What's new
What's new

OT - Best driveway sealer?

J Lauffer

Hot Rolled
Feb 9, 2004
Attleboro, MA, USA
Need to get my ashault driveway sealed, and seem to have found 3 different types: asphault emulsion, coal tar emulsion, and asphault rejuvenation. From the research I've done on-line, asphault emulsion is the worst, coal tar is better and is the most popular, but not sure about this asphault rejuvenation sealer, or ARS. Can't find much on it, other than the websites of companies that do it, and of course they say it is the best (example: www.petermarchand.com; got this guy coming over tonight to give an estimate). One concern is that ARS is just a different name for asphault emulsion, in which case I would go with the coal tar.


driveway sealers

I've worked with asphalt sealers for some 40 years. yikes i'm old:cryin:

Asphalt emulsions; waste of time and money, cheap way to get your driveway black. Will be dissolved by gasoline spills.:eek:

Coal tar emulsions; good product if properly applied. No more than 40% water dilution. Make sure contractor blend sand with with emulsion. Coal tar emulsion wear out fast under heavy traffic. Should last 4 years or more on home drive. Check with local suppliers, (yellow pages under asphalt sealers.) They can recommend good contractors. Suppliers can give you recommended blend specs, how much water, sand and additives, etc.

Asphalt Rejuvenators; This is a penetrating solvent based material with coal tar blended in. Rejuvenators are the best choice, also the most $$$. All good rejuvenators must conform to Engineering Brief #44. This is a FAA document which set specs for use on airport runways. Google the title to find a copy.

Because rejuvenators penetrate the surface they do not wear as fast. We would re coat parking lots after 5 or 6 years. They also restore flexibility to old asphalt lengthening it's useful life.

Hope this helps
Thanks spangler, that is exactly what I was looking for. Got a quote of $803 for the rejuvenator, but almost half of that cost was actually the prep work...powerwashing, sealing cracks, patching a few spots, etc. Still waiting on the coal tar quote.


Glad the info was helpful.

The coal tar emulsion should be cheaper but would still be my second choice.

Rejuvenators can soften some crack fillers, which may lead to tracking problems. I would ask your contractor if he's going to crackseal before or after the rejuvenator application. I did cracksealing after application. This allowed the rejuvenator to get in the cracks and provide a good bond for the crack sealent. Check also if he is going to use hot or cold pour crack sealent. Hot pour sealents are prefeable in nothern climates.


P.S. I did most of my sealer work in Cincinnati. I got sick of snow, ice and seemingly endless winters.:crazy: Moved south where winters are short, although I've seen some pretty big flakes here.:D
How big is your drive?

Just curious about the basic cost per square foot.

I think I should look into the ARS this year. I have about 3700 Sq.Ft.
spangler, I know he uses Flex-A-Fill for sealing cracks (is it good stuff?), but I'll have to ask if he does it before or after.

ARB, my driveway is about 1900 sq. ft., so about $0.42 per. For just powerwashing and ARS it would have been about $0.30 per sq. ft. (knew I should have done this a few years ago, before the cracks showed up :D)

I checked the guys website. He appears to be a quality contractor, should do a fine job for you. Flex A Fill is a good product. The price is quite reasonable given today's increased costs.

Does anyone have a brand name for these asphalt rejuvenators? I was planning to do my driveway this summer. The last time I did it, I bought the 'best' Home Depot had. It seemed to last only about 3 years.
About 25 years ago I had a bunch of flat black high temperature paint that I picked up at a wood stove factory auction that we did not want, so we gave it away to employees to get rid of it. A couple of guys used it to seal their driveways, they said that it worked great!
Well call me crazy but.

Many years ago somebody (we won't name names here) (me) left a half
full can of alkyd house paint in the weeds by the garage. Then some complete
and utter moron (no names please) (me) drove OVER the can with the
lawnmower while trying to cut back the vegitation encroaching on the

What can I say, it was a bad day and I was in a foul mood when I started.

Even worse mood when I finished the 'job.'

But the point is, that spot on the driveway that got, err... coated, has really
stood up amazingly well. Makes a guy think.

Mow safe, guys.

OK, Here is a better one. 30 years ago, My first wife [right before we were married] while in grad school needed some summer work, she and my younger sister went around offering to paint houses and got a job from a guy to paint his kitchen. They had no idea what they were doing but being hot young chicks has its advantages. the guy was super fussy and also hit on my sister who then quit. Now ex was in a panic to get the job done. I went over to help her finish up. Had to use the bathroom, while I was " busy" ex was out in garage opening seveal gallons cans of paint, owner is aparently upset that I am there and storms out, jumps in his new Caddy and backs out, of course right over the 3 gallons of paint that explodes all over his car, newly painted garage, and brand new driveway and he takes off leaving white tracks down the street. Now ex is freaking out and I am still "busy" in the can and now am thinking the owner was attacking her or something. I dart out of bathroom with my pants half pulled up! anyways the mess was impressive. Luckly it was latex, so we got the hose and scrub brush and soap and scrubbed everything , first the garge then the drive then the street. by the time we got to the street the paint was pretty much dry! We cleaned up, finished the painting and left, expecting to get sued. I think he paid if I recalled, but the white tire tracks were visible for at least 10 years in the street.

