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I think it's supposed to keep moisture from getting under the pavement. Moisture causes frost heaves, cracking from the heaves and and eventually chunks of tar falling out.
I don't seal my driveway due to its size, (475 ft), and its still in great shape after 15 years. So, it can't hurt, but, it's not totally necessary either, in my opinion.
Dave
 

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I think it's supposed to keep moisture from getting under the pavement. Moisture causes frost heaves, cracking from the heaves and and eventually chunks of tar falling out.
I don't seal my driveway due to its size, (475 ft), and its still in great shape after 15 years. So, it can't hurt, but, it's not totally necessary either, in my opinion.
Dave
I live in mass too and have my buddy seal mine every 2/3 years. He's been in the business for about 20 years. In addition to sealing, he has a machine that melts these rubber blocks and fills in the cracks as well. This keeps water from getting in and freezing and expanding. This is probably the most important part of the whole sealing process.

Our New England driveways take a beating with the weather. I think sealing can extend the life of the asphalt. I also do it because it looks nice when it's sealed.
 

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When I had my driveway paved a few years back, I asked about sealer. He said to me, you don't see them sealing highways do you? So, I guess it's more cosmetic.
 

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You see them coming along every few years and filling cracks in roadways and they do resurface them with a layer of hot liquid asphalt and stone.

They don't seal coat a street as it doesn't stand up to the traffic a roadway has to accommodate. A driveway is a different critter and the seal coating does help it last longer by sealing it and keeping the cracks from getting started.
 

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There are different types of driveway sealers. Many of them are coal tar based, which is not good for asphalt. I use an asphalt based sealer and then only once every 4 or 5 years. Not sure about the newer latex based sealers.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The driveway is pretty much done, caving in everywhere, cracks, and so on. I'm now getting estimate on it redone 6" gravel 3" asphalt. Is sealing necessary on new asphalt, and one place told me sealing isn't necessary new or old it just cosmetic and today sealer don't seal it pretty much paint. The stuff they used in sealer isn't VOC compliant and is just used on airport landing strips not sure if it true or not. Thanks for everyone input so far.
 

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Sealers or paint, looks good for a few months...winter will open up any cracks that you have. Guess this has to do with the asphalt shrinking because of the cold. I have pored gallons of crack sealer down the cracks..However, I will probably fill those same cracks this year...
 

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The driveway is pretty much done, caving in everywhere, cracks, and so on. I'm now getting estimate on it redone 6" gravel 3" asphalt. Is sealing necessary on new asphalt, and one place told me sealing isn't necessary new or old it just cosmetic and today sealer don't seal it pretty much paint. The stuff they used in sealer isn't VOC compliant and is just used on airport landing strips not sure if it true or not. Thanks for everyone input so far.
If I had to have a new driveway it's be concrete. It'll be more costly but it will last way longer.
 

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One guy who paves driveways told me it's just paint. Whether it stops water or not is irrelevant -- you will always have water underneath the surface, and it will move and heave causing your surface to crack. Tree roots can also be a contributor. If you go concrete the slabs will move in relation to each other. You can't chain Mother Earth.
 

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Another opinion

My home driveway is partially concrete around the house and garage and it is original concrete circa 1978. It shows it age but no major cracks. The 150 foot by 22 foot asphalt driveway was laid on top of compacted stone in 1997. It's been sealed every five years by yours truly using big box latex based sealer and it didn't help much with some spider web like cracks. It tried sealing the cracks with gallon jugs of crack filler which became a scene from a comedy act because the cracks were so extensive and widespread. The asphalt has not broken up but if a driveway can be compared to a sun worshipper's face it is pretty dried up and looks like a prune. Water seeps through the cracks and further exacerbates cracks.

Fast forward to 2013. I am the President of giant scale RC model flying club and our paved runway (mid 1990's) had too many cracks to safely fly some the giant scale planes and turbine jets off of without damaging the landing gear. So, we hired a professional paving company to tear up the old runway (but not taxi ways) and widen and extend the runway to 500 feet by 40 feet. The paving advise sealing the pavement every other year and have it done by a professional who uses hot asphalt and preps the runway by sealing cracks with a infrared heater. Remember, this is from a paving company that only does commercial work.

DRAIN TILES WORKED BETTERN AFTER NEW PAVEMENT WAS SPREAD
We have drainage lines under the runway on its south side and half of the water it picks up drains to east and half drains to the west. Before repaving, very little water could be seen running out the buried drain tiles. The water just soaked through the cracks and into the ground under and around the runway. After repaving the water hits the runway and drains to slightly sloped runway onto the grass edge on the south. The runoff water being shuttled to the grass area above the in-ground drain lines / tiles.

Here is my take on sealing. Without sealing the cracks sealing is merely cosmetic. The damage comes from the water underneath the pavement that seeps through the cracks, freezing and thawing which destroys the driveway.

Bill
 

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Thinking that while the surface is significant part of the equation affecting frost heaving, the base is important too. Wondering what kind of soil you have underneath and the overall slope and layout (does it drain, or collect and hold the water?)..

As people are saying, the more water you have getting (but also staying) under the driveway, the more it will beat up (and eventually crumble) the asphalt when it freezes.

So many people rely on sealer as bandaid to cover poor design. If I were fortunate enough to be asking this question when I was rebuilding, I would focus first on the bones, then worry about the skin.

[/my_2cents ]
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I was told by one company that cement driveway doesn't expand and contract that cement can crack more than asphalt. Does anyone think with a base of 6" of gravel under the asphalt will help prevent cracking and the gravel will let the water under the asphalt work it way away from the asphalt instead of staying there freezing then expanding?
 
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