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Seal Coating Asphalt

Pavement: Benefits, Costs

Seal coating asphalt driveways, parking lots, and other paved areas is the process of applying a liquid product over an existing existing asphalt pavement in a manner that seals the surface and fills small voids and cracks as protection against the elements. Left unsealed, sunlight, wind, and water will gradually cause asphalt to harden and oxidize, and as it becomes more brittle, cracking can occur. Over the space of a few years, asphalt paving can be seriously damaged if it is not periodically sealed.

Seal coating to prevent the effects of weathering is a seasonal rite for many businesses and homeowners. Sealing crews are a common sight in September and October in colder climates, where sealing can help prevent damage from freezing water as well as salts and road chemicals. Sunlight and wind are also highly damaging to asphalt in warmer climates.

Given the expense and environmental concerns, business owners and homeowners are well-advised to ask themselves just how necessary seal-coating is, and how often they should do it.

How Seal Coating Works

There are different forms of seal coating material, but all methods work by a process of cleaning and patching the existing surface, then coating the entire surface of the asphalt with a liquid sealer that forms an impenetrable barrier once it is dry. With the surface seal coat intact, the underlying asphalt is protected from the effects of water, wind, and sunlight that can degrade and harden the asphalt and cause it to crack and crumble.

Benefits of Seal Coating

  • Extends the life of the driveway and parking lot by preventing the asphalt from hardening and crumbling.

  • It creates an attractive, uniform coat over the pavement, especially if crack and holes are properly filled before seal coating is applied.

  • Sealing protects the driveway from salts, chemicals, and moisture from entering the pavement

  • Seal coats are easy to apply squeegees or sprayers; homeowners or small businesses may be able to do this themselves rather than hiring a firm.

  • Seal coating is a cost-effective way of repairing or surfacing the existing pavement, extending the life of the pavement and driveway.

How Often to Seal-Coat

The seal coating process can is normally first applied one year after the initial pavement has been placed to allow proper cure and wear of the surface. After this, it's recommended that you have driveways and parking lots seal coated every two to three years for normal use, or every year if the pavement experiences heavy traffic.