Wait at least 24 hours before driving on a driveway that has been freshly sealed. In ideal weather conditions, with high heat, low humidity, and direct sunlight, driveway sealcoating is safe for vehicle traffic in 24–48 hours. If temperatures are below 70℉ (21℃), if there is high humidity, or if the weather is cloudy, allow 72 hours for your driveway sealcoat to cure before driving on it.
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What Happens if You Drive on Sealcoating Too Soon?
It’s important to keep in mind that sealcoating that looks or feels dry may not be ready for you to drive on it. Sealcoating dries from the top-down, essentially forming a hard “crust” over a gooey lower layer. If you drive on your sealcoating too soon, your tires will break through the dry crust and leave ruts, grooves, and tire marks in the soft sealcoat below.
- Sealcoating dries from the top down—asphalt sealer that appears dry may still have a wet layer below the surface.
- If you drive on partially dried sealcoating, you will break through the dried top layer and leave ruts across your entire driveway.
- Driving on a partially dried sealcoat can ruin its appearance and functionality.
Because asphalt sealer cures gradually, it can handle progressively heavier loads as it dries. It is typically safe to walk on sealcoat 6 hours after application. However, sealed asphalt requires 24–48 hours of dry time at minimum before you can drive on it.
What Conditions Make Sealcoating Dry Fastest?
Low humidity, moderate heat, and sunlight speed up sealcoat curing. For best results, apply sealcoat when temperatures are 70–90℉ (21–32℃), humidity is below 70%, and the weather is sunny. This leads to the fastest dry time. If possible, apply a sealer to your asphalt driveway when conditions meet these criteria. It will be ready for vehicle traffic in 24–48 hours.
Conditions For Fast Asphalt Drying
- Temperature 70–90℉
- Humidity under 70%
- Sunny weather
- Asphalt will be safe to drive on in 24–48 hours
Conditions For Slow Asphalt Drying
- Temperature below 70℉
- Humidity over 70%
- Cloudy weather
- Asphalt will be safe to drive on in 72 hours
Do Not Seal Your Driveway in the Following Conditions:
- Temperature below 50℉
- Temperature above 90℉
- Rain or other precipitation in the weather forecast
Temperatures below 70℉ (21℃), humidity above 70%, and cloudy weather slow the cure time of asphalt sealer, sometimes causing it to take 72 hours before it is safe to drive on. Do not apply driveway sealer when temperatures are below 50℉ (10℃), temperatures are above 90℉ (32℃), or if there is rain in the forecast. These conditions can ruin your sealcoat before it dries.
Do Driveway Sealers Need Two Coats?
Many driveway sealing products recommend that you apply 2 coats with at least 8 hours in between coats. This 8 hours is required for the first coat to cure enough for you to walk on it and apply the second coat. It’s essential that you wait the required length of time before applying a second coat. This could be one of several reasons why your sealer isn’t drying.
- Most driveway sealers are applied in two coats.
- Let your first coat of sealer dry for at least 8 hours before applying the second coat.
- Wait 24–48 hours after the second coat before driving on sealer.
When determining if it is safe to drive on recently sealed asphalt surfaces, wait 24–48 hours after applying the second coat before using your asphalt driveway. It’s better to wait longer and be certain your sealer has time to complete the curing process, rather than drive on it too soon and ruin your hard work.
How Long Should Driveway Sealer Dry Before Driving On It?
In order to make sure you do not damage your driveway sealant by driving on it too soon, follow these simple rules:
- If conditions are warm, sunny, and dry, wait 24–48 hours before driving on new sealcoat.
- If conditions are cool, cloudy, and/or humid, wait 72 hours before you drive on your new sealcoat.
Keep in mind, there’s no harm in waiting longer. Asphalt sealer cures completely over several days. If it is practical, do not drive on your recently sealed driveway for a full 72 hours, just to be on the safe side.