In the simplest form, asphalt pavement is nothing but rock or stone, gravel, and a binder (asphalt cement). The binder is typically a by-product of crude oil distillation and it plays a major part in maintaining the durability of asphalt. With time, exposure to rain, chemicals, and UV rays may begin to degrade the binder and turn it brittle. Sealcoating is a common maintenance practice used to reduce the rate of deterioration and extend the life of your driveway or parking lot.
What is seal coating?
Sealcoating introduces a protective layer that effectively blocks out elements that causes binder deterioration in Asphalt like oils, water, and UV rays. Sealcoating also provides a slip-resistant surface and also has a deep black finish which beautifies the driveway or parking lot that it is applied on. A Seal coat is a liquid formulation of acrylics or bituminous products that can be applied using a brush, squeegee or spray.
Benefits of seal coating
Regular seal coating helps to prolong the life of an asphalt driveway or parking lot and helps to save lots of money in the long run. With seal coating, you avoid spending thousands of dollars on constructing a new pavement. Applying a seal coat on asphalt prevents water from penetrating the asphalt and helps to accelerate the process of melting snow and ice on the pavement surface.
How is seal coating done?
Seal coating can be applied to an asphalt surface through various methods. The method to be used depends largely on how worn the asphalt surface is. A seal coat can be in the form of a slurry coat. This is a mix of asphalt emulsion, water, and fine sand. Slurry seal coat is commonly used for small community roads and parking lots with mild cases of damage.
Another type of seal coating is a chip seal coat which is a layer of asphalt sealer and aggregate rock that is applied to increase the strength of an asphalt surface. A chip seal coat is applied to surfaces in need of severe repairs on busy roadways. You may also apply a fog seal coating which consists of an emulsified asphalt bitumen that is sprayed in mist form on the asphalt surface. This process is more commonly used for larger roadways since it is the fastest form of seal coating.
When to Sealcoat?
One of the common questions people ask about seal coating is when to seal coat. There is no specific time frame before seal coating is required. How often you seal coat depends largely on how much traffic the road gets, how exposed to the sun it is, and the general climatic condition. Generally, seal coating is recommended every 3-6 years but you can also inspect the asphalt surface yourself to tell if it needs to be seal coated or not. Some of the signs to look out for include gray pavement, loose gravel, cracks, and potholes. When you notice these signs you have to ask questions like “where to find sealcoating near me”.