We no longer offer a sealing service, and, as this is something we feel quite strongly about, we would like to explain why. Please note that the following explanation is based on our opinion alone. This opinion has been formed from, and informed by, our own experience of applying sealers to driveways and patios over a number of years.
The way sealers are marketed gives the impression to prospective customers that once the sealer has been applied, driveways and/ or patios will be virtually maintenance free for years to come. In our experience this just isn’t the case. Dirt, muck and detritus won’t get through sealer unless it starts to crack or peel (which can and does happen), but it will sit on top of the sealer, will settle in any cracks or joints that have sealer in them and, over time, weeds and moss will grow in this dirt. We have seen sealed driveways where there has been a thin layer of green algae over at least 50% of the surface, and that was on top of the moss growing in the joints. Unless customers are willing to go outside and wash down their driveway or patio with a hose, as well as brushing off all the dirt and leaves every month or two, then the sealed surface will start to look dirty, will have dirt and muck in the joints and cracks, and eventually will have moss and weeds growing on that dirt. Doesn’t this rather defeat one of the main selling points in having your driveway or patio sealed in the first place?
Another important point to remember is that weeds can and do grow through sealer. Admittedly, they are slowed down and may not be as prolific, but a fair few will fight through eventually.
There will, of course, be strong advocates who maintain that the use of sealers is highly beneficial, particularly those with a vested interest in their success, i.e., the manufacturer of sealants, or contractors who apply it as a service. Some companies in favour may argue that those companies, such as mine, who question the claims made for sealants either haven’t applied the sealer properly or done so in the right conditions. Answering for our company, this really isn’t the case. The manufacturer’s guidelines were always followed to the letter for what is, after all, not a particularly difficult job.
Sealers are expensive, even the budget versions you can get from your local DIY center are not a particularly cheap option. Our company has not used them on any of our jobs but feedback from customers who have applied them is that they rarely last longer than 6 months before further maintenance is needed.
Mid-range sealers can cost between £80-£120 pounds per drum, and that is the cost to the contactor. In the way of normal business practice, most contractors add a few pounds on to the cost of the product, which is then passed on to the customer. While these sealers are supposed to last between 3-5 years, in our experience, the reality its more like 1-2 years.
Top of the range sealers are what should be used if the customer is keen to use a sealant, but these can cost about £200-£250 per drum. The effect is supposed to last up to 5 years. This is hugely expensive considering that on an average 2-3 car driveway, 2-3 drums of product would be needed. This means a materials cost of between £500-£750 even before the cost of cleaning the driveway/patio is included.
This is why we no longer offer a sealing service. Customer expectation can be high and we have too often found that sealing does not live up to this. Again, in our experience sealing isn’t an effective way to maintain your driveway, as the costs far outweigh the benefits. Our aim, first and foremost, is focused upon keeping a good reputation and this does not include promoting a service we don’t really believe in or feel is beneficial to our customers.