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What’s the Best Time of Year To Seal a Driveway? (UK) – Full Guide

Sealing your driveway is a necessary part of maintaining it. It can last for years if you seal it at the correct time of year and under the right weather conditions. But if you wait too long or seal it under the wrong conditions, you could end up with a driveway that needs to be resealed much sooner.

So when is the best time of year to seal a driveway? – Generally speaking, between May and October is the best time to seal your drive; just make sure the weather is dry with no rain forecast for at least a couple of days until the sealant dries completely.

With over 15 years of experience in the sealing industry, we’ve sealed our fair share of driveways with a wide range of different products. We’ve seen great jobs (and fixed bad jobs), but mostly we’ve learnt the dos and don’ts of driveway sealing by committing our time to the landscaping trade.

There are several rules of thumb that you’d be wise to stick to when applying sealant and a few common mistakes that we can help you to avoid! But, with the knowledge that we’ve compiled in this article, you’ll learn that it’s not so hard to apply a long-lasting seal to your new asphalt or concrete driveway.

Keep reading to find out when to do driveway sealing for the best results!

What Is the Best Time of Year to Apply Asphalt Driveway Sealant?

Without a doubt, the best time to seal a driveway is during the spring and summer months when the temperatures are high and the warmer weather has officially arrived. Applying your chosen sealant to a wet or frozen surface can result in a poor finish, visible small cracks and even your entire coat of sealer turning white. Generally, cold weather isn’t too bad, but freezing or wet are red flags.

You should avoid applying sealer in winter weather or during high humidity to allow for the seal to be fully cured and provide adequate protection to your asphalt driveway. Any moisture or rain present during the application and curing process can result in an uneven finish and an overall poor job.

To ensure new asphalt parking lots and driveways are able to properly protect from sun exposure, wear from cars, oil and other damage, the best time to apply your chosen asphalt sealer is between May and October during a period of no rainfall.

What Conditions are Best for Sealing a Concrete Driveway?

It’s best to seal your driveway during warm conditions, with air temperatures between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire patio or driveway area must be completely dry and there should be no forecasted rain for at least 24 hours after application.

Temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit will allow your sealant to dry faster, but extreme heat of 80 degrees and higher may prevent sealers from properly curing.

Pattern imprinted concrete and resin-bound stone will usually require a different type of sealant to concrete and asphalt. Still, no matter what driveway material you have, the optimal conditions you’re looking for will remain the same.

What about pattern imprinted concrete?

It’s best to seal pattern imprinted concrete and resin-bound stone with an acrylic sealer; both solvent-based and water-based variants will work. Brush any loose dirt and debris from the driveway and apply a thin layer of sealant with a soft-bristled brush.

Too much sealer on a patterned concrete driveway can affect how the pattern appears. Start with a thin coat, making sure the whole driveway is equally covered, and allow for your chosen sealant’s recommended curing time before gauging if the seal is thick enough.

This video by Smartseal shows how to seal pattern imprinted concrete

Check the Forecast Before you Start.

Before you apply sealer to any driveway surface, you should first check the forecast for any chance of rainfall or extreme weather. Rain and frost can still cause issues during the Great British spring and summer, so make it a priority to check the forecast for a window of at least 24 hours of clear skies and warm temperatures.

Larger driveways and parking lots, or paving with two coats of sealant or more, will generally take longer to cure. In this case, we advise that you allow for a window of two or more days of warm, dry conditions to allow your asphalt sealer to properly cure.

What to do if it starts to rain?

If the forecast has caught you out, and your freshly sealed driveway is at risk of being ruined by the rain, the first thing you should do is wait for the rainfall to pass. Inspect the damage and check for any spots that appear dull or thin when compared to the rest of the driveway.

If the damage is minimal, you can simply begin to apply a second coat to the affected areas and smooth out any uneven patches. You should make sure that no further rain is forecast and allow for at least 24 hours of dry weather to properly cure the sealant.

If the rainfall has been significant, and most of your sealant has washed away from the concrete or asphalt, you may need to completely remove the original seal with a pressure washer and start again.

How Long Does it Take to Seal a Driveway?

When sealing a new driveway, you should plan for at least 24 hours of dry weather from the beginning of the process to the moment that you allow traffic onto your parking lot. Depending on the size of your parking lot or driveway, it should only take an hour or two to actually apply the sealant to the concrete or asphalt.

The bulk of your time when sealing a driveway will be spent waiting for the sealant to cure in order to adequately protect the concrete or asphalt beneath. Each sealant will have a different recommended curing time, but as a general rule, you should allow for at least 24 hours of warm, dry weather to produce a solid seal that will protect your driveway from oil, wear, cracks and UV damage.

To fully understand the drying process, read our guide on drying times for paver sealant here.

How Long Should I Wait Before Reapplying Sealer?

Generally speaking, a well-applied layer of driveway sealant should last a few years before showing any considerable signs of wear. If you begin to notice cracks forming around the edges of your asphalt driveway or areas that appear thinner due to the movement of cars and traffic, it may be time to take on the job of reapplying a new layer of sealant.

As covered earlier in this article, you should check your forecast for an extended period of warm and dry conditions before choosing to apply a new seal to your asphalt driveway.

Best Sealers to Use?

We’ve prepared a deep dive into the best drive sealants on the market, covering all of their pros and cons, which you can find.

Last Word

The best time to seal your driveway is when the temperature outside is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours. If you maintain its surface, you can expect a professional-grade sealant to last at least five years by applying another coat every two years.

For shady areas like the back of bins, or behind a wall. These won’t have much sun and take longer to dry for the morning due than say the centre of the drive.

There are some other factors too, like what type of material is used (concrete vs asphalt) and how much use does the driveway get? You also want to make sure it’s sealed properly using a high-quality product designed specifically for the surface.