Driveway: Peel & Pave or Just Seal


Keeping your new home looking fresh means more than maintaining the interior and grounds. The driveway also requires ongoing care.

Driveways typically get built from concrete or asphalt. A well-cared-for concrete driveway can last up to 30 years, and an asphalt drive won’t need a replacement for 12-20 years. But in order to enjoy a pristine drive for as long as possible, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance.

Caring for a concrete drive

The secret to a good looking concrete drive is regular cleaning and sealing. For ordinary cleaning jobs, you can rent a pressure washer and buy a bottle of biodegradable detergent.

To get rid of stubborn oil stains, try undiluted ammonia or unsweetened lemonade Kool Aid mixed with elbow grease. Only apply sealant after cleaning.

The exact time between sealants varies according to the weather, but most concrete drives need a new treatment every three years. Given the snow and ice Massachusetts and New Hampshire experience, you might even consider applying sealant more frequently. Speaking of snow and ice, don’t use salt or most commercial de-icers on your concrete drive. Shovel some sand instead to avoid corrosion and surface damage.

Driveway sealant should cost you between $0.10 and $0.16 per square foot, meaning that unless your drive wends its way to an enchanted castle, it’s an affordable project.

Alligator cracks or crumbling driveways, however, cannot be sealed back to health. In those cases, you have a peel-and-pave job on your hands. It’s a huge undertaking for even the most dedicated DIYer, and you should probably price out professional paving companies near your home.

Caring for an asphalt drive

The life of an asphalt driveway depends on a variety of factors, including installation, weather, and maintenance. Much like concrete, regular cleaning and sealing can prolong asphalt’s life.

Optimally, you’ll want to clean asphalt twice a year. Brush away any loose debris before soaking the drive with water. Sprinkle detergent, scrub with a thickly bristled broom, and then rinse. You can treat oil stains with baking soda or WD-40 and a scrub brush. Afterwards, pour a can of cola on any remaining stains before applying sealant.

Asphalt needs sealing once every one to three years. Any more often than that, and you run the risk of introducing cracks from oversealing. Before sealing, be sure to fill in any cracks or holes. Since resurfacing an asphalt driveway can cost $1 to $2 per square foot, you’ll want to prolong your driveway’s life as long as you can.

Also, check with your local asphalt paving company about resurfacing before you repave since that can run even more money.

In general, a peel-and-pave project should only be necessary when your driveway hits 20 years of age or if it looks particularly unattractive when you are trying to resell. By regularly cleaning and sealing your driveway, you should find it lasts you and your family through many seasons, vehicles, and stages of li

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