How to Seal a Driveway

By Amanda Lutz Updated June 11, 2024

Most driveways or blacktops are made of asphalt and concrete, leaving them vulnerable to cracks, stains, chemical damage, and wear over the years. High-quality sealing materials can fill cracks and create a durable top layer that resists moisture, chemicals, and even impact damage. They can also add a glossy tint of color and transform your driveway’s look.

Read our guide below to learn about sealing your driveway, such as coating application tips and do-it-yourself (DIY) maintenance techniques.

Benefits of Sealing a Driveway

Driveway sealant, or sealcoating, binds tightly to a concrete driveway’s surface level. Sealant offers the following benefits: 

Choosing the Right Driveway Sealing Materials

Selecting the right material for your DIY sealing job, and the right volume of sealant, are critical parts of the project. You’ll also need brushes and squeegees to apply the sealant, concrete filler for preparing the surface, and a power washer or pressure washer to clean your driveway’s surface.

Types of Driveway Sealants

The two most important considerations when choosing your sealant are what your driveway is made of and which protective features are most important to you. 

These are the most popular driveway sealant types: 

Calculating How Much Sealant You Need

To determine how much sealant you need for your project, calculate the total square footage of your driveway. You can also measure your garage floor, if you plan to seal that, too. 

Decide if you want one or two coats. A second coat will require double the amount of sealant, but we recommend it for driveways that are very porous.

Preparing the Driveway for Sealing

If you seal your driveway as a DIY project, you’ll spend a lot of time preparing the surface. Make sure you have a clean surface that’s free of cracks or blemishes so that the sealant can properly bind.

Cleaning the Driveway Surface

Follow the steps below to clear the surface layer of your driveway of stains, dirt, and debris that might prevent sealcoat from adhering to your driveway.

Let any water you use during the cleaning process completely dry before you apply sealant, or you may risk trapping water in the concrete. 

Repairing Cracks and Potholes

Inspect your driveway for damage before you clean it, especially with an older driveway. If you see visible cracks, unwanted gaps, or uneven spots, then fill them in with concrete filler or self-leveling concrete mixes. If you have an asphalt driveway, use an asphalt crack filler. Allow the repaired areas to fully dry before you begin applying the driveway sealant.

Applying the Driveway Sealant

Once you have repaired and cleaned your driveway, you can start sealing it, which will take one day. Cover adjacent surfaces such as cobblestone pathways, landscaping, and garden beds with tape or taped-down paper bags so that you don’t expose them to sealant chemicals. 

Mixing and Pouring the Sealant

Thoroughly review the manufacturer’s instructions on the sealant’s container and closely follow those instructions. The general process for mixing and pouring sealant is below.  

Spreading and Smoothing the Sealant

Use a squeegee or a natural, hard-bristle broom to spread sealant. Line up the broom with the strip of sealing material, and pull the broom toward yourself in smooth, controlled strokes. 

Continue to pour more small strips of material. Thoroughly coat the driveway edge, and then pull the excess material down to your next row of sealant. Try to work quickly so that rows blend together with no streaking.

Using the right type of broom is the most critical aspect of smoothing the surface and having a professional-looking seal. Assess your work periodically, and pull your broom over spots that look too thin, too thick, or like they have a tacky or sticky texture. You can also use a paint brush to touch up edges.

If you are applying a second coating, allow the driveway to dry, then follow the same process. 

Curing and Caring for a Sealed Driveway

Once you’ve applied your coating, wait for it to completely dry before using your driveway. Follow some of the basic maintenance tasks below.

Wait to Walk on Your Driveway

Wait at least 72 hours to walk on your driveway, and at least 96 hours before parking your car on your driveway. This allows for complete curing and drying, even if the weather is humid. 

Keep the Driveway Clean

Keep your driveway clean, and sweep tree leaves, grass clippings, and debris off your driveway frequently. You should also mop up oil stains promptly. 

Reseal the Driveway Periodically

Your driveway sealant will last for up to five years, depending on the weather, material type, and frequency of use. Be sure to reseal your driveway every few years to maintain its condition.

Our Recommendation

Sealing your driveway is a great way to maximize your home’s curb appeal and keep driveway damage to a minimum. Homeowners can very easily complete the job themselves by choosing the right materials, cleaning their driveways, and repairing their driveway surface before starting the sealing process. Maintain your driveway diligently so you can use it for years to come. 

Driveway Sealing FAQ

Is sealing a driveway worth it?

Sealing a driveway is worth it, and boasts benefits such as improved curb appeal, fewer cracks, and less staining or dimming over time.

Can I seal my driveway myself?

You can seal your driveway yourself. Homeowners can easily select and order necessary materials, prepare or repair the driveway surface, and apply sealant with a broom or squeegee.

How long should you stay off your driveway after sealing?

Stay off your driveway for at least 72 hours after sealing. We recommend reviewing your driveway sealer manufacturer’s instructions for precise time recommendations.

How often should you seal your driveway?

You should seal your driveway once every two to five years to ensure continuous coverage. 

What is the best temperature to seal a driveway?

The best temperature to seal a driveway is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather should also have been dry for at least four days.