Asphalt rejuvenators are only applied by contractors who are certified and trained by the manufacturer.

They are applied at a very precise rate, less than 1 gal per sq yard, this requires special equipment. Being solvent based, over application can actually dissolve the asphalt binder.


What you purchased at H/D was probably premixed coal tar emulsion. Three years is a reasonable life span.

One additional point, most Rejuvenators can NOT be applied over coal tar emulsion sealers. The solvents in rejuvenators will soften the coal tar into a sticky, black gooey mess that can take days or weeks to dry. :eek:

Speaking of mishaps. We had just finished sealing a large section of a shopping mall lot. A young punk on a motorcycle blows through the barricades onto the wet sealer. Needless to say, immediate loss of traction.:D The punk, the bike, and oh yea his well endowed girlfriend ( tight shorts and even tighter t shirt) go sliding and rolling through the wet sealer.

The sealer is water soluble until it drys. Sooo.. whats a gentleman to do but offer to wash the sealer off with the water hose we just happen to have on the truck. Unfortunately (for them) this is a high pressure unit that we use to wash down the the pavement.;)

The punk was the first target, took a lot of diligent spraying to get the sealer off.:D We were more gentle with the girlfriend. Poor young girl standing there soaked to the skin being leered at by six guys. The best part was when she took her helmet and cold cocked her boyfriend for being such a dumb ass.:D:D

I love this site!

Gotta love it! Last night Peter Marchand (the guy that I got to quote the ARS) called me because someone else was looking for a guy to seal a driveway and came across this thread and called him to get a quote (hopefully I'll get some kind of referral bonus :D).

So he gave me a call to say that he loved the site and that spangler was dead-on about everything except one point...in his first post he said that rejuvenators have coal tar blended in. The stuff Peter uses does not (maybe others do), and he just wanted to make sure I knew that.

Hi John

Gilsonite is the one brand of rejuvenator that I have not used. Each manufacturer has his own formulation, they all accomplish the same effect.

This contractor's website shows he is serious about doing a quality job. Read the section "Say no to coal tar" it gives good insight into the benefits of rejuvenators vs emulsions.

Just an update...I got the coal tar estimate and it's only $225, but that is basically for the sealer only, no prep work like the other guy, other than "blowing off" the driveway. So basically the ARS itself is about twice as much as the coal tar. Going to go with the ARS.

Also, spangler, I did talk to Peter about whether he fills cracks before or after the ARS is put down. He said he does it before, otherwise the wheels of the crack-filling machine will leave marks on the driveway.


The price of $225 sounds about right for a "blow and go" sealer job. Some of these driveway guys are what we called "black water artist". They buy a hundred gallons of emulsion concentrate and use it all week, no matter how many jobs they do.:)

The ARS contractor is going to do crack filling, which is critical in northern climates. I think you made the right choice. Re. the crack filler before sealing; this guy knows his material and knows what works.

Some rejuvenators ( about 4 or 5 major brands) have a higher solvent content and affect crack fillers differently. The rejuvenator work i did was large commercial lots and airport work. Our large commercial melters used a heated wand to pump sealer into the cracks.


Water soluble "latex" sealers are usually coal tar emulsions with a thicking chemical (latex) added allowing higher water content. Some companies sell a latex "sealer" which is a modified water base paint. It is normally used on tennis courts. I have seen them used on home drive ways where the home owner wanted a colored drive. The ones I have used, on tennis courts, are very tricky to apply evenly. Not sure of the wear properties under car traffic.

One point I must make on any coal tar emulsion job, whether you do it yourself or have it done. Sand MUST be used, either blended into the material or broadcast on top of the wet sealer. Without the sand sealer becomes very slippery when wet. Rejuvenators do not need sand because they maintain the surface texture of the pavement.

What do you guys think about a "chip and oil" job. I was told it will totally resurface the pavement and add about 3/8 to 1/2 inch of material. I am not really sure whats involved.
spangler, thank you so much for helping me arrive at the right decision (at least right for me...others might opt for something else). Not sure which way I would have gone without your guidance.

Love this site!


"Chip and oil" or "chip seal" is when liquid asphalt is sprayed with a truck mounted distributor, covered with washed and sized gravel and then compacted with a roller. This process used to be quite common "back in the day":) It was cheap and could be done with unskilled labor. Remember Paul Newman in the movie "Cool Hand Luke".

The increase in the price of liquid asphalt, tied directly to the price of oil, has made it economically unfeasible. It needs to be redone regularly as the chips break loose and wash into the gutters. Small towns around Cincinnati did it for years. The constant recoating and traffic would eventually cause a crown to build up. The center of the street would be 12' to 18" higher than the gutters or curbs.:eek: Call in the bulldozers, scrap it level and start over.

The viability of this type of paving is intirely dependant on the underlying surface. Frost heaving can create a very rough road in short order. It may still be used in low traffic or rural areas but have not seen it in years.