There’s nothing worse than paying to get a job done twice.

Re-sealing your asphalt driveway can extend the life of your drive by keeping out water in the winter that freezes during cold weather.

The freeze-thaw cycle can destroy mountains, so a tiny asphalt driveway is nothing to Mother Nature.

Winter Wear On A Driveway

I use a metal shovel during the winter months because it cleans the driveway of snow with a better result than a plastic shovel.

The problem is that the metal shovel takes a layer of sealer with it every time.

No, I don’t need to invest in a snowblower either, as our driveway does not warrant that expense as it’s not significant.

Even so, the snow blower never gets the snow off the surface, and my neighbour still uses a shovel after snow blows his drive.

When I moved to Canada, the spring or summer asphalt driveway sealing was all new to me.

Although disappointing in the UK, the weather is never anything like it is here in the winter or summer.

It took a while to convince me of the benefits of re-sealing the asphalt driveway, even if it takes a beating during the winter and looks a little worse for wear in the spring.

I held off from sealing the asphalt due to the results of other people’s driveways.

Plenty of driveways with roller lines were severely worn and faded.

I couldn’t see the point of sealing them if they looked worse than initially.

After a couple of seasons went past, I could see the reason we needed the sealer and why other people’s drives looked like a disaster zone.

Some of the neighbours didn’t re-seal the asphalt regularly; in fact, some neighbours haven’t re-sealed their driveway since we moved in five years ago.

Consider driveway re-sealing as part of the general upkeep and maintenance of the house.

We turned it into an annual half-day project and part of our projected expenses.

Pros And Cons Of Asphalt Re-sealing

The Ultimate Guide to Proper Asphalt Driveway Sealing

The asphalt sealer will protect your drive from the elements, especially during winter; it’s the quiet and destructive freeze-thaw cycle.

As soon as liquid water is absorbed into cracks in the asphalt, it is sure that when the temperature drops to below freezing, the water will expand as it turns into ice.

It’s the expansion and contraction that opens up small cracks into large cracks and large cracks into holes in the driveway.

The sealer is designed to fill these minor cracks as they generate over time.

The filler will be required for larger cracks and must be applied according to the directions before re-sealing commences.

Holes should be repaired by digging out the loose asphalt, vacuuming the smaller loose debris, and then filling it with hole repair, essentially asphalt in a bucket.

You’ll need compact this mixture into the hole to prevent any settling after it cures.

Let the hole repair cure; this takes roughly 6 weeks for some products to cure.

Another reason to re-seal your drive is that it looks clean and brand new every spring/summer and keeps the house’s general appearance up.

The only drawback I can see so far is that it is money out of your budget every year or two, and it can be a little hard work if you do it yourself.

Price Difference: DIY Asphalt Sealing vs. Hiring Someone

Armor coat asphalt driveway sealer 2

If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can do it yourself and have various choices in most hardware or home renovation stores.

It can be pretty cheap depending on your product, like this year’s product used on my driveway.

This year I purchased two large buckets of Canadian Tire’s asphalt driveway sealer in a matte finish called Armor Coat.

I bought the Armor Coat Driveway sealing product while it was on sale for $14.99 each, along with a roller and a bottle of asphalt cleaner.

Upon reading the instructions and mixing up the product as requested, I found it was separated in the top two or three inches and went on like water for the first roll or two.

Fortunately, the product improved, but I had to continue stirring and mixing it occasionally so it wouldn’t separate.

The result was good, and it cured within the three hours that it said and has cured to a flawless finish.

I must keep the vehicles off the driveway for the next 24 hours.

In the past, I used the Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield Sealer, which has a 5-year warranty but does not cover using metal shovels.

That particular asphalt sealing product mixed a lot easier and was much more pleasant to use on the driveway, but it probably gave the same result in the looks department.

The difference between the two products from Canadian tire is the price.

This year’s product was $19.99 compared to $39.99 (regular price) for the brand name asphalt sealer.

Don’t forget the price of a roller or brush, depending on which application method you choose, and a bottle of asphalt cleaner.

Importance Of Using Asphalt Cleaner

My asphalt cleaner, “Airport grade,” cost me $9.99, of which I used approximately half a bottle to clean the oil spots off the driveway.

I don’t know about the airport grade claim, but it did the trick.

The asphalt cleaner is essential, especially after seeing what happens when you have a large oil patch on your drive and just re-seal straight over it without cleaning it first.

One of our neighbours tried with the most hideous results.

After about a week, the entire asphalt sealer over top of the oil patch had peeled off, and then the rest of the driveway started to peel off too.

They did fix the issue the following year but had lived all year with the eyesore, as did the neighbours.

Costs Using A Driveway Sealing Vendor

If you’re not interested in re-sealing, some late spring and summer vendors will re-seal your asphalt driveway for approximately $120.

Some of these services tend to spray asphalt sealant straight over the weeds at the ends of the driveway.

However, I remove the weeds before the sealer application to keep it neat.

Don’t expect frills from cart vendors; they spray and roll on.

cleaning asphalt sealant leak on driveway
Cleaning asphalt sealant leak on the driveway

DIY Asphalt Sealing Equipment and Costs

For our driveway, I bought two buckets of asphalt sealer because of the square footage of the drive, a roller (just the fluffy refill portion), and a bottle of cleaner for $49.67.

Of course, if you don’t already have a roller head and pole, you’ll need to invest in them too.

They are readily available at any hardware store or big box store such as Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Rona, Home Hardware, etc.

Use a roller head and pole specifically for driveway sealing because it tends to speckle everything with black hard asphalt sealer that’s tough to get off.

I use old cardboard boxes to avoid going over the lines where the driveway meets the garage.

