From my experience, and from what I've read, there are two types of driveway
One penetrates; the other tends to sit on top and can get slippery. I'd like
the former and not the latter.
Please fill me in on the details and buzzwords - I'm taking estimates and would
like to avoid the slippery stuff.
Better to understand them in terms of the technology than the purported
effects. And then demand specifics about how much material is going to
be applied. Don't let them wave hands about how good something is.
Your technical choices are between (1) asphalt-tar-in-water emulsion
with clay and sand fillers, (2) hot tar with no water, and (3) other
non-asphaltic stuff (acrylic or rubber) in a water emulsion and possibly
They're all more or less paint. Nothing is going to "penetrate" and
renew the dried-out asphaltic concrete. The only way it could be
"slippery" is if you put so much on that you have a thick enough coating
to produce a flat surface.
Best performance and economy is hot tar, but this requires the most
equipment and other fixed overhead. Applying emulsions is basically
nothing more than painting.
All of the coatings are woefully uneconomical in getting material in
place for dollars. You are better off saving your money for repaving
with new thick asphalt at $$/ton than applying a paper-thin coating of
the same asphaltic substances at $$$$/ton. The illusion of value comes
from the cosmetics of having a fresh coat of cheap paint, at least for a
few days or weeks. Some people just want to believe a mere paint job
will extend the life more than trivially.
Where Richard Kinch lives, what he says is more or less true as far as sealing
being worthwhile to increase the longivity of asphalt. He lives in Florida,
where they don't get many deep freezes. In New England, however, seal coating
dramatically lengthens the life of asphalt pavement. And you know what else? A
smooth dark black driveway makes your whole house worth more money, and makes it
easier to sell.
His arguments about the cost of the material vs. repaving is just plain
I live in New England and don't seal mine and it looks better than some
newer crappy jobs in the area. Cracks should be filled if they occur. The
rest is cosmetic. Re-coat the week before you list the house for sale.
Otherwise, it is a waste.
As a kind of "life support" for a driveway near death, you get some extra
time. That money is better spent on fresh pavement.
Cosmetics have some value. By all means, put on a fresh coat of paint on
your driveway, as on looks alone it may more than pay for itself in
perceived value in the eyes of a buying prospect. But in terms of genuine
useful life, not in my estimate.
Nonsense. The driveway should be sealcoated the forst time when it is about 2 or
three years old. That's when it starts to really dry out.
Your "estimate" is way off. That much is crystal clear. As I said, you are not
intelligent enough to figure that diferent climates may present different
My driveway, which has been maintained properly and a neigbor's which was put in
by the same contractor during the same time as mine look VERY different after 10
years. MIne still looks pretty much as it did when new, and the neigbor, who
didn't believe in sealcoating, is now looking at bids for a cap. DUH!
Yeah, I'm really sorry that I wasted almost $500 over 10 years on driveway
maintenance. My neighbor is looking at a bill of somewhere between $3500 and
$4000 to even us up. Smart!
I am 49 years old:( When I was a little kid my next door neighbr put in
a asphalt driveway. He still lives there although we moved over 30
he sealed his driveway filled cracks and put in lots of effort, guess
what his near 50 year old asphalt driveway stioll looks good.
admittely he isnt maintaing it like he used to, tom meehan must be
about 80 today.
I seal my over 20 year old asphalt driveway every few years, it cracks
a little but still looks good.
I used to use the coal tar emulsions but use the latex based filler
asphalt lasting 50 years, geez thats almost forever..........
If you're happy, I'm happy. Mine is 28 years old, was seal coated once about
24 years ago. Looks like it will last another 28 years. Maybe your job was
not so good if it needs coating to maintain itself. If, unlike your
neighbor's driveway, you really made a difference, it was worth the effort,
but if the job was a good one to start with, you'd be $500 and a lot of
There is nothing wrong with the quality of my driveway. I had the old one torn
out, and a lot of drainage work done. This driveway doesn't know what a puddle
is, because it doesn't have any. I recoat it about every 6 or 7 years. It takes
about 2 hours. BFD
So you're saying adding a paper-thin layer of asphalt onto an inches-thick
slab of the same asphalt will keep it from "drying out"? That for the
first year or two it is not "drying out"?
I can only perform an engineering analysis of the problem. I am not
intelligent enough to believe in your hunches.
Almost all asphalt pavement is on public roadways, maintained by engineers
who know better than to waste money coating it. Asphalt coatings are sold
to suckers who own private driveways and parking lots. The only cost-
effective exception I know of is retailers who want to paint over their
parking lots to get rid of ugly oil stain patterns from parked cars and
improve the looks of the place. Or anyone else that values the looks.
Durability is not part of the value.
Regarding true penetration of the sealer, I agree. However, a painted
vs. an unpainted surface of any kind is generally protected more than
trivially. The purpose of sealcoating in a colder climate, or where
there are seasonal shifts, is to prevent penetration of water into
small cracks where a freeze/thaw cycle causes cracks to expand. If you
can fill those cracks in with sealcoat (a good coat of "paint"), they
won't fill in with water. Sealcoating doesn't "renew" the asphalt in
the sense that it replaces lost oils. The renewal is surface and
cosmetic in nature. It does, however, protect the asphalt. After all,
a good coat of high-solids paint protects the wood on a house. It
doesn't "renew" the wood in any technical way. Its renewal is also
surface and cosmetic.
Here in the Chicago area, roads are constantly being repaved because of
frost heave. This is because water has a fairly unique property among
liquids. Due to the polarity of water molecules, when ice crystals
form, water actually slightly expands and is at its least dense right
about the freezing point. This means that any water which gets into
cracks as a liquid, then freezes is going to push apart the sides of
the cracks, opening them up more. Run through a freeze/thaw cycle a
few times, and you have an ever-expanding crack. As a little
experiment to demonstrate this, you can put a paper cup filled with
water to the brim in the freezer, and come back the next day when it
has frozen. The ice will probably be pushed out over the top, and the
paper cup may actually be torn.
road departments dont usually seal asphalt because at highway speeds
sealer makes things slippery.
at driveway speeds this is a non issue.
I asked a penn dot engineer once out of curosity.
makes perfect sense
We had a "professional" seal coat our driveway. It is rather steep. One
day shortly after the job I wanted to take my wife to lunch. It had
started to drizzle and the driveway was slippery. She fell and we went
to the emergency room for X Rays rather than to lunch.
That made me distrust "professionals."
I discovered that local hardware stores sell two versions in five gallon
buckets: one with "sand" to enhance friction and one "plain." After the
drive to the hospital I bought the "sand" version.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.