When Does My Asphalt Need Sealcoating?

As a homeowner in St. Louis, your asphalt driveway endures constant wear and tear from the elements and everyday use. Sealcoating is a vital preventative maintenance step that protects your investment and extends the lifespan of your driveway. But how do you know when it’s time for a fresh coat? Here are some key signs to watch out for:

Surface Deterioration

Fading Color: Over time, the rich black color of your asphalt will naturally fade due to sun exposure. If your driveway appears dull and grayish, it might be a sign that the protective oils are depleting, leaving the asphalt vulnerable to further damage.

Cracking: Small cracks (less than ¼ inch wide) are a common occurrence, but they shouldn’t be ignored. Left untreated, these cracks can expand and allow water to seep in, causing more extensive damage during freeze-thaw cycles common in Missouri winters.

Raveling: This occurs when the asphalt surface begins to loosen and break away into small pebbles. It’s a telltale sign that the asphalt binder is deteriorating and the surface needs protection.

Other Warning Signs

Increased Water Infiltration: If you notice puddles forming on your driveway after rain, it might indicate that the sealcoat is no longer effectively repelling water.

Oil Stains: Left unaddressed, oil spills can seep into the asphalt and weaken the binder. While a fresh sealcoat won’t erase existing stains, it will create a barrier against future spills.

How Often Should I Sealcoat?

Generally, sealcoating is recommended every 2-4 years in the Missouri climate.  Several factors can influence this timeframe, such as:

Traffic Volume: Driveways with high traffic volume might require more frequent sealcoating.

Sun Exposure: Driveways exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods might deteriorate faster.

Quality of Previous Sealcoat: A properly applied high-quality sealcoat will naturally last longer.

Consulting a Professional

If you’re unsure about the condition of your asphalt driveway or the need for sealcoating, it’s wise to consult a professional. At Next Level Striping, we can connect you with reputable sealcoating companies in the St. Louis area who can assess your driveway and recommend the best course of action.