Unfold them to sit in the gap between the drive and the garage, protecting the concrete from getting black sealer.

Keep a paper towel, a scrub brush, and a bucket of water in case of any spills.

There’s nothing worse than seeing a driveway freshly sealed with sealant splashes everywhere.

It does defeat some of the aesthetic purposes of the job.

pouring asphalt sealer armor coat on driveway
The Ultimate Guide: DIY Asphalt Sealing Your Driveway

Asphalt Sealing Process – How To Asphalt Seal Your Driveway

How to seal an asphalt driveway, or at least this is how I did, and it looks fantastic.

Always read the product label for instructions, but for me, it’s a 6 step process.

  • Brush the driveway from top to bottom to remove loose debris, mud, leaves, etc.
  • Wet the driveway with a garden hose or power washer.
  • Spray on the asphalt cleaner for general cleaning, in which I brush the cleaner into the driveway.
  • To remove oil stains from driveway spots, clean trouble areas where oil spots are, usually under the engine compartment of the vehicles.
  • Depending on the product, either rinse and then apply the product while damp or wait for the surface to dry and then apply.
  • Protect by cordoning off the area with tape or anything else you can use.

Research DIY Driveway Sealing Before Your Begin

Take your time and prepare your asphalt sealing process so the project runs smoothly.

If you accidentally hit the concrete of your garage floor or elsewhere, use a little cleaner and some water to dilute the sealer before it cures and scrub with your brush.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I like the result to be flawless. It’s an easy project for an afternoon during the weekend, but remember to check the weather.

I had to abandon the asphalt sealing once this week due to impending rain that never appeared, which was frustrating.

Lastly, with caution tape or string and paper, alert people that your driveway is wet so they don’t pull their vehicle in or walk all over it.

You can only imagine the potential disaster that will cause.

I just put my vehicle in front of the driveway with string and a caution note.

If you want to save some cash, completing your asphalt sealing is not that difficult if you research and plan.

If you are not confident in your driveway asphalt sealing ability or don’t have time, pay someone else to do the job.

Discussion: Have you completed the asphalt sealing process on your driveway? How much did it cost you, and what products do you prefer the best?

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  1. Can I use my pail of sealed ashphalt still iif was left out during winter? Was never opened but left out? Watery on top when opened

  2. Chip sealing by a professional also adds traction and prevents standing water, and can extend the life of the asphalt by several years. Great info, thanks for sharing!

  3. A tip for getting the sealer on sale. If you are planning on resealing your driveway, go on the Canadian Tire website and sign up for a sales alert. They will send you an email when it goes on sale.

  4. A typical Englishman eh – just like me! Never pay for something you can do yourself 😉 OK the time saved by paying someone else I’d just waste anyway. I sealed my drive once before with acrylic sealer – easy and a good job. However the drive was never properly laid initially and there are many nearby trees. 3 years ago the street was being repaved and the contractors ripped out and and replaced my drive for a great price! I intended to seal my drive this summer but having injured my back couldn’t do it. Now (Oct/Nov) I think it is too late for this year using Armor Coat asphalt emulsion which I previously purchased. Some long cracks had developed (tree roots?) which I filled and compacted with pot hole filler – and even better I’ve also used some of the asphalt I saved from the old driveway and melted it into place with a blow torch – terrific job! Appearance doesn’t bother me, it’s sealing against water and consequent frost damage that I want. If I get 2-3 years out of this sealer I’ll be satisfied.
    Thanks Mr CBB – a nice blog – I’ll check out more!

    1. Thanks mate. I didn’t seal this year as I’ve been too busy and last year I gave it a quick couple of coats and sealed up some cracks. I’ll likely tackle it again next year. Thanks for stopping by… I hope you stick around and chat. Mr.CBB

  5. I use the Rustoleum Epoxyshield from Canadian Tire (on sale of course) and it takes about 8 buckets every couple of years.. It’s a fortified urethane liquid which is good to walk on after about 10!mins drive on in 4 hours. It would be nice to spray on to get a more even coating but probably would need a few more buckets. I plow the driveway with a metal snow plow and it does get scraped off in a few spots but all in all it lasts good on the parking surface but wears out a little faster on the driving portion.

  6. We have never done this to our driveway but the mess factor is something to think about here. We do need a new driveway here, especially at the end. We use a shovel and a scoop for the winter work on the driveway. If the driveway was in better shape I would think about it. The main part isn’t too bad except for the edges where hubby put in concrete edging and there is a thin line of dirt between the asphalt and the edgings. The worst part is the end but the town might be re-doing our road in the next year or two so that is a factor to think about. If the town is ripping up the road and curbs we might be able to get the end done by them as they pave the road, especially if they rip up part of it with the job. We can hope….There has been talk about re-doing our road since we moved here, 22 years ago but what we have had so far is that nasty tar and gravel…..

      1. Define long…. We can fit 3-4 vehicles in the driveway depending on the size of them. It looks plenty long if you are at the top with a snow shovel in hand after a storm!!!!

  7. I was thinking of getting the resealing done to our complex’s pavement.
    Then I read an article of all the toxic stuff you end up tracking into your home.
    Added to that the cost of having to recoat every two years, quashed that idea.
    We will most likely repave in a few years if needed.

    1. Thanks it looks brand new again and since I just finished the landscaping it completes it nicely. I’ve already had neighbours ask me if I would come and seal their drive lol.

  8. Great idea! You can really save quite a bit this way! I’m always on the lookout for ways to save money on things I don’t feel like putting a lot of money into. I’d rather spend it on my goals! Thanks so much for this great tutorial Mr. CBB!

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