Lets face it for jobs that you have to do around your home sealing your driveway comes in just after cleaning out a clogged toilet in the level of nastyness. Even if you wear old clothes and try to protect yourself you are going to have little specs of latex or oil based material all over yourself by the time you are done and the job is not that easy if you are doing it with a roller vs a professional sprayer.
For this reason the cost of hiring someone can tend to get attractive but how much can you save if you are doing it yourself?
For an average sized driveway you will need to purchase the following materials.
$15 – 20 A heavy Paint Roller and Applicators
$15 Optional brush and squeegee.
$20 to $40 per 5 gallon container that can cover about 300 square feet or a 15×20 foot area. Remember when you buy crack filler asphalt in a 5 gallon can you are basically buying 1/3 a can of sand.. its not a very good deal unless you need sand for a grip area where you walk in the winter.
$7 per tube Optional Crack Sealer
$5 for a Caulk Gun if you don’t have one.
Total cost for an average driveway will come in at about $80
Hiring a professional
Some contractors are dedicated to only providing driveway sealing services but most landscaping companies and lawn care services that are not a national chain will also offer the service in the fall or as needed.
Materials should be provided by your contractor unless you are hiring the kid down the street. Most contractors use spray equipment and a large 250 gallon tank so they can service a few driveways without need to return for more supplies.
There are two methods of application that a professional uses.
Mop application is normally used around the edges of the driveway top provide a 1 foot wide strip so the sprayer will not need to go near your home or street curb.
Spray application is applied through a wand sprayer that can cover large areas in just a single pass.
Border protection is very important and the contractor should use plastic tarp or panels to protect your garage door and walls from overspray.
The total cost for an average driveway can be between $100 and $200 including materials.
As you can see the price of hiring a professional is about 2 to 3 times that of doing the work yourself.
If you have a small single wide driveway less then 50 feet long and can get a good deal from your contractor it may be worth hiring it out vs doing the work yourself.
Asphalt vs Latex Emulsion is the primary problem when hiring a contractor to do the work.
While using a Asphalt solution is less expensive for you and the contractor a Latex Emulsion material will allow you to drive on your driveway within a day rather then having to wait a good 36 to 48 hrs for asphalt to cure.
Another problem with hiring a contractor is that the application of material is normally very light. They will often spray just enough material to cover the driveway rather then mop or flood spray the area hard enough to really fill deep cracks and improve the surface protection.
What you may be left with is a driveway that looks good for a couple months but does not have the protection from water and ice damage of winter.
Doing it yourself lets you know the work was done right … however watching the contractor as the work is completed will also ensure you get a sealed driveway rather then a lightly painted one.