We moved into our refurbished (FHA rehab loan) 1979 home back in
March. I had been planning on just applying a couple of those
"squeegee" sealcoats onto the old asphalt drive, but the huge and very
heavy dumpster that they had resting there during the rehab process
caused a bit of damage on the way out.
I tried patching one of the holes with pothole filler, with mixed
results. (looks ok, but we were tracking in black crap on our shoes for
I really just wanted to call a local blacktop place and have them
take care of it for about $500. (it is a roughly 180 square foot area -
not too big) It would have been taken care of quickly. Guess what?
Not an option. The city where we've moved has issued an order where
homeowners have 2 options:
1) put in concrete that meets a long list of requirements (cost: about $3k)
2) homeowner must do the repair 100% on their own.
The latter would allow me to do less expensive options, however,
nothing is going to look like new. There are pitted areas that need
filled in, since this is at least 20 years old, and has been let go.
I've cleaned all the dirt and debris out, and killed any plants with
herbicide. I am rather miffed that I can't just have somebody come in
and repair it.
What I'm considering now is called "whitetopping" - basically
covering the pitted blacktop up with a fiber reinforced concrete layer,
about 2" thick. I've seen the 40# quickrete bags specifically for this
selling for about $10 each locally. It would probably cost about $220
total, and I'm guessing that it would need a lot less maintenance than
an asphalt surface. Plus, my wife and I don't really care for a dark
black - we are used to the grey of limestone out in a driveway. The
dark black is just too hot for barefooting in the summer.
I was wondering - anyone out there have experience with whitetopping?
I'm wondering how well it holds up.
The CITY, not an HOA, issued that order? The restriction isn't called
out on the deed for the property? I'd be inclined to spend the 3k on a
lawyer, just on principle. What possible legitimate public interest is
served by the city banning professionally installed asphalt drives? Are
all the streets concrete around there? I do not think it would survive a
properly-done challenge. Sounds like somebody on city council has a
brother-in-law that owns a concrete company.
But having ranted that- I'd be highly dubious of a 2-inch layer of
glorified sakcrete over an asphalt substrate holding up very well. In
concrete, substrate is everything. Asphalt and concrete expand and
contract at different rates with temp swings, and asphalt drives flex
with ground moisture and frost conditions. Not to mention, concrete
wants to be one continuous pour, unless you are going to put in LOTS of
expansion joints. That thin overlay concept my work for a spalled front
sidewalk or back patio, but cars are HEAVY.
It's hard to understand the reasoning behind such a regulation. I really
hope the OP finds out the "official reason" for the restrictions. It seems
conflicting on many levels as in "we want to make sure it's done properly,
but it's OK for the homeowner to do a piss-poor job." Sounds odd.
My neighbors did it, and I didn't think to take any pictures of them when it
started to fail. I believe the guys who finally fixed it said "Asphalt over
concrete, yes, the other way around, no." When you think about it, highways
are always done in that order. When the concrete gets bad enough, they
cover it over with blacktop. They resurface by scraping the asphalt up and
applying a new coat to keep the road at the same height (for manhole covers,
storm drains, etc. I only see it done differently on bridges.
There are SO many steps you can take before wasting 3K on an attorney. I've
worked for enough of them to know that they'll rarely refuse the money even
if they know they aren't likely to help you or makes things worse. Here in
MD we have some very aggressive government workers who will make your life
hell if you get into their rice bowls. It's not fun to be at the top of
every inspector's shit list in the county, and that's what happens if you
rock the boat too hard. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I'd
probably start by doing recon: going down to wherever the edict was issued
for a visit to see if you can find anyone who fought the process before you
to see how it worked out for them.
I was all set to take my medical insurer to arbitration over some arbitrary
formulary change, and as soon as I called and asked how I we set up an
arbitration session, they faxed me a denial, followed the next day by a US
snail mailed approval (with a copy to my doctor, too). Sometimes you just
have to squeak a little to get some grease.
My local city has a long laundry list of driveway requirements. I happened
to have "grandfathered" pea stone down and it's a bitch when the make me
replenish it because it's much harder to walk on when it's not anchored by
the dirt. Plus, it migrates like an SOB, gets into the lawnmower and is a
bitch to shovel snow off of.
I've been waiting to pave it until they finish relining the sewer pipes.
which caused some massive digouts. Apparently when terra cotta drains
crack, tree roots head straight for the moisture, especially during long
droughts. Almost every sewer near a large tree had to be dug up and cleared
of tree roots. Fortunately, it was mostly people uphill from me that were
clogged. By my now-deceased giant red maple roots. (-:
It would at least be worthwhile inquiring the reason for the rule. They'll
likely at least have a cover story if there is a BIL getting a "sweetheart"
deal. Do your homework before going into a battle like that. They have
ways to make your life stink because they're the gubbmint and they are there
to help you.
Agree. Substrate IS *almost* everything in concrete. Neighbors DIY
driveway job was not well prepared and parts of it heaved severely this past
winter with all the freezing. With the added thin coat, it's just more
demolition work to do. There's never time to do it right, but always time
to do it over. I would not whitetop, based on the little of it I have seen
unless you were flipping the house and wanted it to look perty until the
sale went through.
In addition to good substrate, the now totally spalled front DIY front porch
resurfacing the previous owners of my house did shows the importance of
using the right mix the right way (they sure didn't!) They used way too
much sand with predictable results. Same for their DIY brick porch mortar
job, which has finally gotten to the point that re-pointing won't do.
