Driveway Sealing in Cold Climates

Driveway Sealing in Cold ClimatesEnvironment plays a huge role in terms of what maintenance is required around your home. Driveway maintenance and repair is no exception. Driveway sealing in cold climates is much different than in warmer climates simply due to the freezing / thaw cycle. Anytime you have a crack in your driveway, there is an opportunity for water to penetrate. If that water freezes, it forces the cracks wider and the asphalt to further deteriorate.  Warm climates do not have these same issues and you can get away with not sealing your driveway.

Driveway Sealing in Cold Climates

We strongly recommend that all cracks should be filled with the appropriate products for crack sealing to prevent further damage.  At the very least you will prevent further damage.

Some people prefer to also place a sealant over the entire asphalt driveway. There are several advantages. First you fill all of the miniature cracks and holes which prevents them from becoming larger. This is a long term maintenance advantage.

Secondly, your driveway just looks better. Esthetics are important and a great looking driveway improves your curb appeal and home value.  Our own driveway is 28 years old. We have sealed it and filled cracks several times over the years. It looks great to the point that our neighbors are amazed.

They have spent thousands of dollars to replace their own black top driveways. Instead of doing some basic maintenance every couple of years and saving this money. For more details about looking after your asphalt driveway, click here.


Paving Asphalt Driveway Design

paving asphalt drivewayOur driveway had settled next to the garage entrance by approximately three inches and it was time to find a solution. Our choices were to replace the asphalt with a new asphalt driveway, to replace it with patio stones in its entirety,  or to keep the asphalt and apply patio stones with some sort of design that would minimize our cost and also enhance our homes view from the street. We chose the paving asphalt driveway design with a patio stone design that involved a half moon approach at the top of the driveway and borders down each side of the driveway. We considered other designs, but settled on this one as the most attractive in our opinion.

It was also the most cost-effective as well since a new driveway was going to cost over $5000, while this do it yourself project cost less than $500 not including the bricks which we already had leftover from a previous project. While it was very hard work and not something I would recommend for the casual do it yourself consumer, it is very rewarding to have completed it and saved a great deal of money at the same time.

Paving Asphalt Driveway Design – Construction

Once we had finalized the driveway design it was time to begin construction. The most difficult part was laying out the circle. basically we had to find a center point in the driveway and then scribe a circle that left a border equal distance from both sides. We also wanted to come out 5 feet from the edge of the garage to provide adequate slope for water dispersal from the home.  This also represented the point where the settling of the driveway had stopped. We then cut the asphalt using a skill saw and an appropriate blade to cut the asphalt. Once the asphalt was removed, the gravel was set to the proper level and compacted. The patio stones could then be placed as per the design.

Paving Asphalt Driveway Design – Finishing Touches

Once all of the patio stones are in place, a sand concrete mixture is placed on the patio stones. This mixture fills the joints between the stones. Then the compactor is run over the stones to settle them all in place. This process also evens out the level of the stones so that they are all the same. In addition, the vibration from the compactor causes the sand to settle to the bottom of the joints. More sand is added. The compaction process is repeated until the sand completely fills the joints between all of the stones.

This sand mixture then must be dampened. This triggers the cement mixture in the sand to harden in place and become impervious to water and plants.  The trick is to only spray the bricks with a very light mist. Too Much Water and the sand will not harden properly. We also resealed the existing asphalt to protect it. This application will return it to the like-new condition when it was when first installed.


Disposing of Asphalt From Your Driveway

Disposing of Asphalt From Your DrivewayIf you are planning a do it yourself driveway repair such as the one shown in this picture, one of the things that must be considered as part of the job is disposing of asphalt from your driveway that has been cut out of the driveway. In this case two strips, one on either side along with a half-moon near the garage entrance. This is a lot of asphalt and in our particular case we cut out about 40 cubic feet of asphalt. Cutting the asphalt was relatively easy. We used a skill saw with the proper blade for cutting asphalt. Consumers can rent a larger gas-powered machine that will do the job faster, however, this has a rental cost of approximately $100 vs. a couple of blades for less than $10.

Getting Rid of Asphalt – The Bagster

The original plan was to purchase a product called the bagster,  for a price of $40, fill it and have the company come and pick it up when ready. There were two problems with this approach. First of all the cost for pick up was going to be $200 in addition to the cost of the bag which was $50 including tax. The second problem was that for heavy material, the company requires that only the bottom 10 inches of the bag be filled. As you can see this bag is very full and has about 2 feet of material in it.  This was going to cost much more than planned since I might have to purchase a second bag and the total cost was going to come to around $500!

