Sealing a driveway is a job that almost any homeowner can do. You can save money, protect your driveway from winter damage, improve the appearance of your property, and have the satisfaction of doing the job yourself. The only special tool you need is an applicator brush, which you can purchase cheaply at a local home supply store, and optionally a special gripper for removing the lids from the 5-gallon buckets of sealer. The keys to a professional looking job are planning, preparation, and application.
First inspect your driveway. If the grey resin driveways has cracks, the cracks must be filled. If the driveway has weeds growing out of cracks or encroaching on the edges, the weeds must be killed. Finally, use a tape measure and calculate the area of your driveway, so you will know how much sealer to buy. Plan to wait about two weeks after filling cracks and applying weed killer before applying sealer. This will allow time for the weeds to die and the crack filler to cure completely,
Weed killers such as Monsanto Roundup, are one of the most effective methods of removing weeds. Apply weed killer at least two weeks before sealing the driveway, to be sure that weeds are totally dead and dried up, so they will be easy to remove from the driveway prior to sealing.
For crack filling, a variety of commercial products are sold at home improvement centers. For cracks up to 1/2 inch, there are gallon squeeze bottles of elastomeric crack filler and cans of spreadable crack filler. For larger cracks, there is asphalt cold-patch, which is sold in bags and cans.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using crack fillers. Deep narrow cracks should be filled up to within 1/2 inch with sand, moistened, and filled the rest of the way with elastomeric crack filler. Larger cracks should be cleaned out and filled with cold-patch compound. For cracks up to 4 inches wide, you can tamp down the cold-patch compound with a 4×4 piece of lumber. For larger cracks, it is best to rent or buy a commercial tamper.
Once the weeds are completely dead and the crack filler is cured, it is almost time to apply the sealer, but first you must degrease the driveway. Use a pressure washer with a solution of cleaner/degreaser, or apply a degreaser manually and scrub it with a stiff bristled push broom. Then hose down the driveway.
Now it is time to apply the driveway sealer. Apply sealer only when the weather is clear and dry, and no rain is expected for 48 hours.
Plan your work so that the hose is always between the sealed part of your driveway and the hose bib – this way you will not drag the hose through wet sealer. Mist each section of the driveway, just before applying the sealer, but leave no standing water. Pour a bead of sealer laterally across your driveway and alternate between the squeegee and bristle sides of the applicator to spread and apply the sealer. Apply pressure with the bristle side of the applicator to rub the sealer into the driveway, and use the squeegee to pull the sealer forward
After you have covered about 5 feet of driveway, reach the squeegee about 5 feet back and pull it to smooth the entire section in one uniform stroke. Do this across the entire driveway and then move on to the next section. Continue to apply beads of sealer as needed.
If you must stop working prior to completion, “feather” the sealer by pulling it all the way onto the dry unsealed part of the driveway, to make a smooth transition. Also, if you must stop work for even a short period of time, clean off your applicator with the hose.
When you are finished sealing, block the end of the driveway with the empty sealer buckets, and stay off of it for 48 hours, while it cures. In humid weather, the sealer may take longer to cure.
Here are some tips to make the job go smoothly.
1. Turn the buckets of sealer upside down the night before you use it. This will make it easer to stir the sealer.
2. Purchase a plastic tool for removing the lid from the sealer. This is much less dangerous and frustrating than trying to remove the lid with a big screwdriver.
3. If the weather is too hot and dry, the sealer may need to be thinned to spread properly. After pouring a gallon of sealer in the center of your driveway, spray a little bit of water on the sealer, and use the bristled side of the brush to mix in the water, then spread and apply the sealer as previously described.
4. The manufacturer’s instructions on the side of the sealer bucket tell how many square feet it will cover. Divide the area of your driveway by the manufacturer’s coverage number to figure out how many buckets of sealer you need. Buy a couple more buckets, and return them if you don’t use them.
5. Wear old clothes, especially shoes, as it is nearly impossible to keep sealer from splashing on you.