How do we request a estimate for driveway sealing or repair?
Call 203-268-9990, send an email inquiry using the tab on the upper left side of this page, or fax 203-452-7777 with your name, evening phone and driveway address. I will confirm receipt of your request, and I'll check out your driveway the first chance I get. I'll leave a written proposal in your mailbox, but I won't knock on your door or attempt to reach you by phone unless you ask me to.
If we accept your proposal, how and when is the work scheduled?
Successful driveway sealing depends on no rain until the applied sealer is dry to the touch. When I am working in your area and I intend to seal your driveway, I will give you as much notice as possible beforehand, but I generally schedule driveway sealing no more than 24 hours in advance to minimize the need to reschedule due to constantly changing weather. I will leave you a recorded phone message, with instructions (e.g: keep cars and dogs off the driveway all day, etc.), to let you know what day we intend to do the work. You won't need to call back unless my proposed appointment is inconvenient and you need to change it.
Driveway patching and crackfilling does not require perfect weather, and can usually be driven over immediately or within an hour or two of the time the work is done. If your driveway requires patching, I will do this in advance of sealing and usually with little or no prior notice, unless you specifically request otherwise.
You called to schedule our driveway sealing for today, but the job wasn't done. What happened?
Four times out of five, when a sealing job isn't done on schedule the reason is a car left parked on the driveway with no one around to move it, or a dog running loose in the yard. Sometimes people ARE home, but we can't raise them to move their cars because they are on the phone, in the shower, sleeping, in the back yard, etc. This problem comes up every day, and it's the cause of a tremendous amount of wasted time and lost business. Please move your cars and secure your dogs first thing in the morning -- whether or not you intend to be home -- to avoid this all-to-common pitfall.
Also, any activity that results in a wet driveway -- car washing, lawn watering, etc. -- will prevent us from sealing your driveway if we happen to arrive while it's still wet. Please keep the pavement surface dry the day the sealing is scheduled. Thanks!
What are your payment terms?
I do not require a deposit, but I do expect payment in full on completion of the job unless other arrangements are made in advance. Personal checks or money orders are fine. Sorry, I'm not set up to handle credit-card payments.
Why does asphalt develop cracks?
All asphalt driveways eventually crack. Most will show some signs of cracking after just a few years. There are several causes for cracks in asphalt driveways, the most common of which are the following:
(1) Shrinkage. Asphalt shrinks as it ages. As asphalt pavement gradually contracts over time, cracks develop (similar to a mud puddle drying out and cracking in the sun, except that asphalt takes several years to shrink and crack, while a mud puddle might dry out and start cracking in just a few hours or days);
(2) Heavy vehicular traffic;
(3) A settling or shifting base beneath the driveway;
(4) Tree roots.
Asphalt cracks: Is there a cure?
No. Cracks in asphalt can and should be regularly treated, but they can never be permanently eliminated. Regardless of how cracks were originally caused, and regardless of the technique used to fill them, they will inevitably recrack along the same line and require refilling from time to time.
What good does it do to fill cracks if they’re just going to come back again?
Regular crackfilling benefits a driveway by preventing grass and weeds from growing through cracks, and by slowing down erosion under the driveway by limiting the amount of water that runs through and under the surface. Also, an untreated cracked driveway can become unsightly in a hurry. Regularly filling cracks and sealing the driveway will keep up its appearance.
Can all cracked driveways be repaired, one way or another?
Some older driveways become so badly cracked that it is no longer practical to fill each of the hundreds or thousands of cracks individually. This does not necessarily mean that the driveway has to be replaced immediately. A reasonable compromise is to seal the driveway as is. Sealing alone won’t solve all of the pavement problems, but it will slow down deterioration and improve the driveway’s appearance. Saving and maintaining an old driveway is cheap compared to the cost of replacing it. And brand new driveways look great when they are first installed, but, no matter how much they cost, they all crack soon enough.
What technique do you use for filling cracks in residential driveways?
For cracks in residential pavement we trowel in an asphalt mixture that hardens much like a black concrete. The mixture shrinks some when it dries, so we often have to hit larger cracks twice before we seal the entire driveway. This treatment will not stop all water from penetrating a driveway (nor will any crack treatment), but it will stop most water, and it will prevent grass and weeds from growing through the driveway if done regularly.
For commercial and industrial pavement we use a hot-pour mixture similar to roofing tar (see next question).
What about hot, roofing-type tar for filling cracks in residential driveways?
I use hot tar for filling certain kinds of cracks in industrial and commercial parking areas and access roads, but I do not recommend it for residential driveways, for the following reasons:
(1) Hot-tar crackfiller is not compatible with driveway sealer. Sealer flakes off the bands of tar within two or three weeks, leaving the driveway with a permanent, veined appearance. Once hot tar is put on a driveway, there is no way to cover it or get rid of it (short of repaving the driveway).
(2) Hot-tar crackfiller softens up in the heat of summer. Once soft, it is susceptible to being torn up by tires, or even by hard-soled shoes – and this can happen even years after the hot-tar was put down.
(3) Cracks treated with hot tar will inevitably recrack, just as all cracks do. But once a hot-tar treated crack reopens, there are limited options for refilling it, given that nothing will stick to it for any length of time, and there is no practical way to get rid of the residual hot tar and start over.
