Alleyway Sealing FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are immediate benefits from sealing the alleyway?

Long life protection of the alleyway road surface and a SMOOTH alleyway free from pebbles and rocks.  When you drive your car into your garage when it’s raining, you won’t pull all those rocks into the garage with your tires!!  When the kids ride their bikes or run in the alleyway, they won’t slip on gravel and the CUTS won’t have embedded pebbles in them.  When you wash your car, the pebbles stick to the bottom of your wet shoes.  So the pebbles get dragged into the house or into your CLEAN car.

When do we need to complete the work to seal the alleyway?  

It needs to be done in SUMMER!  Why?  Because it has to be warm enough for the sealing to dry and harden correctly.  It cannot be done in winter, so we should look to complete the work between May and October-ish.

Why do we need to seal the alleyway anyway?

Sealing the alleyway will protect it for many more years.  If we do nothing it will eventually turn into a gravel road.  If we wait and do not seal it, the cost to fix it is about 5 times more expensive than sealing.  You can verify this by calling Tyson at Dryco Construction800.378.2177.   Dryco is located here in Fremont.

Will the road be torn up?

NO, the process of sealing only puts down a thin layer of sand and oil mixture.  The road grade will not change and drainage will not change.  The purpose of sealing the alley will prevent the alleyway from being torn up.

Where can I learn more about this?

I contacted several contractors last year.  Here are two that are reputable:  Dryco Construction  and American Asphalt.  Feel free to call and ask questions.

Why are all the little rocks in the alleyway?

The alleyway has not been maintained since it was originally put in.  It is experiencing a condition called raveling, where the top-layer of small rocks is being eroded away by water.  The sun breaks down the top layers (oil that holds the road together) and the rains wash the small pebbles away.  This will continue to happen until the larger rocks start to break free.

What is sealer or sealing?

Sealer is an oil and sand emulsion. It utilizes the same oil that is used in asphalt. It is a very thin product designed to protect the oil in your asphalt from sun and water damage. Sun damage causes the oil to bake out, water damage causes the oil to deteriorate thereby allowing the fine material in the asphalt to break free. As the fine material is washed out, larger aggregate (rocks) will start to break free as well. This is called raveling and it is what we have in our alleyway.   Seal coating generally costs $0.15 per foot to $0.75 per foot depending on size, shape and condition.

If you need to put down new asphalt, it is called an overlay and is about 5x more expensive at $1.50 to $3.00 per foot.  This involves placing 1.5” to 2.0” of asphalt over the existing road.  We are not doing this procedure, nor do we want to – too expensive!!!

Who owns the alleyway?

I’m not 100% sure of the exact legal definition.  If someone could look into this further, I’d be much appreciated.  I have asked that question on the Ardenwood Yahoo Group, and never received an answer.  Not really sure, but I believe it is considered an easement, either the city owns it or we own it.  But regardless, we’re responsible for it.  For example, the city does not maintain or take care of the alleyway.  That is why it is not being swept by city street cleaners or maintained with city resources.

Will the alleyway need to be closed during sealing?

Unfortunately, yes, the alleyway will need to be blocked off for about 2-3 days.  That includes the day they work on the alleyway and a day or two after to allow for it to dry.  Also, on the Falstaff side of the alleyway there are some trailers and very nice BMW, those will have to be moved, providing enough residents on that end of the alleyway pay to have the alleyway sealed.

Might cracks and oil spots reappear quickly?

Larger cracks will be treated with Duro-Flex crack sealer to prevent from reappearing.  In the alleyway by our house, there are hardly any oil spots, so I would think they would not reappear quickly.  Even if they do, the purpose is to have a road that will last a long time.

Might the pebbles be appearing from someone’s backyard?

The alleyway has large rocks showing through, if you look at the road infront of the homes, they do not look like that.  The large rocks show that the alleyway is eroding.  We should go look at it and I’ll be happy to show you the difference between the alleyway and the street (Montague Road) by the alleyway.

How will we pay the contractor?

I can think of at least 2 ways, one is one person pays and we pay that person.  Another way is to use a group payment online service like,, or  If someone has experience with one of those services please let us know.

Couldn’t we just clean up the pebbles?

Of course – just do it!  However, it will still not solve the problem of larger rocks showing through in road surface of the alleyway.

You have quotes, I would like to see them, how do I get a hold of them?

I didn’t want to post them on the web because of personal information, shoot me an email and I’ll fwd them to you.

Wouldn’t it be better to seal the whole alleyway?

My daughter added this question…  She asked what happens when you drive in the rain on the un-sealed section and then drive to the sealed section?  Wouldn’t the tires from the car drag rocks to the sealed side?  She is absolutely correct!!  It would, and therefore we should look to pave the entire alleyway!

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