How much does it cost to seal an asphalt driveway?
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Seal an Asphalt Driveway Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
If you have an asphalt driveway, you need to seal it approximately once every 5 to 10 years to keep it in the best possible condition. Sealcoating helps protect your driveway from the elements, so it cracks less often and holds up better in the long term.
There are several types of sealant on the market, all of which are sold and applied on a square foot cost basis, which means that every driveway has its own cost. The national average range to sealcoat an asphalt driveway is $355 - $600, with most people paying around $468 for an asphalt-based sealer on a flat 20 x 20-foot flat driveway in fair condition.
Cost to Seal an Asphalt Driveway
|Asphalt Sealing Costs
|National average cost
Asphalt Sealing Costs per Square Foot
Sealing your driveway is a lot less expensive than installing a new one. Asphalt sealing is done on a per square foot basis, with different types of sealers having varying costs. The cost to seal a blacktop driveway ranges from $0.88 per square foot to as much as $2.10 a square foot, depending mostly on the sealer type and your driveway’s condition. Most people pay around $1.05 a square foot for a mid-grade sealer on a driveway that is in fair to moderate condition.
Cost to Sealcoat a Driveway by Type of Sealer
Besides the square footage of your driveway, the biggest driving factor behind your project cost is the sealer type you choose. There are several types available, each with its own characteristics and costs:
|Type of Sealer
|Cost per Square Foot (material)
|$0.08 - $0.10
|$0.15 - $0.20
|$0.15 - $0.20
|$0.25 - $0.35
|Fill and Seal
|$0.35 - $0.50
Coal Tar Sealer
Coal tar is the most common and least expensive sealcoat type. It is made from tar derived from coal and tends to hold up very well to the elements, while also blocking UV light. It holds up better than asphalt-based sealers but produces very high levels of VOCs, and in some areas, it is banned due to the environmental issues it causes when runoff enters the groundwater. It costs between $0.08 and $0.10 a square foot.
Asphalt sealer is basically a liquid form of the same material as the driveway but without the added aggregate or sand. It gives your driveway a nice black coating, protecting it from moisture problems. It fades in the sun, and UV light breaks it down quicker than coal tar sealers, so it needs to be applied more often in very sunny areas. It also does not fill holes and only fills very shallow cracks. The cost is around $0.15 to $0.20 a square foot.
Oil-based sealers are a little less common than the other types because they are difficult to work with and do not last longer than an asphalt sealer. However, for some areas where coal tar is banned, installers may prefer oil-based sealers because they do a better job of filling some cracks. These sealers cost between $0.15 and $0.20 a square foot.
Acrylic sealers are a newer driveway sealer type that lasts longer than even coal tar but without the high levels of VOCs. These are more expensive and difficult to spread, but they fill cracks and some moderately sized holes. They cost between $0.25 and $0.35 a square foot.
Fill and Seal
If your driveway is in rougher shape and has the beginnings of some potholes, choose a method called fill and seal. This is a thicker sealant with some aggregate in it, so it fills bigger cracks and holes. It may be made of nearly any other substance and has a cost of $0.35 to $0.50 a square foot.
Labor Costs to Sealcoat an Asphalt Driveway
The ultimate cost to sealcoat your driveway comes down to a few things, mostly involving the labor. Sealcoats are sprayed or squeegeed onto the driveway, and for some driveways in poor shape, they may have to have areas filled before the entire thing is sealed. This means that the labor cost varies from project to project, depending on your driveway’s shape and slope, its condition, and the sealant type used. If your driveway needs to be cleaned first, this increases the labor cost. Expect labor to be between $0.60 and $1.75 a square foot for most driveways, but if your driveway needs a lot of work, cleaning, patching, and edging before it is sealed, expect your labor costs to go much higher.
Why Seal a Driveway
Asphalt is affected by UV light, rain, snow, and ice. It softens slightly in the heat and develops cracks from shifting soil over time. If you live in an area that sees freeze/thaw conditions, your asphalt may develop frost heaves and potholes if water gets into a crack and expands when it freezes.
Sealing your driveway helps prevent these issues. It fills minor cracks before they expand and grow and protects your driveway from UV light, rain, and snow. With sealing, you extend the life of your driveway and keep it looking better. Your driveway plays a role in your home’s curb appeal, so sealing it also helps your home maintain its value.
