Is driveway sealing worth it?
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Thread: Is driveway sealing worth it?

  1. #1
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    Is driveway sealing worth it?

    Everyone in my neighborhood is doing this. And they all hire some guys to do it, I haven't noticed anyone doing it themselves (even though it seems to be a simple job).

    I did some googling and there is a lot of conflicting opinions about this, some say it's purely cosmetic and offers no other benefits, while others say it will make your driveway last longer. What do you guys think, is it worth doing? I should also mention my driveway is currently in great shape with no cracks. I have never sealed it but I don't know what the previous owner did.


  2. #2
    Senior Member rikk2's Avatar
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    Mine's asphalt, 2 cars by 3 cars, shaded, on 8" gravel over shale in '93, no worries ... but then asphalt isn't what it used to be ...
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  3. #3
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    My opinion... It is helpful, but I can't say to what extent.

    Asphalt is a liquid. It is a binder or cement that holds together a bajillion tiny pebbles. Over time the asphaltic cement cures and hardens; however, this is a very slow process. In the beginning, the asphalt is still able to flow and run and will rut and settle as the granular material under your driveway settles. It has good sealing properties, but as the car compacts the gravel below, the asphalt will flow into the recesses, and you may begin to see rutting, depending on the compaction rate of the gravel and the asphalt mix used to lay your driveway.

    Eventually the asphaltic cement cures to a point that it loses some of its flow and begins to become brittle. As this happens, cracks will form in the driveway. the cracks retain water, allowing freeze/thaw cycles to further open up the cracks. Adding a driveway sealer will prevent the cracks from retaining water, and so will slow further cracking, but it will not treat the core issue of brittle asphalt. Different asphalt mixes will wear at different rates, but for the most part a municipal road will go about 20 years before being a candidate for repaving - barring settlement issues or poor installation. A driveway has a thinner layer of asphalt, generally poorer compaction of the gravel beneath, and less attention to drainage, but it also carries less moving loads.

    So short version - driveway sealer slows cracks, but the cracks will still form once asphalt is no longer able to flex.

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  5. #4
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    So short version - driveway sealer slows cracks, but the cracks will still form once asphalt is no longer able to flex.
    this is also my impression . My driveway 16+ years old with a lot of small cracks .... I seal it every year or 2 years ... i pay $60 or so for sealing... prefer to pay $60 than to do it myself

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earl View Post
    Everyone in my neighborhood is doing this. And they all hire some guys to do it, I haven't noticed anyone doing it themselves (even though it seems to be a simple job).

    I did some googling and there is a lot of conflicting opinions about this, some say it's purely cosmetic and offers no other benefits, while others say it will make your driveway last longer. What do you guys think, is it worth doing? I should also mention my driveway is currently in great shape with no cracks. I have never sealed it but I don't know what the previous owner did.
    Good investment IMO
    I reseal every 2 years,takes one weekend to complete,sure looks pretty ,,,driveway is 22X107,,have also done this with all homes I have owned,new house not paved driveway,,just gravel,,,2000 ft x 15 ft driveway it will stay gravel

  7. #6
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    I've found that not sealing has allowed some erosion of the driveway surface where tenants' cars have leaked various fluids.

  8. #7
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    Not all sealants are created equal. Because of current environmental laws, many sealants are water based to provide low VOC. Do your homework before letting the guy that knocks on your door seal your driveway.

    Part of our driveway is stamped asphalt painted brick colour to simulate brick paving. It has been down for a long time and has worked well. But it is in need of recoating. The company that did it originally will re do it, but it is expensive! Anyone know where to buy an asphalt coating paint (In Canada) that we could use to freshen the paving? Seem to be available in USA.

    http://www.patternpaving.com/stampedasphaltcolors.html
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    Last edited by agent99; 2016-06-10 at 09:43 PM.

  9. #8
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    As others have pointed out asphalt will dry out, crack, and also erode away especially a sloping driveway. Expect to repave every 20 - 25 years unless you seal it. The sealant will replace eroded material and keep the gravel in place and also slow the drying and hardening. A driveway that is coated regularly should last indefinitely.

    I notice if I coat a worn driveway myself it takes a LOT more material when done with a roller, than when it is sprayed, especially if the surface is worn and rough. This suggests to me that doing by hand makes a better job but takes more material.

  10. #9
    Senior Member sags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prospector View Post
    My opinion... It is helpful, but I can't say to what extent.

    Asphalt is a liquid. It is a binder or cement that holds together a bajillion tiny pebbles. Over time the asphaltic cement cures and hardens; however, this is a very slow process. In the beginning, the asphalt is still able to flow and run and will rut and settle as the granular material under your driveway settles. It has good sealing properties, but as the car compacts the gravel below, the asphalt will flow into the recesses, and you may begin to see rutting, depending on the compaction rate of the gravel and the asphalt mix used to lay your driveway.

    Eventually the asphaltic cement cures to a point that it loses some of its flow and begins to become brittle. As this happens, cracks will form in the driveway. the cracks retain water, allowing freeze/thaw cycles to further open up the cracks. Adding a driveway sealer will prevent the cracks from retaining water, and so will slow further cracking, but it will not treat the core issue of brittle asphalt. Different asphalt mixes will wear at different rates, but for the most part a municipal road will go about 20 years before being a candidate for repaving - barring settlement issues or poor installation. A driveway has a thinner layer of asphalt, generally poorer compaction of the gravel beneath, and less attention to drainage, but it also carries less moving loads.

    So short version - driveway sealer slows cracks, but the cracks will still form once asphalt is no longer able to flex.
    Great explanation.............thanks.

  11. #10
    Senior Member My Own Advisor's Avatar
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    I do it every few years. Helps prolong driveway.

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