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Hmmmm ...

Posted by Jay J on September 22nd, 1999 11:05 AM
In reply to consider this by BJF on September 21st, 1999 01:54 PM [Go to top of thread]


To be honest with you, IMO, it's pure fantasy that a typical asphalt driveway has to be sealed / maintained every year.

I live in SE PA. Our driveway is 72' long. 42' is on a hill that covers about 5' in height. (Yes, 5' in height!) The top/finally 30' is flat. My wife has been driving her Ford Explorer on it for almost 4 years. I've had 2 - 15 yard dumpsters on it (using 2 x 6's as a base so they wouldn't sink.) I filled them with cement siding shingles, roofing shingles, concrete block, and more. I had no damage, this being in July 1995.

I sealed the driveway after 1 year of having it go through all 4 seasons. It's been 3 years since I've done anything to it. Soooo, with my version of 'normal use', and beings 3/4ths of it is on a hill, I'm not sure why anyone is sealing their asphalt driveway every year, or why it's 'bothersome' to seal. FWIW, if you ask any installer, they'll tell you this (and I've talked to 4 of them): "Driveways are sealed every year because people like the look of a new driveway. You don't eat on it, sleep on it, entertain your guests on it, and people want to keep their driveways looking new more than their kitchen floor. What they DO do is park their cars on them that drip all kinds of stuff on them!" They will also say, "The only time a driveway should be sealed is when the 'black' on the stone has been worn to 'white'. Damage can be made to asphalt w/o having to reseal the entire driveway."

If you take a look at almost any asphalt highway, you'll see that new asphalt is black as black can be. And you'll see that any not-so-new asphalt highway is looking white. The white is due to the asphalt being worn off the aggregate. If it continues, the asphalt BETWEEN the stones will wear out and the aggregrate will start coming loose. A little freezing and thawing will kick things into high gear. Whenever a 'patch' is made to a roadway, you don't see them resealing or repaving the entire road after the patch is made! Ask Mr. Jackson who lives across the street from my why he got a new asphalt driveway last summer. He sealed it every year for 7 years regardless of it needing it. And it got sooooo gooey that the sealer was being tracked into his home. So, he ended up getting a new 2" topping and it's actually been OVER a year already (and he should seal it now. We'll see.)

I'm not going to disuade anyone from concrete or asphalt. Both have +'s and -'s. Things to think about are: use of the driveway, resale value, 'fitting in' with the neighborhood (conforming), cost, and more. Vicki: If you have any specific concerns, post a Follow-up and we'll go from there. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J

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  • Opinion by Mike McFadden  4/8/03 08:44 AM

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