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Asphalt Pavement Sealing and Repair

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Common Questions

Below are common questions and answers. To view an answer click the gray box to the left of the question and it will expand with more information.

We schedule separate service calls for the three services that we offer: (1) sealing, (2) crack filling, and (3) hot-asphalt repair. Depending on the condition of your driveway, your proposal may call for one, two, or all three of our services.

For sealing and crack filling service calls, we will give you as much notice as possible beforehand, but we generally schedule these service calls no more than 24 hours in advance to minimize the need to reschedule due to constantly changing weather. We 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 the proposed appointment is inconvenient and you need to change it.

Hot-asphalt repairs do not require perfect weather. If your driveway requires hot-asphalt repair, we will do this in advance of sealing and usually with little or no prior notice, unless you specifically request otherwise.

Driveway sealer typically dries to the touch in 24 hours or less – sometimes quite a bit less depending on the weather. You can walk on the sealed driveway as soon as you see that it is dry to the touch, but a good rule of thumb is to keep cars off until the morning after the job was done. Even then, make sure that there are no damp spots before opening the driveway to traffic.

Crack filling (which is done in advance of sealing) will usually dry within a few hours to both walk on and drive on, but, again, be sure to check for damp spots and make sure everything is dry before opening to traffic. Hot-asphalt repairs can be driven over and walked on as soon as the asphalt has cooled to the touch.

We do not require deposits, but we do ask for payment in full upon completion of the job via cash or check (once we have the chance to send you a bill). If you are not in a position to pay on completion of the job, please let us know before we start.

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. 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.

For better or worse, asphalt driveways are highly visible landscape features. Regular driveway sealing accomplishes important objectives:

  • It maximizes the longevity of new asphalt pavement;
  • It extends the useful life of older asphalt pavement;
  • It keeps driveways looking their best, whether they are old or new.

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:

  • 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);
  • Heavy vehicular traffic;
  • A settling or shifting base beneath the driveway;
  • Tree roots;
  • Inadequate pavement thickness – less than two inches thick.   

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 re-crack along the same line and require refilling from time to time. It is not possible to “glue” a driveway back into one piece using crack filler, of any sort.

Regular crack filling 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.

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.

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.

We do not recommend liquid hot tar for residential driveways, for the following reasons:

  • Hot-tar crack filler 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).
  • Hot-tar crack filler 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.
  • Cracks treated with hot tar will inevitably re-crack, 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 tar and start over.

We 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.)  Hot asphalt is not suitable for filling cracks.

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.

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.

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.

Many of our regular clients reseal their driveways every year. We 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, we would advise sealing it every year to keep it protected.

We send all of our clients reminders through the mail when, in our opinion, their driveways are due to be resealed.

Yes. Many people like the look of Belgian block driveway edging, and we have no problem sealing around the blocks without damaging them. Sometimes Belgian blocks are laid flat across the driveway at the entrance or to separate one section of the driveway from another. We can seal around this type of Belgian block layout as well.

No. We do substantial asphalt repairs, but we don’t install new driveways from scratch.

Customer Testimonials from Stutz Driveway and Sealing

My wife and I were very impressed with the care and quality of the team
sent to seal and repair our driveway.

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Stutz Driveway Sealing, Inc.