Gonna demolish and enclose it and use the reclaimed bricks to repair the
side porch brickwork, where the faces of the brick are shearing off due to
settling. I told my wife we've just been waiting to see how long a bad
mortar job will last (truth is I'm lazy).
The forecast from all the recent hot weather is a bumper crop of mosquitoes
so it's time for an enclosure. A totally screened in front porch will also
provide a bit of an "air lock" at the front door - I've seen more than one
bug get sucked into the house as the door opens and with West Nile virus
propagating throughout the area, it's gonna to be nice to be able to sit out
front without a bug zapper running, a collection of citronella candles
burning and my arms slathered in insect repellent. I will be "supervising"
the local teenagers, some of who are actually pretty handy because I live in
a true working class neighborhood and I'm proud of it!) but pull the permits
myself. The teens unfortunately don't take much pride in a job well done -
yet. That's what crotchety old dudes are for.
Can't decide exactly how to construct it - there are a lot of choices when
it comes to screen in porches, but that's something for a different thread.
>It's hard to understand the reasoning behind such a regulation. I
>really hope the OP finds out the "official reason" for the
Until fairly recently, this area was a township, and had few
regulations. However, 12 years ago, people voted to incorporate as a
city under the name of the tiny town located in this township - mostly
to keep neighboring cities from continuing to "gobble up" the area.
Since then, the new city has been imposing lots of restrictions and
One of these is that, while you CAN reseal an existing blacktop
driveway, you can not have it professionally repaired. New construction
only allows concrete drives with a long list of restrictions. (base must
be certain thickness, concrete must be 8" or more thick, cement must be
certain type, etc.)
When I looked up the resolution online, the reasoning was that
asphalt driveways decrease property value, in part due to the constant
I actually contacted several asphalt companies about doing the work
anyway, and when they found out where I lived, they said they couldn't
do it. Obviously, the city has been proactive in telling them what not
Please post a link for the resolution.
I find it hard to believe, concrete must be 8" thick for residential. Being
an Ohioan myself, and having been in construction for umpteen years, the
most I've seen is 4" for main drive with a 6" approach with a 2" compacted
After doing the patch, put sand on top of it so the stuff doesn't stick
to your shoes. Sprinkle more sand on as needed until patch is cured.
Does it get below freezing or snow/sleet there? If so I'd leave it
black. Amazing how well a black driveway melts the snow faster than a
concrete one. If I did have a concrete driveway, I'd stain it a medium
color between white and black. I hate looking at concrete. I had a
little concrete here. Wet it down and sprinkled steel fillings from a
machine shop, then kept misting it for a few days. I like the rust
colored concrete much better.
I like a concrete driveway much better than asphalt because it tolerates
actually working on vehicles much better (easier to roll a creeper
around, and jacks/stands don't sink into it) but I like your idea
because asphalt does melt snow much better.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
2 5-gallon pails of driveway sealer and a squegee will cost you less
than $50.00 Use some of the sealer mixed with some sand for a
patching material, let it dry for a couple of days, put a fan blowing
on it if you are in a hurry, and then just seal the whole thing.
You're making too big a deal over something so simple I would have it
done in less than an hour.
The reason for the municipal law may very well be that they had too
many of the black paint sealer gypsies going thru the town defrauding
older folks who didn't know what was going on.
That is still a rather weak justification for preventing local licensed
and bonded paving contractors from doing residential work. I wonder if
OP's 'town' is one of those bedroom communities without a real
commercial segment? In this small town in flyover country (metro area
of maybe 50k last time I looked), the local asphalt paving companies
would be filling the front row at the next city council meeting, with
their lawyers filling the row behind them. 'Unlawful restraint of trade'
is the expression, I think. Maybe the concrete flatwork guys donated
more in the last election than the asphalt guys?
Yes, gypsy ripoff artists are a problem. Solution to that is to require
the contractor to poke a sign in the ground with their license number,
and get a special 5-buck permit for the work. Local paper runs a 'caveat
emptor' story every year when they hit town. Some 70+ retiree is
supposed to sealcoat their own drive in the summer sun, or empty their
bank account to put in concrete?
I'm 74 and just did my driveway a couple of months ago. Used 3 5-gal
buckets and didn't think anything about it, except I did get someone
to power wash the driveway first so it was clean before applying the
Good for you, and I hope you manage to keep up the agility and energy
levels for a long time. But the sad fact is, for your age segment, you
are probably in the distinct minority, at least judging by the seniors I
see out and about around here. Many people your age either truly have
physical challenges, or they have convinced themselves that they are
old, and therefore can't do stuff like that any more. Hefting 40-lb
buckets and mopping a black driveway in the 90+ heat index around here
lately would be a non-starter for them.
I'm in awe of my 84 YO father that way. Took lousy care of himself most
of his life, smoked and drank too much, lousy diet, etc. Finally saw the
light 15 years or so ago. But 3-4 years ago, a botched 'routine'
operation on his back left him in constant pain and barely able to walk
with a walker. Yet he is still out in his shop puttering 3-4 days a
week, and still doing design work for clients. An assistant does most of
the drafting board work now, since a botched glaucoma operation left him
basically blind in one eye, but he still meets with clients and does the
rough concept sketches. He is coping with it all, and maintaining a
positive outlook, better than I ever could. We've given up trying to get
him to retire.
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