How To Tell If Your Asphalt Driveway Needs Sealcoating

As a homeowner, you're probably concerned about keeping your home and property in good repair, so you protect your investment. One thing you may wonder about is how to protect and maintain your asphalt driveway. An important part of asphalt maintenance is keeping the driveway covered in a sealcoat. Here's how to tell if your driveway needs a sealcoat applied.

The Driveway Has Never Been Sealcoated

If the asphalt driveway has never had a sealcoat since you've owned the home, you may want to have one applied before any damage other than fading appears. You don't want to apply sealcoating too often or too infrequently. A sealcoat is usually needed every few years, but the frequency depends on how much traffic is on the driveway and whether the driveway is in full sun or shade.

The Surface Looks Faded

An asphalt driveway is made of gravel aggregate held together with bitumen. Bitumen is black, which is why new driveways have a rich, dark color. As the bitumen breaks down due to sun exposure and wear, the color of your driveway gets lighter. A faded driveway is a sign that the bitumen is worn away and that it's time to have a sealcoat applied before the asphalt suffers from water damage. A sealcoat restores the black color of your driveway, and it also keeps rain from seeping through to the aggregate and causing cracks and potholes to develop.

Tiny Cracks Are Forming

You should repair tiny cracks before they have a chance to grow larger. The cracks are a sign that the asphalt is overdue for a sealcoat. Sealcoating doesn't repair cracks; the cracks have to be filled in before the sealcoat is applied. Once the sealcoat is in place, it protects your driveway from rain and sun to prevent further cracking. However, large potholes and areas where the driveway is crumbling are a different matter. These areas require other forms of asphalt repair, so consider small cracks a sign that your driveway needs attention before the damage gets worse.

Loose Bits Of Aggregate Are On The Surface

Once the bitumen binder wears away, bits of aggregate may work loose and come to the surface of your driveway. If you wonder why you're always seeing tiny bits of gravel or sand-like material on your driveway, it could be from deterioration of the asphalt. A sealcoat restores the binder so that the deterioration is halted. However, a sealcoat eventually wears off, and when it does, the deterioration can resume. That's why you want to apply a sealcoat regularly. By keeping your driveway coated, you can usually prevent problems with cracking, fading, and loss of binder.

To learn more, contact a company that offers sealcoating services.