Asphalt pavement to keep it in simple terms is primarily rock and/or stone and gravel along with a binder. The rock or aggregate is held together with this binder also known as asphalt cement. The binder is created from the distillation process of certain crude oils. Maintaining this binder is essential in prolonging the deterioration of asphalt surfaces. Rain, U.V. rays, and chemicals as they are introduced into the asphalt will degrade the binder and thus begin the degradation process of the asphalt and will create a surface that turns brittle. To reduce the effects of these elements, it is important to implement a maintenance program that utilizes sealcoating to extend the life of your parking lot or driveway.
Sealcoating will provide a layer of protection blocking out the elements of water and oils and U.V. damage. In addition, when applied to manufacturers’ specifications, sealcoating provides a slip resistant surface with a deep black finish that beautifies the parking lot or driveway as well. Oxidation and water penetration are the leading causes of asphalt pavement failure. The sun’s ultraviolet rays break down the asphalt binder that holds the pavement together. Moisture that is allowed to enter cracks in pavement will erode the base, causing potholes and general pavement breakup. Moisture also penetrates the pores of the pavement causing further erosion as well as freeze-thaw damage.
Sealcoats are typically bituminous based products or acrylics. The sealcoat is in a liquid formulation of one of the above emulsions mixed with water, silica sand, polymer additives and other proprietary fillers and solids. These products can be applied by brush, spray or squeegee. A regularly scheduled sealcoating program will more than double the life of the asphalt saving you significant dollars down the line. Instead of having to pay thousands of dollars for new pavement, it is more cost effective to spend only pennies on the dollar per square foot to maintain.
When applying a sealcoating product, follow the important steps referenced below to get the most protection and optimum performance. A minimum of two coats should be applied. Temperatures must be a minimum of 50 degrees and rising for a period of not less than 24 hours. Do not apply when temperatures are forecasted to get below the 50 degree mark. Also, do not apply if rain is imminent within the same 24 hour period. Once finished with the application of sealcoat, allow to cure 24 hours before allowing vehicle traffic back on the surface.
To summarize, sealcoating every two to three years will certainly extend the life of your asphalt pavement for minimal cost. When applied appropriately and at the right time, sealcoating prevents oxidation, sealcoating stops weather damage and sealcoating beautifies pavement.