When is hot asphalt used for driveway repair?
I use hot asphalt (i.e.: the same material from which the driveway was originally constructed) to repair potholes, replace missing pavement and fill sunken areas. Hot asphalt is also used for building or repairing curbing, and for widening or adding on to existing pavement. (A hot-asphalt repair can be driven over as soon as it is cool to the touch.)
What are the advantages of hand-application by brush versus spraying or squeegeeing of driveway sealer?
We apply sealer exclusively by hand with brushes. Many contractors coat driveways by spraying a mixture of air and sealer out of a nozzle, or by using a window-washing type squeegee. Brush application takes longer to accomplish and uses more material than spray or squeegee application, but the result is, in my opinion, a neater and longer-lasting job.
How long should a driveway remain closed to traffic after it is sealed?
Normally 24 hours is more than enough time for sealer to dry, but in humid conditions or in shady parts of the driveway, always check for damp spots before opening to traffic.
Are tire marks normal on a recently sealed driveway?
Yes, tires may mark up a recently sealed driveway, especially in areas where cars make frequent sharp turns, but such marks fade in a short time and eventually become invisible.
Why were there sealer footprints on my lawn after our driveway was sealed? Do the footprints damage the lawn?
When we finish sealing we have to get off the wet driveway on the lawn to avoid leaving long-lasting footprints on the street. Footprints on grass will disappear -- with no residual effect -- the next time the lawn is mowed.
Why is regular sealing universally recommended for asphalt driveways?
For better or worse, asphalt driveways are highly visible landscape features. Regular driveway sealing accomplishes important objectives:
(1) It maximizes the longevity of new asphalt pavement;
(2) It extends the useful life of older asphalt pavement;
(3) It keeps driveways looking their best, whether they are old or new.
What is the best time of year to seal a driveway?
Spring and summer are best. Late September and October can be risky. Unless a driveway enjoys full sun exposure, sealer will be slow to dry late in the season. Sealer that dries faster tends to hold up better over time.
How often does a typical driveway have to be resealed?
Many of my regular clients reseal their driveways every year. I usually suggest every other year unless the driveway is cracked or the previous winter was severe. Heavy-traffic pavement (e.g.: commercial parking) arguably should be resealed annually regardless of its condition, and whether or not the previous winter was harsh.
Sealer sometimes will not adhere as well to certain parts of a driveway as it does to the rest of the surface. For example, sealer does not hold up as well over time in heavily shaded areas, or over asphalt that has been damaged by previous gas or oil spills. If your driveway is shaded or oil-stained, I would advise sealing it every year to keep it protected.
I send all of my clients reminders through the mail when, in my opinion, their driveways are due to be resealed.
What's the difference between water-based and oil-based driveway sealer?
There is no such thing as oil-based driveway sealer. All genuine driveway sealers are either asphalt- or coal-tar-based suspensions in water. Nor is there any such thing as a water-based "latex" driveway sealer. Good sealers all have latex additives, but the latex comprises only a tiny percentage of the solid material in the sealer.
Why are most driveways in our area made of asphalt rather than concrete, brick, gravel or some other material?
Asphalt is the material of choice for driveway construction in our climate for several reasons:
(1) Asphalt is relatively inexpensive to install;
(2) It provides a stable surface for plowing or shoveling in winter;
(3) It can double as a solid, safe play area for children;
(4) It can last 20 years or, in some cases, much longer;
(5) It hides inevitable gas and oil stains better than lighter-colored pavement;
(6) It is far less expensive to repair and maintain than other surfaces, such as gravel, concrete, oil-and-stone and paving blocks.
Are granite Belgian block edges a good idea around the perimeter of an asphalt driveway?
No! Many people like the look of Belgian block driveway edging, and we have no problem sealing around the blocks without damaging them, but Belgian block granite borders are bad news for the homeowner, for the following reasons:
(1) Asphalt shrinks continuously over time. Whether you are installing a new asphalt driveway within a Belgian block form, or you are attempting to retrofit blocks around an existing asphalt driveway, in either case an ever-widening gap will soon develop between your blocks and your shrinking asphalt surface. Weeds will grow up through this gap, and rain water may run up against your blocks, down into the gap, and beneath your pavement, weakening the foundation under your driveway's edge.
(2) Raised Belgian block edges are routinely damaged by snow plows and delivery trucks.
(3) A raised granite edge limits a car's ability to maneuver within a driveway, especially around curves. Those blocks are hard and jagged, and they can easily damage exposed tire rims if a car's wheels get too close and accidentally scrape against the raised edge.
And, aside from the practical reasons for avoiding Belgian block borders, you might also want to ask yourself: Does it make any esthetic sense to draw visual attention to asphalt pavement by putting an eye-catching decorative granite frame around it? I can understand framing a painting, or even a garden, but a piece of asphalt?
Do you install new driveways?
No. We do substantial asphalt repairs, but we don't install new driveways from scratch.
My question isn't on this list. How do I find out what I need to know?
Please click on the CONTACT US BY EMAIL tab, on the left side of this page near the top, to send a message. Or call 268-9990, or fax 452-7777.