What is Asphalt Sealcoating, is it important & what should I look out for:
Asphalt Sealcoating is basically painting your driveway with a product that will protect the tar in the asphalt from evaporating away.
Think of it this way. What is the difference between a brand new asphalt driveway and a 20 year old driveway. The driveway has just as many rocks in the asphalt at 20 years as it did the first day it was installed. The tar has been worn and evaporated away and more of the rock have been exposed. The tar is the glue that holds it all together. once it starts to deteriorate, the driveway falls apart. Asphalt Sealcoating helps to protect your driveway and slow this process down.
When you seal the driveway you slow this process down and give it a more clean and uniform look. Some people say they like the look of a “rocky driveway”. I understand this but it is also important to understand that the life of your driveway will lessen dramatically if you leave it unprotected.
Should I sealcoat my driveway every year?
NO! Unfortunately the sealer will wear unevenly due to traffic. What happens is, people don’t care for the uneven look and decide to seal again the very next year. In the short term (2 – 4 weeks) this improves the look but after a while it actually takes away from the over all aesthetics. Within 3 – 4 years the sealer itself starts to build up and will crack and look awful. There is no way to remove the sealer once it has dried other than letting the sun evaporate it along with normal wear and tare from your vehicle traffic. Once at least 80% of the sealer has worn away, you can then seal the entire driveway again without worrying about sealer buildup. this normally takes between 2-3 years.
Why is there such a large variance in pricing from contractor to contractor or even driveway to driveway?
The sealer we all use is very similar in quality and price. What happens is, when I buy my sealer in bulk the supply house will water it down to a certain percentage. This percentage needs to change a little based on the outside air temperature. The hotter the day the faster the water in the sealer will evaporate so more water is needed. Remember, you are putting the sealer down on a black driveway that could be as hot as 120 degrees. As soon as I poor the sealer out onto the driveway, I have to work it in such a fashion that it is spread evenly from top to bottom before it dries. Here is where the variance comes in. If I am being cheep, I’ll water the sealer down more than I should in order to get more driveways in. I could literally cut my cost in half and you would never be the wiser. Except the sealer is not doing the job you need and by the next year 60% or more of the sealer is already gone.
What is a fair price for Asphalt Sealcoating of my driveway?
Each driveway needs to be bid because of the amount of sealer that will change from driveway to driveway. If you have been sealing your driveway every 2 – 3 years I may only use 10 gallons of sealer to sealcoat your driveway. Your neighbor’ driveway may be smaller than yours but they have never sealed their driveway and a lot of the tar in the driveway has evaporated away. I’ll use 50 gallons of sealer on this driveway.
You are MUCH better off paying a fair price for a sealcoating job that will hold for 2 – 3 years.
There are 3 basic types of driveways out there that cover about 80% of the driveway styles in our area. A standard driveway will be about 50′ long. If your driveway has been maintained, these are the prices you can expect.
If I can get 3 or more driveways in the same area, I can give a MUCH better price as travel time is a huge expense for me.
What if my driveway is not standard?
I can usually get you a price by looking at your driveway on Google Earth. There are times however that something is not seen and the price would need to be changed. I would always confirm this with you prior to starting the job.
- Your driveway may be in much rougher shape than the picture I am looking at on Google.
- There is no way to bid the cracks and oil spots using this method
- Your landscaping may have changed
In these cases you are better off letting me know that I should come out and give you a bid. I have no problem doing this. It just means you may have to wait an additional day or two to get the job done.
Can you get rid of the cracks in my driveway?
I cannot get rid of them but it is a good idea to seal them with hot tar. This prevents water from getting into the cracks but allows the driveway to expand and contract without making them bigger. this is an extra cost and depending on how many cracks you have it will add anywhere from an extra $25.00 to $75.00 to the cost.
Can you get rid of the oil spot in my driveway?
again, I cannot get rid of it but I can seal it in with an oil sealer. What happens is the oil will not allow my sealer to adhere to that portion of the driveway. I need to use a special product that will seal the oil in and allow my driveway sealer to stick. Again this is an extra cost but usually only runs an additional $5 – $10.00 per oil spot. I’m talking about oil spots the size of an ice cream lid or larger. Smaller ones (if very few) I don’t charge anything extra at all.
How long before I can drive on it?
24 hours after I finish.
Do I have to pay anything in advance?
No but I do require payment upon completion.
Do you give a warrantee for Asphalt Sealcoating?
Yes, 2 years. Keep in mind that there will be normal wear and tare but you will not loose more than 30% of the sealer the 1st year and another 30% the 2nd year.
Do you Edge the driveway?
Yes I can but for a standard driveway you are looking at around $20.00 per side to edge it. If the grass has grown into the driveway, it could be a bit more.
Can you get rid of the sealer buildup on my driveway before you seal it?
No. If there were, I’d be a millionaire tomorrow 🙂