Maintaining your driveway to improve curb appeal

The condition of your driveway can make or break your home’s curb appeal. It takes a beating all year–round, but the summer sun can really take a toll.

Whether your driveway is concrete or asphalt, if you want to keep it looking like new, you need to understand the importance of sealing. Sealant sits on top of your driveway and acts as a barrier against the elements, protecting it from damage caused by oil and gas spills, rain, snow, and sun.

“With the oxidation process, the summer starts to break down the sealer with the sun beating on it,” said driveway contractor Tyler Stephens. “Just imagine if it’s a 90 degree July day, that asphalt and also the concrete surface is up to 100 degrees with the sun just beating on it all day so it just starts the deterioration process also.”

Angie’s List says seal coating can cost between $200 and $300. Most companies base their estimates on the square footage of your driveway, so beware of a price that sounds too good to be true.

“Driveway repair is no different than any other contracting service,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “Be cautious of someone that’s coming door–to–door and offering you a great deal because they have leftover materials from someone else. Do your research. Pick your company. A deal today should be a deal tomorrow.”

Experts say you should also ask how the contractor plans to spread the sealer.

“There’s two ways to seal the asphalt. It’s either brush apply it or to spray it. All residential driveways should be brushed, not sprayed, so if someone is saying they want to spray your driveway they could really water down the sealer,” added Stephens.

Temperature is key when sealing driveways. Usually, anything over 65 degrees is good.

“This time of year, demand for driveway sealing and repairing goes up and we do hear complaints about it from time to time,” Hicks said. “The important thing to remember is you want to develop a relationship with the driveway company, because you’ll likely be using them year after year.”

So how often should you seal your driveway? Angie’s List says that depends on your location. Those who live in cold climates like the Upper Peninsula, with its harsh winters and numerous freeze–thaw cycles, will have to seal every one to two years. Homeowners in much milder climates can often go as little as every four years.