What's the best way to clean & seal a tarmac driveway?

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by howmuch?, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. howmuch?

    howmuch? New Member

    We live in a newish house with the standard tarmac driveway connecting the front door, garage and main road.

    Our cars have leaked quite a bit of oil onto the black tarmac and there's a fair few stains I'd like to remove, or cover.

    From previous posts (by 'Devil's Advocate') I note that Thomsons Drive Seal would probably be good to cover over the marks and will be the same colour, ie, black but do I need to apply anything to remove the oil stains first or will the Thomsons Drive Seal stop then coming through?

    The tarmac's in good condition other than that and drains water well.

    Thanks all
  2. britishblue

    britishblue New Member

    You won't be able to remove the oil stains from tarmac. You may be able to disguise them. The oil reacts with and degrades the tarmac, and enough of it will seriously weaken the tarmac. Tarmac will degrade if contaminated with oil or a thin, oil-derived product such as petrol, diesel or hydraulic/brake fluid. This damage can not be treated.

  3. howmuch?

    howmuch? New Member

    Mmm, so all I can do is just cover-up the marks with the right treatment?
  4. britishblue

    britishblue New Member

    Fairy liquid, a soft broom and lots of water may help to make them less apparent on the surface. However, you won't be able to remove the stains completely.

  5. britishblue

    britishblue New Member

    I said a soft broom but meant to say a stiff broom.

  6. devil's advocate

    devil's advocate New Member

    Hi howmuch?

    As said above, you'll need to remove the oil stains first as Thompson's (and Wickes' own brand) Drive Seal won't stick to it. Also, the oil could slowly degrade the tarmac - it basically acts as a solvent.

    There must be products out there that are designed specifically to clean oil, etc from tarmac - but I don't know what they are... (worth a google search?)

    I'd have thought that the two approaches to removing the stains would be (1) using a solvent (ie: to dissolve and thin the oil and make it easier to remove), and (2) using detergents to chemically break up the oil.

    The problem with using solvents (I'm thinking of products such as white spirits, engine degreaser, paintbrush cleaner, etc) is that they'd be just as likely to dissolve the tarmac bitumen! You could always experiment on any hidden areas if you have them. (The advantage of engine degreaser and brush cleaner is that they are designed to wash away with water afterwards - white spirit, for example, won't).

    I'd be tempted to go the detergent route first, tho'. Fairy Liquid, as mentioned above, with a stiff brush with a little warm water might remove all the surface oil, allowing Drive Seal to adhere properly to what's left.

    Bear in mind, however, that the Drive Seal will probably look 'blacker' than the existing tarmac and, once applied, may need to be re-applied every few years, or so, to keep it looking good! My positive comments on it was with me using it on a really tatty drive (now removed!) to give it a quick 'fix'!
  7. howmuch?

    howmuch? New Member

    Thanks British Bule & Devil's Advocate for your ideas - I think I'll be out with the Fairy Liquid this weekend to start with.

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