How To Seal Asphalt Before Winter

November 10, 2020

How To Seal Asphalt in the Winter

In winter, the frigid, unpredictable weather makes sealing your asphalt difficult and should always be avoided—but it can be done before that cold weather comes. With careful, deliberate planning, you can successfully seal your driveway later in the fall season. Need some tips? Here’s how to seal your asphalt before winter—get your driveway some much-needed protection before it starts to snow.

Watch the Weather

The best conditions for sealcoating your driveway is when the pavement and ambient temperature are, at a minimum, 50° F and rising. If you apply sealant below the recommended temperature, it can cause issues such as tracking, power steering marks, and compromised durability. Check the forecast, too. If rain, snow, or thick fog are predicted, you should delay your application. If you disregard these recommendations, you’ll end up with short-lived, low-quality results.

Modify the Mixture

To accelerate the drying and curing process, you should use a modified mixture. Specialty additives contain evaporating solvents, which mix with the sealant’s water and cause it to evaporate at a faster rate. You should add less water to the mix, too—roughly five percent less than what you would typically use. Both factors will speed up the drying process.

If you’re using a normal, unmodified mixture, keep an eye on the forecasted weather conditions. If the temperature dips below 50° F, your sealant’s film will freeze. This can cause peeling and cracking and unbind the sealer from the pavement.

Be Diligent with Debris

Another tip on how to seal asphalt before the winter months is to be cautious with falling debris. When you’re sealcoating your driveway, small, lightweight debris isn’t usually a cause for concern. In late autumn, leaves, pinecones, tree nuts, and other debris tend to fall at an accelerated rate. If they pile up, you could wind up with indents in your asphalt or, worse, with debris embedded permanently in the sealant. To prevent this, be prepared to remove built-up debris from your driveway as it’s drying.

You’ll want to be careful. Avoid stepping on the drying pavement. If you need to remove something, do it with the long handle of a broom or something else that’s unlikely to make contact with the curing sealant.

Play the Waiting Game

Once you’re done sealing, it’s time to play the waiting game. The cooler the temperature, the longer the drying and curing process will take. Expect to wait upwards of two full days for completely sealed asphalt. If you’re adding multiple coats, it’ll take even longer. You’ll likely have to schedule the job over two days, if not more. Allow for extra drying time in between coats. Four to six hours is recommended.

If you finish sealcoating by early afternoon, your driveway will have another three to four hours under the sun. For this reason, it’s better to sealcoat earlier in the day—but not too early. Wait for the fog and cold early morning temperatures to lift before you start applying the sealant.

If you need reliable, professional equipment to finish your sealcoating job, NAC Supply has everything you need. Look through our inventory for repair products and sealcoating equipment for sale.

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