While they have a fresh, black appearance and beautiful curb appeal, asphalt driveways also require proper maintenance. Many homeowners may notice their driveway doesn’t look as new as it once did—but they don’t know if sealcoating or driveway resurfacing is the answer.
Are you asking yourself, “When should I sealcoat or repave my asphalt driveway?” Explore this guide to learn how often you should seal an asphalt driveway, what it costs to replace an asphalt driveway, when to use driveway resurfacing, and more.
Sealcoating Your Asphalt Driveway
Sealcoating involves applying a liquid sealant over your existing asphalt pavement to seal the surface and fill cracks. The process protects the sublayers and foundation from the elements and delays driveway replacement.
Apply sealant every three to five years. If you’ve recently installed a new driveway, wait at least 90 days to a year to ensure the sealant doesn’t damage the asphalt. Sealcoating a new driveway too early may trap oils within the asphalt, resulting in a driveway that is too soft or flexible.
Sealcoat your asphalt driveway when the temperature is 50–90°F. Only apply a sealant when you have two consecutive days without rain. Dry conditions ensure proper adhesion to the existing asphalt.
Cost to Sealcoat Asphalt Driveways
The average cost for a contractor to sealcoat your asphalt driveway is $0.17 to $0.24 per square foot. Driveways measuring 480 square feet cost $80 to $115 to sealcoat. Larger driveways cost $170 to $240 to sealcoat. Cost ranges may vary by contractor and region.
Resurfacing Your Asphalt Driveway
Sometimes sealcoating isn’t the answer. Shallow cracks and constant patching may signal it’s time to resurface your driveway. Driveway resurfacing is when you replace the top layer of asphalt with a fresh layer. Driveway resurfacing helps extend the life of your driveway for another eight to 15 years.
How Often to Engage in Driveway Resurfacing
Knowing when to resurface your asphalt driveway depends on a few factors. Resurface your asphalt driveway if:
- The foundation is still sound
- The asphalt is less than 20 years old
- Cracks are smaller than a quarter-inch wide
- Cracks are less than two inches deep
- Less than 30% of the asphalt needs repairs
Keep in mind that repairs are temporary. Eventually, water seeps between the old and new material. When this happens, cracks form again. If you’re patching and repairing often and the foundation is still structurally sound, it’s time to resurface your driveway.
Cost to Resurface Asphalt Driveways
The cost to resurface an asphalt driveway is a fraction of the price it costs to install a new driveway. Driveway resurfacing costs approximately $2.25 per square foot. Patterns and colors cost more—around $4 to $8 per square foot.
Repaving Your Asphalt Driveway
Even if you’ve dutifully maintained your driveway and performed all necessary repairs, the materials break down over time. It becomes impossible to patch crumbling asphalt. You may begin to think your constant repairs aren’t worth the trouble. Installing a new driveway provides a smooth, safe surface you’ll appreciate each day.
Asphalt driveways 25 years or older typically require repaving. Is it time to replace your driveway? Examine the pavement. If more than 30% needs repairs and if large cracks (greater than a quarter-inch wide and two inches deep) split the asphalt, consider repaving. An unsteady foundation is also a sign that you should start planning for a new driveway.
Cost to Replace Asphalt Driveways
Generally, asphalt driveways cost $2 to $5 per square foot to install. This may vary depending on your region or contractor. The cost for asphalt driveway installation is about half the price of concrete, which makes it a cost-effective option for homeowners who want to make the most of their budget.