Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blacking My Driveway

Main lesson learned -- This job should be done in cooler weather!

This is how the driveway looked after my multitudinous patching jobs last summer. The weather failed before I could get the blacktopping completed.

Thanks to Janelle & Jeff for the loan of the power washer. That made the cleaning job much easier.


There were some parts of this job that were very pleasant. After hearing others' stories, I expected to endure the task, but it wasn't bad. I especially liked the gloop-gloop sound of the blacking as I squeegeed it into its spots. I'm not sure why I was tickled (but I was!) when Maggie came out to ask a question and commented how much she liked that sound. Funny!

I am SO glad my Aunt Sue warned me to wear shoes that I can throw in the garbage! I should have done the same thing with the clothes. (She did tell me to wear clothes that would be disposed of, but I forgot to change between the washing and the blacking.)

The muscles in my back aren't so sure they liked this job. If we don't hire out the job when it needs to be repeated in several years, I will do two things differently. First, I think it would be wise to wash down the driveway the evening before. This risks someone eating her dinner on the driveway and leaving mouse guts or bird innards on my freshly washed driveway. But it would be nice to get all or most of the washing finished on the previous day. Second, I would do the job when it's cooler. The instructions say to apply the blacking between 65 and 90°. It was in the low 80s today. With the heat of the previous week, that was too hot: the goop thickened (on its way to drying) too quickly. In the shade of the garage and in the shade of the plum tree -- those were the two places where the goop spread most smoothly and the results were best. The heat is important to the goop cooking/curing/setting. But too much heat while it's being applied makes the work harder and the results less than ideal. As long as you know the temps are likely to climb into the 80s or 90s later in the day, it would be great to start the job at 7 a.m. when the temps are 65-72°.

I assumed I'd have to wear black hose to work on Wednesday, attempting to hide my splotchiness. But after inadvertently blacktopping my feetsies numerous times, I still managed to scrub them clean.


  1. Sealing the driveway is one of my favorite home upkeep jobs. It's almost as good as painting the house! We've had really good results washing the day before we seal. My arms aren't as tired and the sealing goes much faster. Glad you got it finished.

  2. You had to scrub your blasted-by-the-power-washer feet?! I'm beginning to feel sorry for them.

  3. It wasn't bad, Meghan. There wasn't any blacktopping on the part that was cut by the power-washer; that section was covered by a bandaid and the strap of my sandals when I was out splashing around in the tarry stuff.

  4. Hint: kerosene will remove that tarry stuff pronto, and no, it won't hurt your skin.

    Veteran of many tarry visits to the beach.