You've probably made quite an investment in your asphalt driveway and want to get as many years out of it as you can. By putting a small time investment into your driveway you'll be able to extend the life of it while adding to the curb appeal of your home. Before the freezing temperatures take over your driveway, here's what you need to do.
Do an inspection
Do a visual inspection of your driveway very carefully and look for any potholes, cracks or oil stains. Grease and oil stains can be removed by scrubbing them with a firm brush and soap and water or with a degreaser. Cracks need to be filled using a liquid filler that you can purchase at a local home renovation store. Make sure that all of the cracks are addressed, even the tiny ones to avoid having them spread. Potholes can be filled with an asphalt that's ready to use right from the bag. Instructions for its use will appear on the packaging and it will only take you a few minutes to completely fill in the hole. Before you can apply a sealer to your driveway, however, this asphalt will need to dry for a minimum of 24 hours.
Apply the sealer
Prep the area by sweeping the entire driveway with a push broom then get out your pressure washer to get rid of all of the loose debris. If you don't have a pressure washer you can use your hose. The idea is to get all of the dirt and sand off of the driveway before sealing it. There are also specific asphalt cleaners available on the market if your driveway is extremely dirty and the hosing doesn't handle the problem completely.
When it's time to seal it look for the asphalt-emulsion type instead of the tar-emulsion kind of sealer. Although you'll have to pay more, it's worth the extra price. This type of sealer will provide the resistance you need against water, oil and grease to help protect your driveway during the winter months.
Most sealers are applied using a specialized tool that you can also pick up at your home improvement store with a brush on one side and a squeegee on the other. You need to make sure that you read through the instructions on the sealant package and follow the recommendations exactly. Each type of sealant offers its own set of instructions.
You'll need to have a place to park your car for approximately 2 days during this sealing process. Once you've applied the first coat you'll have to wait some time before applying the second and then won't be able to access your driveway for another 24 hours. Once everything is completed, however, your driveway will look like new and you'll be sure that the cold bite of winter won't be affecting your driveway this year.