I'm sure this has been debated before......
I have an aging asphalt (black top) driveway and I am thinking of coating it
with driveway sealer (whether by myself or hire someone to do it).
Does this really do anything for the driveway other than make it look
cosmetically more appealing and perhaps fill in any small/minor cracks? It
would seem that this would only be more cosmetic than anything else. The
need would arise maybe 2-3 years down the road to do it again, or have the
The brands/types I've seen appear to all be basically the same, lasting
anywhere from 2 to 5 years. Some have a sand mix supposedly helping the
dried surface be a bit more coarse an making the surface not as slipper on
rain/snow for tracktion. And why are they all called 'airport grade'?
I suspect it depends on the climate where you live and the type of undersurface.
If the temps drop below freezing, then recoating the drive will keep water from
getting in the cracks and freezing, thus extending the life of the driveway
If you live in a warm climate, or the asphalt is laid over a porous surface,
then it probably won't do much. Most of the cracks I've seen appear to be due to
settling or movement of the undersurface. Sealing won't do anything about
FIRM BELIEVER in driveway sealer here!
Based on this sample.
The home next to where I grew up has a asphalt driveway. I am 49( and
recently spoke to Tom Meehan who lived there when I was growing up, and
is still there today. He reports that driveway is nearly as old as I
am about 47 years since it was installed I would of been 2, so never
remember the house without it.
anyhow he sealed it every couple years when I was a child, filling
cracks and topcoating. today he is a old man and still has someone seal
it every few years.
That driveway and me are near the same age, and its weatered better
than I have:(
So when I got a asphalt driveway back about 1985 or so I started
sealing it, about 20 years later its still really good.
true all driveways crack, but if you seal the rain cant get into the
cracks and such to break it up when it freezes. In sunny never freeze
areas the sealer provides some UV protection.
of course it wouldnt last if they didnt put in a good crushed rock
base. a contractor came thru here about 4 years ago paved over dirt.
those neighbors have grass and bushes coming thru the asphalt. I warned
one neighbor not to get the cheap pavement he thought I was nuts. Today
his 4 year old driveway is rutted and falling apart, he mows one area
where the asphalt must of been way too thin.
If you have a driveway like his dont waste the money on sealer save up
for a new driveway...
I use the type with sand and prefer the latex based available today,
for easier clean up. i dont like slippery surfaces.
No doubt someone will post my driveway is 100 years old in brand new
condition and was never sealed....
more power to you but I really believe in sealing....
incidently I always spif up the yard right before sealing, with that
super black driveway the house nearly smiles:)
but then I enjoy a job well done!
Well you could always just let it go and if you are in a climate that has
freeze and thaw periods you can see if water seeps under and disturbs your
asphalt during these F&T periods. If it does you will know better next time
around that it is not just cosmetic.
My 400' driveway was put in (21 years ago in New England) with 12"
processed gravel and a fabric to keep the clay from not coming back up
and mixing with the gravel and I never sealed the driveway.It looks
horrible with cracks and the center being higher than where the wheels
go. There is an underground stream that has helped mess up the driveway
as well. When I put it in I knew to let it settle for a year before
paving but didnt. I would not do it differently. but instead will have
a new layer put on top some day.If I had a small driveway and wanted it
to last as long as possible in a northern state and my time was cheap I
would seal it.
IMO, it is a waste aside from appearance. Cracks should be filled, but
other than that, I do nothing. My drive is 28 years old and I sealed it
about 20 years ago, never did it again. It is in better shape than others
that have been sealed on a regular basis. The difference was in the
original paving. Mine was a better job than the houses another builder put
up. I got lucky as I had nothing to do with it.
Of course that's all true.
As to periodic sealing, though, recall highway departments have the constraint
of needing to accomodate traffic nearly constantly whatever they do (aside from
a totally new road). So what they do or do not do may be quite different from
what a homeowner does or does not do with his driveway.
Traffic interruption is not a factor. They just know that benefits are
minimal to non-existent, and costs are significant.
Commercial parking lots are coated to keep them pretty, not make them last
longer. All those oil stains don't impress the customers well.
Yes, and the intelligent conclusion is that even if the coatings worked,
they are horrifically expensive per pound of material applied, compared to
new bulk asphalt. You're much better off saving your money and applying it
to new asphalt when that day comes. So-called "sealers" are an expensive
way to paint a few thousandths of an inch of asphalt on top of inches of
Now if you really, really like the look of a fresh paint job, then maybe it
is worth the money and/or back-breaking effort on that basis, but the
alleged durability claims would be a false economy, even if they weren't
Take a look at what bulk asphalt typically costs your paving contractor:
Now compare that to what retailed sealers cost, which are mostly water and
clay and sand, and relatively little actual asphaltum.
OK, you have a materials comparison. Now, try hard - can you think of any
other factors? Like pavers and other heavy equipment being brought to the
scene? Compared to what a lot of homeowners are willing to do at the cost of an
old pair of sneakers and enduring some heavy, smelly work?
You seem to be on a campaign about this thing...
A homeowner with a bucket and broom is going to cost many times more
than a paving crew, per pound of material applied. More evidence
against the economy of "sealers".
When I last had my driveway re-paved with hot mix, it cost me $60/ton.
That's 3 cents per pound, delivered, applied, and finished. Spending
your weekend breaking your back to buy, schlep, mix, pour, and spread a
few buckets of "sealer" is thus worth less than $10 on a unit weight
basis. That doesn't pay for the first retail bucket, much less your
aching back. The homeowner and his muscles are no match for dump trucks
and screeds. Don't waste your money on sealers.
I've been through it all, including dutifully putting on "sealer" in my
younger homeowning days, because good advice was impossible to find.
Now that we have the Internet, facts are readily available, and anyone
can learn from this engineer's experience and analysis.
Kinch also leaves his house unpainted. It's more economical for him to wait
until the siding rots and then replace it.
He's a well known usenet kook. He has what is known as "Usenet Contrarian
Tourettes Syndrome". No matter what the subject, he is COMPELLED to take a
viewpoint that is opposite to everyone else and shout it loudly while flailing
his arms and telling the rest of the world how stupid they are to disagree with
him. Everything is a scam, a consiracy or a ripoff to Kinch. Everything.
BTW - On this particular subject of driveway sealers, Kinch thinks that everyone
lives in Florida as he does.
Terry & Skipper, Clearlake Texas
Good to know. I was a bit of a loss to explain the obvious to him, so I kinda
gave up. (Gee, I installed new door hardware - being not someone who does this
ever' day, I screwed up the first one, had to pull it out and re-install it,
took more time and a little agita. My use of time was more than if I called my
GC for a silly coupla door knobs, so it's not cost-effective huh? Yes, one
should count one's own labor in driveway sealing if you do it that way, but to
one's own value on time, not to what a paving machine brought on site can do!
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.