Replacing a driveway can be one of the costliest home improvements out there. That's why most homeowners opt to seal an old, cracked driveway at least one or two times before seriously considering a replacement. Sealing asphalt has long been a standard project, but what if you have a concrete driveway? They get cracks and surface damage, just like asphalt. Turns out, the answer may be the same for both asphalt and concrete: rubber driveway coating.
Rubber Driveway Coating
Rubber driveway coating, or repair sealant, is a rubberized tar-like liquid that seals old asphalt and concrete surfaces. Manufacturers claim that it is more durable and less messy than tar, and many formulas contain an aggregate (such as sand) for greater durability. It comes in 50-gallon buckets and can be applied with a squeegee or broom. Many types offer low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) content, making them much less noxious than traditional tar-based sealers.
Why Seal Your Driveway
As mentioned, replacing a driveway is very expensive. Sealing asphalt or concrete helps it last longer and look better while you put off the inevitable replacement. The main enemy of any driveway is moisture. When cracks appear in a driveway (and they always appear in a driveway), moisture gets down into the paving and wreaks havoc. It erodes the base below the surface, leading to settling and holes. If it freezes, it expands and promotes more cracking.
Sealing the driveway helps keep moisture out of cracks of all sizes, even those you can't really see. Large cracks are harder to cover and should be filled with a compatible caulk so the sealer can bridge over the top. The sealer also renews the look of a driveway by giving it a consistent color. You might not love the look of rolled-on rubber, but it's probably better than the unsightly splotches and veins of on old, cracked driveway surface.
Applying Rubber Driveway Coating
Like any plasticky surface coating, rubber driveway sealer sticks only if the underlying surface is clean and dry. Preparing an asphalt driveway requires just a thorough cleaning with a hose or pressure washer. Oily spots should be cleaned with a suitable degreasing cleaner, then rinsed thoroughly. Concrete surfaces should be washed with a muriatic acid solution, rinsed, then neutralized with sodium hydroxide and rinsed again.
Let the driveway dry completely before sealing. Fill large cracks with a driveway caulk product that is compatible with the coating. It's easiest to apply the coating with a paint roller fitted with a long handle. You can also use a large paintbrush for detail work and edges.