How Often Do You Need to Seal an Asphalt Driveway
Before you seal a driveway, make sure it is fully dried and cured, which takes as long as 6 months after the topcoat was put down. After that, seal your driveway about every 5 to 10 years on average, depending on your climate, how much sun it gets, and the sealer type. Keep in mind some cheaper sealants wear off quicker and need to be replaced every 3 years. It is important not to seal too often because too much sealant causes your driveway to peel over time.
How Many Years Does an Asphalt Driveway Last?
A well-maintained asphalt driveway lasts anywhere from 25 - 30 years, but in some moderate climates, it may last even longer. In harsher climates, a driveway that is not being regularly sealed and maintained may show signs of wear in less than 10 years. Sealing your asphalt driveway is one way to help reach its full lifespan.
Will Asphalt Driveway Sealcoating Fix a Driveway?
Sealcoating your asphalt driveway extends its lifespan and keeps it looking better for longer. However, it does not fix issues with a poorly paved or maintained driveway. Before your driveway can be sealed, large cracks and holes need to be patched. Regular sealing helps stop problems before they start, which means your driveway costs less in the long run because you have to repair and replace it less often.
Sealing vs Resurfacing an Asphalt Driveway
Another method of maintaining your driveway that helps fix problems with the asphalt is resurfacing your driveway. Resurfacing strips off the top couple of inches of asphalt and puts down a new layer. If your driveway is getting older and has more cracks than are easily patched and sealed but no major potholes or frost heaves, resurfacing extends its lifespan.
Sealing helps prevent problems and extends your driveway’s lifespan and is applied roughly every 5 years. On the other hand, resurfacing fixes moderate issues and is done every 15 to 20 years on average.
The cost to resurface driveway asphalt is around $4 to $8 a square foot, depending on your driveway’s size and shape, how many inches are resurfaced, and the type and quality of the asphalt. The higher quality bitumen, the more expensive the job.
Enhancements and Improvement Costs
Part of the labor cost for this project is cleaning the driveway. Your driveway needs to be clear of any sand or debris before it is sealed. Lower the cost of your project by doing this cleaning yourself.
Asphalt and asphalt-based sealers have pigment added to them to change the color of your driveway. The bitumen used is black, but pigments tint it dark red, green, blue, and other dark hues. This has an added cost of around $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot.
If you have cracks in your driveway, weeds grow there. Sealing fills the cracks and keeps the weeds from coming back, but they may need to be killed first. This is done with weed killers, vinegar, or even boiling water. Do this yourself or have the crew do it as part of the driveway cleaning. If your driveway needs extensive weed control, it adds around $0.25 to the cost per square foot.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Before sealing your driveway, wait until the ground temperature is at least 45 degrees F or higher and when there is no rain expected for at least three days.
- Flat driveways are the easiest and least expensive to seal. Sloped driveways are more difficult because the sealer runs downhill.
- Sealers are designed to cover a specific number of square feet per bucket. Always round up the amount you think you need by 10% to avoid running out.
- Asphalt is damaged by UV light and direct sunlight, causing the material to become brittle, spall, and crack. It may also fade. If your driveway is in direct sunlight, consider sealing it more frequently to protect it.
- If you live in an area with high rain or snowfall, have your driveway sealed more frequently because excessive moisture causes the material to become brittle. This is also true of areas with high humidity.
- Your driveway is part of your home’s curb appeal and impacts its value. A sealed driveway has a darker finish and looks better. It also reduces future maintenance and makes your property increase in value faster.
- Most driveways only need one coat of sealer. However, if you want, have a second applied. This is done 24 hours after the first coat application, and while it does not cost as much per square foot as the first coat, it increases your overall costs.
- How long should you wait to seal a new asphalt driveway?
If possible, it is best to wait at least 6 months before sealing to let the asphalt cure.
- How much does it cost to reseal an asphalt driveway?
The average cost to seal a 20 x 20-foot driveway is around $468.
- How long does it take for asphalt to cure?
This depends on the climate and weather conditions, but it takes up to 6 months to fully cure.
- Is sealcoating asphalt necessary?
Sealing your driveway helps it last longer, reduces cracks and holes, and helps it maintain its appearance for longer.
- How often should blacktop driveways be sealed?
This depends on the climate and sealant type, but it averages about every 5 years.