Beware the Fly-by-Night Sealers

Beware the fly-by-night sealers: With unfortunate regularity, every spring and fall unscrupulous itinerants who provide very inferior work using substandard or bogus materials travel through our area and take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners.

Essentially their pitch goes like this: "Good afternoon. We've just completed a job around the corner and have enough material left on the truck to do your driveway. Because of the proximity of your house and the fact that we have the materials and manpower at hand, we can make you a special, low offer."

While you might receive such an offer from an established legitimate contractor, the chances are good that you are dealing with someone who will not use sealer at all but will spread used motor oil or something similar on the driveway. The first rain will wash off the "sealer" and you will be left with nothing but a mess in your yard.

Most legitimate contractors will have a company sign on the doors of their truck. Their company names will probably appear in the local newspaper, flyers and online.

Sealing or coating the top of an asphalt driveway with protective materials (Black Mac) is the most effective way to extend its life. Without sealers your driveway may deteriorate and need replacement within 15 years; with them, its life can be prolonged indefinitely.

The asphalt in the driveway is vulnerable to oxidation, ultraviolet sunlight and gas and oil spillage. In addition, water that penetrates through cracks in the surface can lead to deterioration from the bottom. A good sealer will combine with the pavement and act both as a renewable layer that can be sacrificed to the elements and as a deterrent to water penetration