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Protect your driveway

Updated April 6, 2020

Solicitors may try to sell a "protective coating" for asphalt driveways. This coating is worthless.

The City's Building and Safety Division recommends properly reinforced concrete as the longest-lasting and best-looking type of driveway.

Proper sealants, however, can extend the life of your asphalt driveway. Do-it-yourselfers can apply a water-based slurry, available at most home-improvement stores, which can be spread with a roller or broom. Although it is inexpensive and easy to apply, this type tends to wear within one or two years, so frequent resealing may be necessary. Additional layers may not adhere well to those underneath.

Qualified contractors can apply an oil-based sealant for you that lasts several times longer. Because it is oil-based, this sealant penetrates and adheres well to old asphalt underneath.

The Building and Safety Division advises that it's usually better to fully replace an old, cracked asphalt driveway than to try to patch it up or reseal it. Properly reinforced concrete is the longest-lasting and best-looking type of driveway.

A City building permit is not necessarily required for open flatwork, such as driveways and patios, but approval from the Planning Division is required.

For more information, visit the Community Development counter on City Hall's second floor, or call (562) 916-1201.

For advice on any home-improvement related project, visit the Building and Safety counter on City Hall's second floor, or call (562) 916-1209. You can also download a copy of "What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor," a free booklet that offers hundreds of tips for choosing a reputable contractor, at

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