Driveway sealer needs to be allowed 4–8 hours to dry before rain. Longer cure times are better, as it takes upwards of 24 hours for driveway sealer to completely cure, but under good conditions, 4 hours of curing time will be enough for your new sealant to resist rain damage. Here are some other important things to keep in mind when sealing a driveway:
- Do not apply driveway sealer to a wet driveway.
- Driveway sealer needs 4–8 hours to dry before it can be exposed to rain.
- Turn off any sprinkler systems that may spray water on your newly sealed driveway. Keep them off until your driveway has cured enough to resist water damage (4–8 hours).
- Allow at least 6 hours before walking on a sealed driveway. Make sure the driveway appears dry before walking on it.
- Allow 24–48 hours before driving on a sealed driveway.
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Will Rain Ruin a Freshly Sealed Driveway?
Rain and other precipitation will ruin the hard work you put into sealing your driveway. Rain will wash away driveway sealer, resulting in an uneven or nonexistent coat of sealant. Always check your local forecast before sealing your driveway. Sealant must cure for 4–8 hours before it can resist rain.
Upcoming rainfall isn’t the only danger to driveway sealant. Residual water left from rainfall the previous night will also ruin your sealing job. In addition, irrigation and sprinklers can cast water onto your driveway. Make sure all irrigation systems are turned off. Although it’s safest to keep sprinklers off for 24 hours, there should be very little risk of damage if you turn them back on once your driveway sealer has been allowed to cure for 4–8 hours.
What to Do if it Rains After Sealing Your Driveway
Don’t worry about rain damage until you see the effects of the rainfall. Wait for the rain to pass and allow the driveway to dry completely. Then, survey your driveway.
If your driveway has a “patchy” appearance (dull spots interspersed with glossier areas) then the rain washed away some of your sealer. In this case, there’s nothing to do but to reseal those dull portions when weather permits. If the rain damage is widespread enough, you may have to reseal the entire driveway.
What About Rain 12 Hours After Sealing Driveway?
In the vast majority of cases, driveway sealant will be impervious to rain 12 hours after application. As long as you’ve applied your sealer in good conditions, your sealer will have cured enough to resist rain after 12 hours. Below are the optimal conditions for sealing your driveway:
- Make sure the driveway is dry before sealing.
- Temperature must be above 50℉ (10℃) and rising to promote adequate drying. Low temperatures slow sealant drying times or prevent it from drying altogether.
- When sealing asphalt, allow 30–60 days after new asphalt has been poured before sealing. Otherwise, oils in the asphalt can prevent sealant from curing properly.
Can You Seal a Driveway Before Snow?
It is not advisable to seal a driveway when snow is in the forecast. Driveway sealant cures best when air temperatures are above 50℉ (10℃) and rising. The freezing temperatures associated with snow can slow or halt sealant drying. Sealant can even freeze solid in snowy conditions. It will then wash away during a thaw.
Snowfall may also melt on contact with paved surfaces, making snow just as destructive to uncured sealant as rainfall. In snowy regions, plan to seal your driveway in summer. Sealant cures fastest on dry, sunny days with temperatures above 80℉ (26℃).
Does a Driveway Need to be Dry Before Sealing?
Your driveway should be completely dry before you begin the sealing process. Wet surfaces can create streaky or patchy sealant, as well as extend drying times.
Although it is advisable to clean your driveway before sealing (soap, water, and a scrubber or broom make a great cleaning combo) allow drying time between cleaning and applying sealer. It’s perfectly acceptable to seal your driveway 24–48 hours after a soap and water cleaning. Similarly, allow any rainfall to dry before you begin sealing your driveway.
How Long Does it Take for Driveway Sealer to Dry Before Rain?
Driveway sealer typically dries enough to resist rain within 4–8 hours after application. To ensure the fastest drying time and best rain resistance, apply driveway sealant in the following conditions:
- The temperature must be above 50℉ to apply sealant. The hotter the day, the faster your sealant will dry.
- Your driveway must be dry before sealing.
- Choose a sunny day with low humidity to promote faster drying. Monitor the weather forecast closely. If there’s a high chance of rain within 8 hours of sealing your driveway, it may be best to choose another day.