Driveway Sealing in Winter – Yay or Nay?
Welcome back to the Sunrise Asphalt blog where we cover all the info fit to pave! Winter is just around the corner and so it has come time to answer a question we see pop up frequently, especially around these parts, “Is driveway sealing in winter possible?” Maybe it’s just because of the Tucson weather, but this question crops up enough to need specific answering so let’s get into it!
The question pops up because folks have some basic knowledge of the mechanics of the job. Laying asphalt, after all, is subject to temperature fluctuations and precipitation so wouldn’t sealing a driveway have the same result? The answer to that is a resounding yes, of course! But it’s a bit trickier than that. See, while many places in the country enjoy a wet or snowy, cold winter, Tucson is not one of them! (That freak hailstorm the other week aside, of course.)
The process of driveway sealcoat curing is simple. As most seal coats are water based the process relies on evaporation. The layers dry and cure by releasing all of the moisture from the layers into the air. Those bottom layers can retain moisture for longer as the top layers dry out. If there is precipitation or the weather is particularly cold, that evaporation process is slowed. The absolute minimum temperature for seal coating is 50 degrees (Fahrenheit), lower than that and you’re asking for trouble.
So, while the precipitation of ‘most’ winters isn’t necessarily an issue here, that cold can certainly make the curing process delayed. So, can you seal a road in the winter? Yeah, it is possible! Just understand that it will take time, and the longer it takes to cure the more opportunity there is for something to damage it before the job is complete, whether it be stray precipitation or a dip in temps.
Frequently it is recommended for those who live in these colder areas is to sit tight during the winter cold, make repairs as needed, and then when it starts heating up and drying out to go in for seal coating. Your mileage may vary of course.
More Driveway Sealing Tips
While we’re on the subject, here are some more tips for driveway sealing.
The sealant can do a number on your clothing (and you certainly don’t want to get any on you) so dress for the job. Make sure you’re not inhaling the vapors while you’re at it.
Clean it Up
If you have grass overhanging the surface you are going to be sealing, get to work removing that. If your surface has gas or oil stains, use a stiff brush special detergent for cleaning them up (can be found at an auto store).
Grab the garden hose and spray off the area you’re going to be sealing. You want there to be nothing between the surface and the sealant!
Let it Rest!
The minimum amount of time for drying and curing is at least 24 hours – and a good bit longer if you’re in cold or wet conditions. Make sure that you give the sealant as long as necessary to set, otherwise you’ll have wasted your effort. Block off the stretch of asphalt you sealed, make a note, do what you need to do to keep feet, tires, vehicles, and everything else, from marring the sealant.
If all those tips and facts make the process of driveway sealing seem daunting, we understand. Without proper tools and know-how, even the simplest jobs can go wrong. That’s why we always recommend going with the professionals! If you need your driveway sealed, or have a parking lot in need of paving this winter, turn to us here at Sunrise Asphalt. We have the proven track record, the right tools, and the expertise to get any job done.