If you value something, you should take care of it. It's true for your house, your car and even your driveway — a little upkeep now can save you a whole lot later.
If you have a driveway, it's most likely made of concrete or asphalt. Concrete driveways tend to be more durable, but asphalt typically costs less to install and holds up better in certain climates. Both concrete and asphalt driveways require some maintenance, and both will eventually need to be resealed.
So, how do you know when it's time to reseal your driveway? Allow us to break it down for you.
When to reseal: Vision should be your guide to deciding when it's time to reseal the driveway. If you notice even slight cracking, it's a good idea to contact a driveway contractor. A professional can can tell you whether your driveway is in immediate need of sealing or there's a bigger underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Most contractors say that concrete driveways should be resealed about every five years, but they can last for longer than that in more moderate climates.
What it will cost: This depends on where you're located and the demand for service. In New Mexico, for example, the average cost to seal a driveway might be higher because the weather conditions don't create much demand for resealing. But in a location like upstate New York, average resealing costs could be much lower because the demand for resealing is much higher due to the area's climate.
If you're looking for a ballpark resealing figure, you should know that most contractors will charge based on the size of the driveway. The average cost for driveway sealing in the East is typically between 10 and 16 cents per square foot. By those measures, resealing a 1,000-square-foot driveway in this area would cost between $100 and $160.
How to take care of it now: Keep your concrete driveway clean. For a light, general cleaning, you can just use a metallic brush and mild detergent to get out that surface dirt. If you need something heavy duty, or a degreaser for a deeper cleaning, be sure to choose products that specify they're for cleaning but not stripping concrete.
When you see a crack — even a small one — take care of it as soon as possible. You only need a few tools and compounds, which are all available at your local hardware store. Fixing those little cracks now keeps them from becoming bigger cracks later — and those bigger cracks are much more difficult to repair.
When to reseal: How often you need to seal your asphalt driveway will depend on the weather in your area; on average, it should be done about every five years. Like all concrete, asphalt is prone to cracks and damage over time. You can save yourself a big hassle later by repairing those small cracks now.
If you have a newly installed driveway, do not seal it for six months or longer. The material needs to cure for at least this long.
What will it cost: The average cost to seal asphalt paving is $409. Most homeowners report spending between $229 and $550, while some report spending as little as $135.
How to take care of it now: When you clean off the surface of your driveway, just scrub with dish soap and warm water. Chemical detergents can damage the material and should be avoided. If you encounter any tough stains, immediately call a contractor to properly get rid of them. Trying to do this yourself may result in additional damage to the asphalt.