If you're having to patch your asphalt driveway because of damage, one of the things that the contractors may suggest is that you cover the whole surface with a sealant or other protective coating to help reduce the risk of recurring issues. Here are a few of the options you can consider for covering your driveway once the patchwork is finished.
If your driveway doesn't see a whole lot of traffic, you might want to think about chip sealing. It starts with a thin layer of asphalt, whether it's a standard asphalt product or an emulsion. Then, you scatter a rough-cut, heavy aggregate material over the surface. In most situations, gravel or something similar to this is used. For safety, you can choose ground recycled rubber from disposed car tires. That way, if anything breaks loose from the surface over time, you're not risking damage to your vehicles.
If you have widespread cracking and damage on the surface of your driveway, this may be ideal. It creates a whole new surface because of the thick layer of asphalt applied in the first step, so you'll get a fresh new look to your driveway.
With sand sealing, the contractors will apply a layer of an asphalt emulsion product on the surface of the driveway. While the emulsion is still wet, a layer of fine, clean sand granules is scattered evenly across the surface. A pneumatic roller or something similar will press the sand gently into the surface of the emulsion, and then the whole thing is left to set.
The coating will fill any small surface cracks, restoring a smooth, clean finish on your driveway. Just keep in mind that you'll have to fill any large cracks before doing this, because it isn't a sufficient repair tool for anything more than just surface cracking.
In addition, the added sand provides some texture and traction on your driveway. If your driveway has a significant slope, this might be particularly beneficial. Another benefit to sand sealing is that it creates a thick surface layer. This may help you extend the life of your driveway as compared to thinner sealants and coatings.
Fog uses a similar asphalt emulsion to the sand texture, only it's diluted more than it would be for a sand covering. Then, it's applied in thin layers over the surface. Since there's no texture element to the fog coating, it's best used on surfaces that are already coarse and textured, because the emulsion can settle and preserve the texture, preventing the creation of a slippery surface.
Fog coating is great for waterproofing because of how thinly and evenly it spreads. It seals the entire surface easily. Just keep in mind that the thin application also means that it will likely need to be reapplied on a regular basis. Plan for annual treatments just to be safe.
Before you settle on any asphalt finish for your driveway, talk with asphalt patching services about the best choice for your driveway's finish.