If your driveway sealer isn’t dry within 24 hours after application, the most common causes are:
- Sealer was applied to asphalt that is less than 60 days old.
- Air temperatures are too cold to allow for proper drying.
- Humid weather is slowing down the drying process.
- The sealer was applied in thick coats.
- A poor-quality sealer was used.
Each of the reasons above can affect the curing process of asphalt sealer. Read on to help determine exactly why your sealer isn’t drying.
How Long Does it Take for Driveway Sealer to Harden?
In ideal conditions, a sealer mixed with a fast-drying additive can be fully dry in under an hour. However, it’s far more common for sealer to take 4–8 hours before it is dry to the touch. In order to fully cure, driveway sealer requires 24–48 hours.
- Some driveway sealers can dry in as little as 30 minutes.
- Average sealers are dry to the touch after 4–8 hours.
- Wait 6 hours before walking on a newly sealed driveway.
- Allow 24–48 hours before driving on newly sealed asphalt.
As general rules of thumb, you should wait at least 6 hours before walking on driveway sealer. The surface should be able to withstand foot traffic at this point. However, you’ll have to wait much longer before you can drive on your newly sealed driveway. Wait 24–48 hours before pulling your car into your driveway.
Why is Your Driveway Sealer Not Drying? [5 Common Reasons]
If the coat of sealer that’s been applied to your driveway isn’t drying, it can be a real nuisance. Your driveway won’t be usable, causing you to look elsewhere for parking. Perhaps worse, the wet sealer may attract dirt and debris. Here are the typical reasons asphalt sealer fails to dry on time:
Your Asphalt is Too New
A layer of sealer should never be applied to a driveway that is less than 60 days old. New asphalt contains oils that prevent sealer from drying properly. If you seal a new driveway, you may be plagued by oily, wet areas for days or weeks. In fact, the entire driveway may fail to dry on time if the asphalt is very new.
Temperatures are too Cold
Most driveway sealers are water-based. This means that they only cure when the water in the sealer evaporates. Cold temperatures or cloudy weather conditions can slow down the curing process of wet sealer. Driveway sealer dries best when the air temperature is at least 50℉ (10℃). If it’s colder than this, or if the temperature drops at night, the water-based sealer may take several days to dry.
Humidity is Slowing Down the Drying Process
Much like cool temperatures, high humidity can drastically slow down the drying process of driveway sealer. Because humid air is saturated with water vapor, the water in the sealer will evaporate much more slowly than it would in dry conditions. Humid areas in the South and the Northeast United States can have significantly slower drying times than dry areas in the Southwest and West Coast.
Sealer Was Applied Too Thickly
Driveway sealer is best applied in two thin coats. This allows each coat to dry quickly, resulting in a quickly sealed driveway. However, a thick coat of driveway sealer can double or triple the drying time. If you, or the company who applied the sealer, applied a thick coat of sealer on the entire driveway, it may add a week or more to the sealer’s cure time.
Low-Quality Sealer Was Used
As with any product, low-quality materials produce inferior results. Cheap driveway sealers may dry improperly or not dry at all. Additionally, some may wash off with rain even if they’ve been applied a week in advance. When purchasing driveway sealer yourself, choose well-reviewed products. If you are hiring a company to seal your driveway, inquire about the products they use. Read reviews on the company’s service, and get guarantees in writing that assure the contractor will repair any poorly-sealed surfaces at no cost to you.
How Can You Get Your Driveway Sealer to Dry Faster?
Unfortunately, if you’ve already applied sealer to your driveway and it isn’t drying, there’s not much that can be done to speed up the drying process. Dry times depend on the weather conditions, the application technique, and the products used. Never apply more sealer over wet sealer—this will only further increase the dry time. However, you can use a pressure washer to remove wet sealer. Once the driveway is dry, you can seal it again.
- There is no way to speed up sealer dry times once it’s already been applied.
- If you wish, you can attempt to wash off bad sealer and apply a new coat.
- In order to prevent long dry times, apply sealer on a warm day with no clouds.
- Mix a fast-drying additive into your sealer to improve drying times.
If you are planning to seal a driveway and want it to dry quickly, choose a warm, sunny day to speed up drying times. Make sure you provide proper time for your driveway sealer to dry before any rain. If you wish to make sure your driveway sealer dries quickly, you can mix it with a quick-drying product.
What Causes Driveway Sealer to Dry Slowly?
One of the leading causes of poorly-drying asphalt sealer is a new asphalt surface. Asphalt less than 60 days old contains oils that prevent sealer from drying properly. Additionally, cooler temperatures and/or high humidity drastically increase dry times for driveway sealer. If the sealer was applied in thick coats, or if a poor-quality sealer was used, the driveway sealer may take far longer to dry.