By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford standing in front of asphalt driveway.

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As long as there are homes and cars there will be driveways. In this episode, Danny demonstrates how to properly seal, protect and maintain asphalt driveways. Plus, take a look at other options for driveways.

While driveway surfaces (concrete or asphalt for most of the country) are incredibly resilient, they do require some attention so they’ll last as long as they should.

The key factor for most drives is preventing water from getting under the surface. Cracks are the chief concern. Clearing the drive of all weeds and debris, cleaning and making repairs will make it last longer and in our case, prepare it for sealing.

An asphalt driveway oxidizes as it ages which weakens it significantly so it needs to be sealed occasionally. These sealers can be applied with a brush, roller or squeegee and should last from two to four years depending on climate and every day wear.

If you’ve neglected to maintain your drive and it’s too far gone you’ll need to consider replacing it. There are of course alternatives to asphalt or concrete should you need a new drive or are just looking for a change – these include gravel, stamped or stained concrete or even pavers.

Producer's Notes from Allen Lyle

Cleaning Driveway

Frankly, repairing an asphalt driveway is not a glamorous job, but it’s one of those necessary evils. Sure, they’re durable and inexpensive by comparison, but they will wear out. One of the first things Danny mentioned was the need to properly clean the driveway prior to any repair; as you could see this is fairly straightforward.

Concrete driveways, however, are more absorbent and create a greater challenge. There have been some breakthrough products that have recently hit the market that make cleaning a breeze, especially when it comes to removing oil stains. There are a number of good ones, but one I’ve seen in action and was impressed by is Pour-N-Restore. Their website explains the product, including a streaming video.

You may have noticed that the sealer we used on the asphalt drive was clearly labeled as “no stir” sealer, yet, there we were, stirring to our heart’s content. Even the manufacturer told us it’s a good idea to stir it up. Regardless of the composition, settling and separation of the chemical makeup of the sealer occurs while sitting on a shelf, so even though it isn’t necessary, it never hurts to stir up the sealer before application.

Cracks in Driveway

By the way, if you have plans to replace your driveway or are building a new one, be sure to ask about the placement of control joints. A control joint is a score (groove) made in the concrete, or, perhaps, a piece of material inserted at a predetermined location that will help eliminate ugly surface cracks from forming in your finished drive.

The fact is, that as concrete dries and cures, the stress of traffic or ground movement will cause the concrete to crack. Having these control joints will cause any necessary cracking to form within the confines of the joint and relieve any excess stress or strain on the remaining surface. Be sure to ask your concrete finisher where he is going to place these joints.

One final note with regard to creating a gravel or paver driveway: It is vital to start out with a proper base foundation. Crushed limestone or some other material is suitable, but be sure the material is slightly damp first, and always…let me repeat this for emphasis…always tamp the material down with a gas-powered tamper. If this is a do-it-yourself project, you can rent a tamper from most rental companies.

Before you walk out with the cheapest model, though, keep this in mind. The tamper should be no less than 4 horsepower, preferably at least 5 horsepower. Anything less simply won’t do the job. Also, when you are operating the tamper, open it up. Full speed ahead! Throttling back will only serve to make the base uneven with “soft” patches evident throughout the area.

Other Tips Seen in This Episode

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Picture Hanging Tip

Picture Hanging Tip

There are all sorts of gadgets out now including lasers to help hang pictures, but all you really need is a strip of wood and single nail. A single piece of lathe with a roofing nail in it works very well because the wood is thin and the roofing nail has a broad head. Just slip the nail onto the picture wire, hold it up to the wall where you want it, and press in on the picture against the nail. The nail will make an impression in the wall exactly where you need to drive your nail for hanging.

Best New Products with Danny Lipford:
Dap DryDex Spackle and Joint Compound

Dap DryDex spackle and joint compound

Do-it-yourselfers all over the country face this problem all the time. You’ve filled in those nail holes in the wall with spackle or completed finishing a drywall repair but you’re not sure when to begin sanding and painting. The DryDex line of spackle and joint compound from DAP solves that problem with a unique technology that let’s you know exactly when its ready to sand or paint. DryDex is applied just like ordinary spackle or joint compound, except that this material is pink when it goes on the wall. As it dries, the color changes from pink to white to let you know its dry.

Around the Yard with Tricia Craven Worley:
Planting a Privacy Hedge

Build a Privacy Hedge

A hedge is a beautiful way to enclose a space or create a backdrop in your yard. When choosing shrubs for a hedge, ask your local nursery what types of hedges do well in your area. They will also be able to help you determine proper spacing. Other things to consider are annual maintenance required of the hedge you choose, whether the plant is deciduous or not (if so, the plant will lose its leaves at some point during the year and break down your privacy) and whether it will be a source of infestation



Please Leave a Comment

6 Comments on “Driveways”

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  • michael grimsley Says:
    August 31st, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    My driveway has settled some around the entrance to the garage and is there a way to fill in the places before they get to deep?
    They have settled a little , less then 1inch.Is there a chaulk patch followed by a drive way sealer I could use?
    thank you for your time michael grimsley

  • laura engelstad Says:
    December 14th, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I wrote the comment/question above and haven’t gotten a response from you yet. I wonder if it went out to the wrong address or something. Can you resend it please?
    Thank You,

  • Laura Engelstad Says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    We have a sloped paved driveway that has a lot of damage to the concrete at one of the ends where water seeps up from underneath after a rainy spell. The water then runs down the driveway and into the street. Should we redo the edges of the driveway with pavers so the water can come up without breaking up the cement. Or should we use porous cement (usually intended for water going the other way) so the water can pass through. Or do you have another idea.

  • Ed Ganley Says:
    October 13th, 2007 at 2:27 pm


    I want to seal my concrete drieway. it is about 4yrs old and in very good condition. I have seen information on H&C concrete stain and sealer and would like your oppinion of this product. It says it last a long time but doesn’t say how many years that it will last before it has to be dine again. Also do you know of some other products that I could use to seal my driveway.

    thanks Ed Ganley

  • Jude Says:
    May 21st, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    I have the same kind of driveway and the same problem only deeper. I have some surface area that has gone away and holes have formed. I have consulted a few concrete guys to take a look at it and I get the same answer from them all.. I will have to spend about 3000 to take it all out and redue it.. THERE HAS TO BE A WAY TO FIX THIS… I am not looking currently for a long term fix, I want something asthetic to make it look nice for a while that is cost effective. We are looking to sell our house in the next two years and have a lot of other repairs we wish to spend the money on.. but would like our driveway to look nice as well..

    ANYONE have any ideas on an easy repair that may be temporary??


  • Sheryl Massey Says:
    April 13th, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    We have a pebble based concrete sloping driveway, which has developed cracks, which are bad enough, but now we have rust stains streaking from the cracks. Looks terrible. We presume the reinforcing is rusting, underneath! We live on the east coast of Australia, so I need to know the composition of the products you recommend, as they may not be available in our country. I hope you can help.

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