Though asphalt driveways may seem hardy and able to stand up to years of use, if you fail to seal your driveway, you may substantially shorten its life. Asphalt driveways require regular sealing to ensure that they don’t crack and crumble. Driveway sealing is something you can do yourself, though some elect to hire out the task. Whether you are ready to pick up your sealing equipment and head out to the driveway yourself or you are preparing to work with a sealing company, before you can start the process of having your driveway sealed, you must decide between hot and cold driveway sealers.
Though homeowners can use either hot or cold driveway sealant for their general driveway coating, some circumstances call specifically for a hot option. If your driveway has cracks between 1/8 and 1/2 inch wide, using a hot applied sealer, at least to fill these noticeable cracks, is important. Cold driveway sealer is an effective means of coating a driveway but is not intended for placement over cracks of this type. Some homeowners, faced with these cracks, elect to simply hot seal the entire driveway, while others use a hot seal patching kit, then commence with the cold seal application.
Benefits of Hot Sealers
Because the sealing compound used in a hot driveway seal goes on warm, it generally adheres slightly better to the driveway surface, potentially lengthening the life of your driveway seal. If your driveway has some cracks, using a hot sealer could save you time as you won’t have to tend to these cracks before sealing. Instead, you can simply go over these cracked areas more carefully than areas free of cracking and allow the sealant to seep down into these cracks and repair them while you seal the entire driveway.
Benefits of Cold Sealer
Applying a cold sealer is generally a less distasteful task, as the individual completing the application does not have to slather hot liquid on his driveway. Though it's still not aromatic, the odor of a cold sealer is generally less noticeable than that emitted by a hot sealer. In addition, applying a cold sealer to your driveway requires no specialized tools, making it potentially a more affordable option as you will not have to invest in the purchase or rental of hot sealing equipment.
Both hot and cold sealers will effectively seal an asphalt driveway, making either choice an effective option for homeowners. Because using a hot sealer requires specialized equipment, however, many homeowners who tackle the task themselves elect to use cold sealers as they are significantly easier for the inexperienced DIYer to apply than a hot seal option.
Most Durable Option
While using either cold or hot driveway sealers on your driveway will help extend the life of your driveway, the two are not equally effective. Though often easier to apply, cold asphalt sealant isn't quite as effective as hot. As the National Asphalt Pavement Association reports, hot driveway sealant, also referred to as hot mix asphalt, contains not just liquid asphalt but also sands and petite pebbles that make the sealant's coverage more complete and provide a finish more capable of standing up to wear. Also, because hot asphalt goes on warm, it is better able to creep down into the nooks and crannies of the driveway and better adhere to the surface, unlike cold sealant that is more prone to bubbling and peeling.