So, you woke up today and decided you should tackle the maintenance of your faded, pitted, somewhat cracked driveway. Sounds simple enough, huh? You can go buy some sealer from your local home improvement store and get to it. Not so fast, it will take some preparation and proper planning to complete it successfully and be happy with the end result.
First, let’s talk about hiring a contractor to do the work for you. Below are some guidelines for selecting a contractor for sealing your driveway. As you all know, there’s a lot of hack companies out there and unfortunately when it comes to sealing driveways, it’s a very easy business to get into to make a quick dollar, so the hacks are out there in droves.
1. NEVER HIRE A CONTRACTOR THAT KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR AND OFFERS YOU THE DEAL OF A LIFETIME!! As with paving or sealing, they don’t have leftover asphalt or sealer from a previous job. They plan on it ahead of time to sell it to you. Trust me, if you are getting an awesome deal, you are getting ripped off and the chances are when it’s time to complain, you will never hear from them again. Use the phonebook, internet, or talk to friends and neighbors when looking for a contractor to do the work.
2. Select a contractor that specializes in driveway maintenance, not a paving company who does it on the side or anyone else who does it here and there.
3. Find out how the contractor applies the sealer. A brushed on application is best, squeegee is ok, spray is the worst. If a sealer is sprayed, it’s watered down for sure. It will look great for a few weeks, then it will mysteriously vanish right before your eyes.
4. Ask what type of sealer they use. Oil based sealer soaks into your driveway and disappears. After driveways stoke all, your driveway is made of oil, it’s the main ingredient in asphalt. Latex based sealers sit on the top of your driveway just like paint would on a wall in your home. 9 out of 10 times, it will peel off over time and look terrible. Coal tar emulsion is the best for sealing driveways. It soaks into the surface of the driveway, creates a very tight bond, and is flexible throughout the seasons therefore resisting cracking and peeling. Coal tar emulsions typically contain less than 2% oil, just enough to create an excellent bond with the driveway surface.
5. Ask the contractor if they add sand to their sealer, this will create a non-slip surface and also adds to the flexibility of the sealer.
6. Know the square footage of your driveway, contractors will add the size to up the price. Ask the contractor at the time of the price quote the size of your driveway and the cost pr sq ft. The contractor should come out in person and look at your driveway, if they quote you over the phone…..beware!!