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Mike Lamb

Is sealing asphalt driveway useless?

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Good quality asphalt may do fine without sealing, especially the stuff with finer aggregate. But if you get into the coarser aggregate stuff, and stuff that may have lower asphalt content or been poorly compacted, sealing can lengthen the life. Besides, it usually makes it look really nice too.

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A properly installed asphalt driveway is not dependent on one item; it's a system. And, sealant (all kinds including concrete and masonry sealers) is/are possibly one of the most misunderstood materials; people talk about it as if it's a single product. Sealing with a product like Gilsonite makes a difference especially if one is lining it for parking spaces....the lining holds on Gilsonite and it doesn't hold on bare asphalt. Carter is just filling column inches. It's not useful information. He's right and he's wrong.

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And just to throw it into the mix:

The vast majority of driveways around here are concrete, but lately, it's becoming fashionable to install "pervious asphalt." After the first homeowner, no one knows what it is or why its there, but you really don't want to apply any kind of sealer to it.

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Been working for me. Local hardware has sold it to me twice now. About 14 gallons for a shared driveway. A day to clean and two to put it down half at a time. Achy brakie, backie, then I find out there is 7 yr stuff instead of the 2 I've been using, Me and the hardware store didn't know about it. Sheesh.

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The guy who installed my driveway said roads aren't sealcoated and my driveway doesn't need it either. After twenty years the driveway is still OK. To me it seems the tar coating wears off and just ends up in the yard or in the local stream.

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Your installer is correct. Problem is, most driveway installs are not nearly as good as the average macadam road. Most driveways are pretty bad w/all the usual shortcuts....lousy/no prep, minimal stone, few inches of base coat and an inch or little more top coat, thin edges, etc..... You got a good install.

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The vast majority of driveways around here are concrete, but lately, it's becoming fashionable to install "pervious asphalt."

I'm seeing porous/pervious concrete too. It gets around the percolable soil/lot coverage issues. Municipalities around here are cranked up to keep all lot drainage on the lot, not letting it go out into the public ways or onto neighbors yards. Draining concrete/asphalt keeps the water on one's property.

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I dont think a quality sealing job is useless where its needed. Crap jobs of sealing, just like crap jobs of anything are useless. And as we know, there are crap jobs of everything....everywhere.

Edit: However, if a driveway is in bad shape and a home inspectors recommendation is to seal it, rather than replace it, well there's a crap recommendation too.

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