We put in 5000 square feet of asphalt driveway/parking lot three years
ago. It's starting to fade but still looks good, is in good shape,
and there aren't many cracks or spalling....I gave the driveway and
parking lot a year to stabilize after we built the house before we
paved it. Should I seal it? My wife has been poking me about it
since the spring and a local contractor who seals other driveways in
the neighborhood stopped by last week and told her it would take 90
gallons to seal the whole thing and he would do it for $750. The
Forman of the asphalt crew that initially paved it recommended that
instead of sealing it every year or two just wait 8-10 years and put
another 1" 11/2" top coat of asphalt on it, saying that was more
cost effective. I live in Southern Maryland so it gets cold but not
like up north. Is sealing it going to prolong the life other than the
cosmetics? Or should I take the asphalt Forman's advice? If I seal
it myself do I have to pressure wash it first or just slap it on after
sweeping? Is the price quoted by the contractor a fair one, he says
when he works alone he usually charges $10 a gallon, materials and
$750 for 0.025" of dried asphalt emulsion (what sealer is, basically a
paint job with very cheap paint) over 5000 sq ft.
I'm guessing $3000 for 1" of asphalt/gravel concrete over 5000 sq ft.
Hmmm, $750 for 1/40 inch, or $3000 for 40 times that. Which sounds cost
effective to you?
Very slightly, and not at all cost effectively. It is a very costly (per
unit volume) and thin new coat of the same asphalt as the driveway itself.
For any coating to be useful, it has to have some *complementary property*
with the substrate, like polymer paints (weather resistant but structurally
weak) vs wood (structurally strong but susceptible to weather damage).
Painting a tiny bit of new asphalt on a thick layer of old asphalt is
necessarily of very little benefit other than looks. It is much better to
put that money toward a bulk surface new hot asphalt paving material (at
$40/ton) rather than water emulsion of the same stuff (at $1600/ton).
Personally, I'd seal it every few years. It gives the driveway a nice
finished look, which you won't have if you wait to resurface it, plus
it will help protect the asphalt to some extent.
You don't need to power wash the whole thing, only any areas with oil
spots need to be cleaned. There are cleaners made just for that
purpose. Blow it off with a leaf blower, fix any spots that need
repair with patch. You can figure out how much you can do it for by
pricing the material at the home center.
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