Disposing of Asphalt – the Solution

Fortunately there was a landscaping contractor working around the block on a neighbors property. He already had the truck and the bobcat and was willing to pick up the material and dispose of it for $150, a net savings of $50, and would also take all of it in one load which saved even more money.

He came over with his team one evening just as they were finishing up with the other property and in the space of 10 minutes it was all gone with the driveway swept up and clean of any sign of the asphalt originally in the bag. Now I am trying to sell the bag at a discount to get some of my $40 back. Either way whether I sell it or not, I have already saved money on this deal.

We wrote about this particular issue to show readers that there is always more than one way to deal with items that might be problematic for do it yourself people. If I had my own truck or a trailer, I would have disposed of the material myself and probably had to pay a dumping fee.

This contractor was already going to the dump and had factored that cost into his current project, so the $150 was pure profit for him and it saved me money as well, definitely a win-win for both of us. This is something else to consider when doing your own work on big projects.


Driveway Paver Installation

driveway paver installationThis is a continuation from a previous post about installing pavers or interlocking stones on your driveway. Once you have compacted the base, leveled the base and placed the patio stones in the design that you have chosen it is time to complete the final steps. In this case the stones were placed in a half moon shape. Borders running down both sides of the driveway. It is important to install the pavers as level as possible. Before adding the sand concrete mixture to go in between the joints.

Pour the sand across the driveway starting at one side. Using a brush, push the sand across every stone so that all cracks are filled. Once this step is completed you will want to run a compactor across all of the pavers which will accomplish two goals. The first is to compact all of the pavers well into the base  and essentially make them all level with each other.

The second objective is to vibrate the pavers so that the sand concrete mixture penetrates the joints all the way to bottom. This is the way the professional do it. They make sure that the base is well compacted and level as possible following the natural slope of the driveway. Compacting the pavers and pushing the sand into the space between the stones ensures that they will not move. Also water does not easily penetrate between them.

Driveway Paver Installation – Repeat the Process

Once the first phase is completed, you find that more sand concrete mixture must be added. Again using a broom, brush the sand across all cracks so that they are completely filled. You will also want to sweep up any access at this point as well Some consumers will run the compactor over the stone one more time and refill any cracks that require more sand. Too much sand mixture on the stones will cause it to adhere to the top of the pavers. You will want to remove all excess sand mixture before completing the next step in the process. The last step is critical and must be done correctly otherwise the sand concrete mixture will not set properly.

Driveway Paver Installation – Lightly Spray Water

We really mean lightly spray some water on the sand concrete combination to harden it. If you spray too much water on it too soon, the sand concrete mixture will not harden properly. You may find it lifting in the future from these cracks. The final bond will ensure that the joints are all sealed and no water will get in between them especially in the winter which would cause cracking and lifting of the patio stones.

Asphalt Driveway Repair

Asphalt Driveway RepairThe picture on the left shows the final result of a driveway repair involving patio stones as well as asphalt. Basically the old asphalt was cut out in a half-moon shape up to about 5 feet from the garage. A strip down both sides was also cut out. Then the existing base was compacted. More stone was added to fill in the gap needed to bring the top of the patio stones even with the garage floor. We also removed the old drain pipe. We installed one of these roll-out – roll-up devices that stay hidden until it rains. This was done to protect the new brick and get the water as far away from the foundation as possible.

We hope that this will prevent or at the least slow down any further sink-age near the garage entrance which is what triggered this asphalt driveway repair in the first place.

Asphalt Driveway Repair – Why Not Excavate

Most contractors will excavate the entire driveway, refill with the proper stone mix and compact it down to a minimum of 18 inches. Then the new covering is installed over top of this base using either asphalt, patio stones, or a combination of both. They do this to protect themselves from callbacks to potential problems that may or may not occur. They have no idea what the base is like and want to ensure that they replace any existing problems with new material.

In our case, we chose to not follow this approach for several reasons. One was the overall cost. We saved between $6,500 to $4,000 by taking this approach. The base is already fully compacted, the existing asphalt was in good condition with no cracks or porous locations. We added crushed stone where needed, compacted, and then added the patio stone in the design we had planned. The result is shown in the picture above.  This solution was augmented by then sealing the asphalt using a high-quality sealer, which makes it look almost new.

