Humans, in general, favor things that are new. Babies, new cars, flowers in the spring, new homes, etc., are all things most people love. It stands to reason, then, that an old, tired-looking asphalt driveway is not something you like. Thankfully, you do have a few options for turning back the clock and the effects of wind and weather on your driveway.
Sealcoat is a clay and oil emulsion. It is thick, black, and almost looks like tar, minus the gritty, rockiness of the bitumen. It is evenly spread by an asphalt contractor all over the length and width of your driveway. Once the sealcoating dries, your driveway looks brand-spanking-new. Of course, if you have some big cracks or chunks missing from the asphalt, you are going to want to complete some asphalt repairs first.
Patching, Filling, and Then Sealcoating
Chunks of missing asphalt and large cracks in your driveway are not ideal for sealcoating alone. Your asphalt contractor will need to fill and repair these damages first. Fresh asphalt can fill the potholes, while crack filler can fill in the cracks. Then the sealcoating can go over the top. If your driveway is in extremely bad shape, you may need a total overhaul on the asphalt first.
A Completely New Asphalt Driveway
When there is just no way that sealcoating alone or sealcoating with asphalt patching and repair is going to better your driveway, you are going to have to have the asphalt contractor rip up the whole driveway. Then he/she can lay down new concrete for stability and cover it with fresh asphalt. Sometimes sealcoating may be applied later to make the driveway appear really black, even and flat. Sometimes the new driveway does not need the sealcoating. It just depends on the contractor.
Talk to a Contractor to See What He/She Recommends
Talk to a contractor (or, preferably, several) to see what he/she recommends for your driveway. Sealcoating is meant to "refresh" the look of your driveway, but a lot of obvious wear and tear is not going to be covered by this application. Most asphalt contractors can tell you exactly what your driveway needs for a "facelift." You should talk to more than one contractor to see if there is a general consensus, and to get more than one quote for this job. Additional sealcoat applications six to twelve months after the professionals have done it can be completed by you.