Sealing Driveways and Roads

I live in a new townhouse community in Myrtle Beach, SC, where we have 256 units and the roads were paved about 18 months ago. My question is, do we need to sealcoat surfaces now, as the pavers who do this work say we should? The cost is over $20,000. When I lived in New Jersey, the company that repaved my 20-year-old blacktop driveway said not to sealcoat (and reminded me that public road crews don't even do this to shared city streets) and I wonder whether the local company is just trying to guarantee a job for themselves. -- Dennis K.

It's very unlikely that well-made, paving surfaces will need sealing this early on. Do a little investigating by making an appointment with the township's engineer (who would've had to approve your community's paving plan in the first place) and see what they think of the seal-coating proposal you've received. The engineer should be able to review your site's plans and determine an appropriate maintenance schedule for the development's roadways. This'll also give you the opportunity to dig into plans for the overall site, and determine any particular areas where eventual maintenance attention may be required.

As for driveways, Seal-coating typically lasts from two to eight years, depending on climate and surface use.  Whether you need it or not, depends on how well your "road" was put down in the first place.  Since driveways are not typically as think and sturdy as paved streets, they do tend to need more TLC as time goes by.

Tom Kraeutler is the host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and the Home Improvement Editor for AOL. For more tips, sign up for Tom's free e-newsletter here. Tom's latest book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, is available in bookstores everywhere and online.