Asphalt Driveway Repair – How Long Will it Last

While this solution may not last as long as a new driveway with new asphalt will last, it is certainly good for another 10 years or so. This is great for us and we saved a great deal of money by taking this approach. In addition, the work was completed by the homeowner providing another huge saving. The savings in labor cost along are significant and the homeowner already had the pavers from a previous job.

The original reason for doing this job was that the asphalt had sunk about 3 inches near the garage. This may happen again over time with or without new compaction. If it does sink, all we have to do is remove the pavers, add more crushed stone, compact it, and replace the stone! A straightforward simple and inexpensive job.


Sunken Asphalt Driveway Repair

Sunken Asphalt Driveway RepairOur asphalt driveway had sunk about three inches at the garage door entrance. Not only was this unsightly, but it was also awkward each time we drove the car in over it. This was also now a low spot and water ran towards the house instead of away from it creating a potential drainage problem and possible leaks into the basement. It was time to take on Sunken Asphalt Driveway Repair.

The first step was to obtain a quote for a new asphalt driveway with patio stone pavers down both sides and a half-moon near the garage entrance. The quote was for $7000 and that is with the patio stone pavers already purchased. I got a second quote for just the asphalt with me placing the patio stones after the base had been prepared. This brought the cost down to around $4000 for new asphalt and also the driveway excavated down to a minimum of 18 inches.

Sunken Asphalt Driveway Repair – Do it Yourself at less Cost

I opted for the least cost solution which was to leave the asphalt in place, cut out the half-moon, and the edges down the side. It cost me $10 for the proper blade on my skill saw and $150 for the disposal of the asphalt along with some hard work. For a total of $160, it was worth it.

Next I also added crushed stone were needed and rented a compactor to compact the base. I left the original base intact and compacted the added crush stone. The compactor cost $40 for a couple of hours. Once the base was ready it was a simple matter to lay the patio stone. I rented a stone cutter to cut the stones I needed cut. I also placed the sand that is made for patio stones in the cracks between the stones.

Compact the patio stones to level them

The compactor is run over the stones several times to ensure that all of the stones are level and of the same height. The compactor also cause the sand to go deep into the cracks. The process was repeated twice more to ensure that each joint between stones is full of the sand. It was then lightly watered to cause the sand mortar mixture to harden. This stops all water from going between the stones. Too much water and you will ruin the sand mortar mixture.

Total cost not including the patio stones which I already had, is approximately $350 vs. the cost of $4000. Note that my asphalt was in good shape. All I needed to do once the patio stones were in was to apply an asphalt sealer to it. The sealer added another $80 to the overall cost.


Driveway Sealing

Driveway SealingWe recently had our driveway sealed by one of those companies that come knocking on your door offering to seal your asphalt driveway with tar. Usually we just send then away, however they had just completed the neighbors driveway and I was able to see the results of their work. I decided to let them go ahead after negotiating a good price for their services. They also gave me a $50 discount for referring my neighbor as well after he decided to have his driveway completed as well.

I have included several pictures on this post showing their work and also outlined the steps they took to complete the job which also impressed me regarding their work. I only had one complaint which is that they got a little tar on the garage door which does not look great. The door needs to be painted anyway so will add this to one of the many other jobs that I need to do.

They should have done a much better job, and I would have mentioned this to them had I noticed it in time, however it was the next day when I saw the small spray of tar on the lower part of the garage door.

Driveway Sealing Step by Step Procedure

These are the steps they followed which make a lot of sense to me and some of these pictures show these steps but not all of them. If you are going to have your driveway coated with tar, you might ask the people doing the work how they will proceed to get a feel for what kind of job they will do and how good a job it will be.

  • Brush the driveway to clear large debris away
  • Blow dust off the driveway and any remaining leaves
  • Seal cracks with asphalt sealer
  • Tape edges to protect the lawn and cement curb as well as garage floor
  • Apply sealer using a sprayer and taking steps to prevent wind blown spray to get on things like the garage door
  • Allow to dry – 24 hours( I let mine dry for 48 hours before placing my car on the driveway just to be careful)

Driveway Sealing

Driveway Sealing – Company Name

Canadian Driveway sealers is the name of the company. You need to make sure that they are using quality materials and that they take the time to place liquid asphalt in all of the cracks in the asphalt to prevent water freezing in these cracks and just getting a lot worse than they already are. When water freezes it expands and makes a crack that much larger than it already is.

These guys did a good job, however you need to be careful with whom you hire, there are a lot of shady characters using inferior products that are going door to door.


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