Surprisingly, many home owners, property owners, and maintenance workers know very little about the important aspect of sealcoating.
Sealcoating is a general term used to describe applying a top coating, or protectant coating of material over an existing asphalt pavement. Asphalt pavement is made up of rock, sand, gravel, and a binding agent to hold it all together. The binding agent is a by-product of the distillation process of certain types of crude oil. As asphalt ages and this by-product breaks down, unfortunately it loses its ability to bind, or hold together. Maintaining this binder is paramount in pavement maintenance. As one would expect, without it, the asphalt will begin to break down. The most common causes of binder degradation are rain, ultraviolet rays from the sun, and chemicals such as antifreeze and car oil.
As asphalt ages and loses this binder, the pavement will start to degrade. When this process begins, a very common warning symptom is piles of small rocks and sand congregating in the low areas in pavement.
To reduce this harmful process from ruining pavement from rain, many people choose to apply a protective layer, or a seal coat, over the pavement to extend the life of the parking lot or driveway and also to prevent degradation. Additionally, when sealcoating products are applied to manufacturers’ specifications, they provide a slip resistant surface with a deep satin black finish which beautifies the parking lot or driveway.
Sealcoating materials are typically either coal-based products or acrylic based emulsions. The sealcoat material is in a liquid-water based formulation of one of the above emulsions, then mixed with water, silica sand, polymer additives, and other fillers and solids to create the final product. The sealcoat can then be applied by several different methods: by brush, spray method, or by squeegee. The process should be performed by a professional.
To properly maintain the pavement at a home or business, a sealcoating maintenance program must be in place. Maintenance will more than double the life of the asphalt, saving the owner hundreds of dollars down the line and making the property look fresh and appealing. Repairing asphalt pavement after it has begun to degrade is expensive, so it is sensible to protect the pavement by sealcoating before any long term damage occurs for only pennies per square foot.
Applying this protectant every two to three years will certainly extend the life of asphalt pavement for a minimal cost compared to replacement or repair. When applied correctly by a professional contractor, sealcoating prevents oxidation, stops weather damage, and beautifies property.