Sealing a driveway helps maintain and protect it from the outside elements, oil spills, and vehicle and foot traffic.
A beautifully sealed driveway should not be slippery and pose fall hazards.
A sealed driveway can become slippery. If it has just been sealed, it will be slippery during the drying process. Driveway sealing can also be slippery if an incorrect mixture of sand and water was used, the mixture was poorly stirred, the driveway has a steep incline or degradation, or if the surface has oil spills or is iced.
7 Reasons Why Driveway Sealing Is Slippery
Let’s take a closer look at why driveways can be slippery and what you can do about it.
1. Sealing Application
A sealant on a driveway will be slippery until it has cured.
Generally, you should wait 48 to 72 hours before using the driveway. If you do not, then you risk falling or slipping on the surface, as well as damaging the sealant.
2. Incorrect Sealant Mixture
If the surface is slippery after the recommended time has passed for curing, then the mixture was not created correctly.
This opens the potential for fall hazards, reduced traction when braking a vehicle, lawsuits due to injury, and reduced longevity of the driveway.
A proper driveway sealant should have silica sand mixed into it, along with the correct water content.
This helps the dried surface to do the following:
- Improve traction
- Prevent slips and skids
- Reduce glare
- Hide driveway imperfections
- Maintain the integrity of the sealant
If too much water is used, it will not hold enough of the sand, making it too thin of a layer. Conversely, if there is not enough sand, then the surface does not offer enough traction.
Sealants should be mixed and applied according to the product’s instructions to avoid slips when there is moisture, such as morning dew, on the surface.
3. Lack Of Stirring
Driveways sealers must be stirred frequently to maintain a consistent ratio of non-friction additives within the mixture. This ensures that there is an even distribution on your driveway and therefore no weaker spots for the potential of slipping.
Professionals will have the equipment to do this as they apply a sealer to your driveway.
Conversely, if you do it yourself, refer to the product’s instructional label for how often it should be stirred as you apply. You may need someone to help you stir constantly, as you do this.
You may also need more than one coat to ensure that there is enough traction throughout the area.
4. Steep Incline
Even with a proper mixture of water and traction additives, a sealed driveway can be slippery on steep inclines.
To counteract this risk, a professional contractor will broadcast additional sand over the freshly applied sealant. By putting it directly on top of the sticky applied sealant, greater traction is created for that spot.
5. Type Of Sealant Used
Different types of sealcoats are used depending on the type of driveway you have. Each of them is formulated for use on different materials such as a top sealcoat on an asphalt driveway or a penetrating concrete sealant.
Pavers or cobblestone driveways are sealed with either a film-forming gloss or semi-gloss or non-film-forming matte finish.
Film-forming ones create a physical barrier, whereas non-film ones penetrate to fill pores in the material. These are formulated to be non-slip but check with the professional or product label to ensure that it is.
An acrylic sealant often used on concrete can be slippery, thus requiring an additive. Again, it is best to check the informational label to see if the purchased product contains a friction additive, or else you will need to add one yourself.
A concrete driveway may also have a “broom finish” where a broom is lightly brushed across the surface while it is still wet to make a textured surface. However, concrete without a sealant is porous and prone to water damage over time.
Resin-bound gravel is another option for surfaces, which is a mixture of resin and stone aggregates to make a rougher surface for traction. This is also known as “stone carpet”.
However, the surface is smoothed in its application, and therefore should still be applied with a roughed surface or broadcasted sand on top.
6. Wear And Tear
It is possible that as the sealant wears away over time, the underlying surface can become slippery. Erosion of the sealant takes away the friction additives, thus leaving a slipperier surface.
Reapplying sealant every three to five years is generally done when you see physical wear on film-forming surfaces or discoloration for non-film-forming ones.
Resealing also helps to maintain the durability of the surface, protecting it from the elements and traffic.
7. Spills And Precipitation
Regardless of sealant, oil spills can make a driveway slippery.
Additionally, ice can create a fall hazard on driveways that do not drain well or in inclement weather.
It is important to clean up oil spills immediately and throw down salt or sand to retain traction in the winter months.
Keep in mind that salt, in particular, can wear down the sealant on a driveway surface, possibly requiring more frequent re-coats.
If a surface is slippery in the rain, this is likely an issue with the sealant application and the lack or reduction of a friction additive.
Preventing a Slippery Driveway
To make sure you, your family members, and guests do not slip in your driveway you should do the following:
- Ensure that the sealant is mixed and applied with non-slip additives in a consistent layer
- Add a broadcast application of sand on top of sealant on steep inclines for added protection
- Clean up oil spills immediately
- Salt or sand icy surfaces
Benefits of Sealing a Driveway
When a driveway is sealed and maintained properly, there is no reason to worry about it causing fall hazards.
Sealing a driveway offers many benefits, such as the following:
- Prevents absorption of stain-causing materials
- Inhibits mold, mildew, or algae growth
- Slows down the oxidation of driveway materials, to help retain color and prevent cracking
- Easier to sweep or wash clean
- Prevents the absorption of water to inhibit water-damage
- Revives the driveway for an eye-pleasing look
Slippery driveways are dangerous.
Any sealants on the upper surface should be applied consistently, stirred frequently, and mixed with a sandy additive that makes them non-slippery.
Other factors such as wear and tear, precipitation, oil spills, and inclines can make a sealed driveway slippery.
Maintaining your driveway with the right resealing is important for longevity and safety.