Building An Addition: A Homeowner's Guide

Need To Repair Your Asphalt Driveway? How Resurfacing And Sealcoating Differ

by Toni Richards

If your asphalt driveway is faded and showing its age, you may be wondering what you can do to bring it back to life. As long as the base under the driveway is still in good shape, you probably won't need to tear out the old asphalt and install a new driveway. Depending on the degree of wear and tear, you can have a sealcoat applied or have the asphalt resurfaced. These are the differences between the two procedures.

Sealcoating Freshens Color And Protects The Asphalt

Sealcoating is a preventative maintenance procedure that prolongs the life of your driveway. It is also a cosmetic treatment that freshens the color and hides imperfections. You should have a new sealcoat applied to your driveway every few years to keep the color nice and dark. The coating acts as a waterproof barrier and UV blocker too, and in this way, it helps prevent damage to your driveway and prolongs its life.

Resurfacing your driveway is entirely different. It is done when your driveway is in need of a lot of repairs due to potholes, cracks, and crumbling. Resurfacing is a type of driveway repair that's needed for a neglected driveway or one that is near the end of it's life in order to get a few more years out of it.

Sealcoating Goes On Like Paint

The two procedures differ in how they are applied as well. Sealcoating is applied in a manner similar to paint except it is applied with a squeegee rather than a brush. A thin layer of the coating is spread out over your driveway so it forms a continuous topcoat that covers stains, repaired cracks, and faded color.

When you have your driveway resurfaced, the contractor spreads out a new layer of asphalt that is a few inches thick. The new layer is made of gravel, sand, and an asphalt binder just like the original asphalt material.

Repairs Must Be Done Before Sealcoating

Before you sealcoat your driveway, you need to repair all the cracks and other damage first, or they will show through the new coating. This isn't too difficult to do if the cracks are small enough to be repaired with filler. Once all the cracks and potholes are repaired and the patch is dry, then the sealcoat can be applied. When you resurface the driveway, the contractor can fill in the cracks and potholes as the new asphalt is applied.

You can probably tell by how the procedures differ that sealcoating is the less expensive option. If your driveway has minor damage, even if it is severely faded, then sealcoating is the way to go. If it is crumbling and full of potholes or if it has huge cracks, your contractor may determine that resurfacing is a better option. However, one thing to keep in mind, if you go with resurfacing, you'll still need to have a sealcoating applied on a regular schedule to protect the new asphalt on your driveway.