Seal Coating Your Driveway for Dummies

One reason to seal coat the driveway yourself would be to save on the cost of labor. This would end up saving you anywhere from $300 – $1000. A team of professional seal coaters usually consists of three people that make money based on the quantity of driveways they complete in one day. Therefore, if three guys can rush through a residential seal coating job and still have time to complete three other driveways that day, it goes to show that seal coating isn’t really that hard. Make sure you have a week without rain and the temperature is warm but not hot.


The first day is mainly prep work. Remove all weeds that are growing out of the cracks of the driveway. You can use your hands, but make sure that you remove the roots or as much of the weed as possible. Sometimes it is necessary to use a sharp, pointy object like a screwdriver or industrial strength weed killer. Next, remove all the dust on the driveway with a push broom and / or leaf blower. Make sure all the dust is off of the driveway, for the dust and tiny pebbles are what cause imperfections during the seal coating process. Purchase some crack filler from the local hardware store unless you don’t have any cracks whatsoever. The “cold” types are easiest, for they do not require heat to be malleable. Some come in a jug with any easy pour spout. Others come in tiny plastic buckets. When filling in the cracks make sure you don’t overfill the cracks, as this will cause smearing and an obvious overfilled texture after seal coating. After all the cracks and holes are filled, use masking tape to cover the trim (the sides of the house, railroad ties, sidewalks, etc.).


Use a broom or leaf blower again if necessary. Purchase the seal coat from the hardware store, they usually indicate on the bucket how many square feet it covers. Go for the high quality types that advertise less or no stirring, high “grade”, and longest life. Plan for it to cover a little less than what is listed, for you will be using a brush / squeegee, which is less efficient than spray application. Even the seal coat buckets that claim that they require no stirring require some amount of stirring. One trick to speed up the stirring process would be to leave all of the buckets upside down, the night before you start to seal coat. The best way to seal coat would be starting from the garage working your way down to the street, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. Pour a thick line of sealer across the width of the driveway, about two feet away from the ends of the driveway. Work on the trim first, the masking tape should make it easy to get close to the edge without having to actually touch it with the brush.

After you complete the trim along the edge of the garage, use the brush / squeegee to spread the rest of what you poured. If your driveway is very porous, it may seem hard to spread, and if your driveway is slick, the seal coat will seem to spread too easily. Try to aim for one thick coat, or apply one thin coat on the first day, and another thin coat on the second day. If you cannot tell how thick or thin it is being spread, try to view the driveway from different angles, you may be able to see the bare spots and the amount of coverage. When you get to the bottom of the driveway, the brush may seem to be heavy or dried up. One way to combat this is to pour gasoline on the brush and to scrape it with a garden spade. If the seal coat seems to dry too quickly as you are applying it, this may mean that it is too hot outside, and the seal coat is drying very quickly. One trick to combat this “sticky” situation is to lightly mist the driveway with a garden hose. The moisture actually makes the seal coat more of a liquid than a dry and pasty mess. Leave the empty buckets at the end of the driveway or put caution tape across to prevent people from walking on it.

Let the driveway cure for at least 24 hours before walking on it. Remove the masking tape and check to see if some areas require another coat. The best procedure is to wait a whole week before you drive a car on it. Sometimes, if you do not wait long enough for it to cure, the driveway will be more susceptible to power steering marks, which are tire tread marks that occur from rotating the tires on the driveway.

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