Wednesday, September 25, 2013

That Was a Wheely Good Time.

I know, the title's a bit of a stretch, but bear with me.  Today, we're talking about driveways!  Please, calm yourself, I know you're excited.

Last month, I decided that the driveway desperately needed to be sealed.  Never mind that it hadn't been done in the 6 years we've lived in the house, or had even really been on my DIY radar.  August hit, and I needed it done, and I needed it done NOW.

So neglected.

I started researching the various methods of DIY driveway sealing, and knew that I needed to do some serious prep work before I could even think about getting to the sealer.  The year we moved in, I did use indoor/outdoor caulk to seal the line where the foundation of the house met the driveway.  Certain areas tend to pool with water when it rains, and I didn't feel the need to have a pool in the basement.  I'm not Donald Trump.

Six years later, that caulk was peeling up, so I ripped it out.  Took all of about 2 minutes.  Done.

Gross caulk.  Came right out.

I went to Home Depot (Sorry Lowe's, I enjoy you, but you lost out on this one), as they had a fairly new product for consumer use there...tar on a rope.  This tar was literally a pile of rope with plastic flammable film wrapped around it.  Time to fire up the butane torch.  Yesssss. 

Rope tar...officially known as Pli-Stix.

Problem one occurred shortly after firing up the torch.  While the directions and website tutorials give great instruction on the actual process of using this rope tar, they leave out the fact that you do need an attachment for your torch that allows you to leave the propane canister sitting upright while you wave your wand of fire around melting pools of tar.  Without it, the torch kept sputtering out every time I tipped it at an angle to melt the rope.  Back to Home Depot I went for the $15 attachment.  Once this problem was solved, the business of playing with fire really got serious.  I burned the house.  Whoops.  Solution?  Paint over it with driveway sealer.  Bingo!  Yep, I'm a professional problem solver.

Burnt the wall.  Rut ro.

Problem Solved.

Once I ran out of my 60 feet of rope tar, I turned to my big jug of crack filler.  (Feel free to insert your own inappropriate crack filler jokes here.  There's too many running through my head to pick just one.) I used this to fill the smaller cracks on various parts of the driveway.  I probably could have used about 5 gallons of this stuff if I took the time to fill every. single. crack., but I didn't.  This driveway isn't going to be completely saved by my novice skills.  Its life has just been slightly extended.

I forgot to take a picture of this stage.  You can look at Puppy Margot, instead.

There was also one part of our driveway that had seriously eroded and crumbled, leaving a huge pothole.  When it rained, this filled up with about 3-4 inches of standing water- it came up to my ankles.  Not good.  I bought seven bags of asphalt patch, and got to work.  Each bag was dumped in separately, and tamped down with an asphalt tamper.  (Not really sure if that's the actual name of the tool, but we're sticking with it.)  Our former neighbor had double sets of all of her tools when she and her husband got married several years ago, so I got to be on the receiving end of a few things.  Free stuff is awesome!!

Falling apart.  Big time.

Seven bags of patch later...

After tamping the patch down by hand, Dave and I put a few boards over it, and drove the car back and forth on it a bunch of times to pack it down even more.  We probably could have used a few more bags, but I'm not a professional, and I'm not sure we could have made it completely even, anyway.  This fix was just to slow the crumbling speed of the whole driveway.

Once all of these fun jobs were done, the waiting game began.  The directions for the patch stated that we should wait at least two weeks for it to cure before putting sealer on it.  Tick, tock, tick tock.

DING!  The sealer was the easiest part of all.  Pure painting, nothing more.  I used a brush to cut in the edges while Dave used a roller on a long stick to cover the rest of the driveway.  (If your driveway isn't smooth, and has pits/eroded areas, use the roller, not the squeegee recommended by the sealer companies.  It's much easier.)  Pretty easy work....and then disaster struck.  In the form of rain.  The forecast had predicted a 30% chance of "spotty showers" for late in the afternoon.  The reality?  Downpours at 1:00pm.  Half the driveway washed down the sidewalk and into the street.  Damn it.

Tape up those edges that you don't want sealer on!

Stealth shot.

Sooo...we waited a few days for clear skies, brought out the roller again, and repainted the sealer onto the front half of the driveway that hadn't been dry when the rain hit.  Our driveway is now dark and beautiful, with a hint of roughness to it...much like Idris ElbaHello, Sir.

If you're looking for a supply list rundown, here it is:

4 large buckets of Latexite Airport Grade Sealer
2 packages of 30 ft. Pli-Stix (rope tar)
1 butane torch
1 wand attachment for torch
1 3/4 nap roller
1 3 inch brush (cheap, for cutting in)
7 bags SuperPatch (50 lb bags)
1 patch tamper
1 jug crack filler
Rubber gloves

These supplies covered my entire driveway, which is the made for the width of one car, and is probably about 60 feet long.  My estimate of the driveway is that it is about 500 sq feet.  Without the rain, we would have used probably 2.5 buckets of sealer, but we ended up using almost 4 complete buckets by the time we were done.  I'll be asking my local weatherman for a $30 reimbursement on the extra sealer used due to the rain. 

Done.  Not as nice as a new driveway, but better than it looked last month!

As I close this post, I'd like to give a huge shoutout to my husband, regardless of the fact that he does not read my posts.  He says, "I was there, I don't need a play by play of how we did the project".  Bless his heart for:
               A: Not getting in my way when I'm on a DIY roll, and
               B. Lending a hand when I ask him for his muscles.  High fives for fantastic husbands!  (And sealed driveways...that comes in at a close second;)

Happy Hump Day, peoples!

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