Owning asphalt pavement, be it an asphalt driveway or a spacious parking lot, comes with certain responsibilities. One term that frequently pops up is ‘sealcoating’. Some may wonder, “What is sealcoating? Is it necessary? What does sealcoating cost?” This expanded post seeks to answer these queries, giving you a better understanding of asphalt maintenance.
Sealcoating, in simplest terms, is a concoction of liquids and fine solids (like sand grains) that bestow protective and rejuvenative qualities to asphalt surfaces. The mixture is typically composed of different quantities of dissolved asphalt, mineral fillers, and water. It’s applied with a squeegee, a broom, or sprayed onto the asphalt surface.
The engineering behind sealcoat employs oils and materials that are frequently used in asphalt paving. When applied on the asphalt surface, the oils from the sealcoat permeate downward, replenishing the exhausted asphalt oils and binders that have dried up over time. Concurrently, the minuscule particles of asphalt, sand, and minerals plug the small cracks and crevices between the pieces of aggregate. This fills up the gaps, smoothing and leveling the pavement surface.
Replenishing the oils and filling the cracks, the asphalt pavement often appears nearly as good as new. The sealcoat also forms a protective layer, creating a barrier between the asphalt pavement and harmful elements such as UV rays, water penetration, chemicals, and traffic abrasion.
Why is Sealcoating Necessary for Asphalt Surfaces?
Asphalt pavement constitutes about 95% aggregate – small particles of gravel and sand. The remaining 5% comprises the actual asphalt (also called bitumen), which is a sticky, oily, black substance that binds together the gravel and sand particles. When the pavement is fresh, the asphalt oils remain supple, giving the pavement its flexibility. Over time, these oils undergo oxidation, making the asphalt less flexible and more brittle. This process is equivalent to asphalt acting like caulk which dries up over time.
Moreover, the reduced volume of asphalt binder exposes the tiny gravel particles on the surface, leading them to loosen and separate from the pavement. This phenomenon is known as raveling.
Applying sealcoat reintroduces the asphalt oils, thereby restoring some of the pavement’s original flexibility. It also covers and safeguards the exposed aggregate, thereby preventing raveling. In essence, sealcoating is a crucial part of pavement maintenance, acting as a protective layer over your asphalt driveway or parking lot.
Understanding the Cost of Sealcoating
Sealcoating offers an affordable solution to prolonging the life of your asphalt pavement. Comparatively, new asphalt paving costs an average of $2.25 per square foot, while sealcoating costs average around $0.12 per square foot. Regular maintenance of asphalt pavement with sealcoat can extend its life to about 30 years, saving property owners a considerable sum.
Below is a practical example: consider the George S. Eccles Ice Center’s parking lot. Before the application of sealcoat, the lot showed signs of wear and tear. After the application by Top Job Asphalt, the parking lot appeared nearly new, demonstrating the transformative and protective power of sealcoat.
If you need additional information about sealcoating, asphalt paving, or maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free estimate! Utilize sealcoating as your trusted driveway sealer and guard against potential asphalt cracks and other forms of damage. Remember, whether it’s a parking lot or an asphalt driveway, sealcoating is a thin sealer that goes a long way in extending the life of your asphalt surfaces.
Sealcoating: Understanding the Process
Sealcoating is not merely about spraying or applying a layer of protective coating; it’s a process that requires expertise and careful attention. To fully understand the value and intricacies of sealcoating, let’s take a detailed look at how the process unfolds.
The initial step before sealcoating is a thorough inspection of the asphalt surface. This step identifies areas with asphalt cracks and deterioration. Once the problematic areas have been identified, the process of cleaning begins. With the help of outdoor power equipment, the entire asphalt surface is thoroughly cleaned to remove debris, dirt, and any loose aggregate. At times, a stiff bristle brush may also be used for cleaning stubborn areas.
Once cleaning is complete, the surface is ready for repairs. Areas with asphalt cracks are filled with a hot or cold asphalt like caulk, followed by application of a primer to ensure better adhesion of the sealcoat. These steps are vital in maintaining the integrity of the asphalt driveway or parking lot, as they help prevent water penetration and further degradation of the asphalt surface.
Only after the asphalt surface is fully prepared does the application of the sealcoat begin. The sealcoat mixture, often made from refined coal tar or asphalt cement, along with water, sand, and additives, is applied either with a sprayer or a squeegee. This creates a thin sealer layer on the asphalt surface that acts as a protective layer, safeguarding the pavement from harmful UV rays, chemicals, and abrasion.
The freshly applied sealcoat then requires adequate curing time, usually 24 to 48 hours, depending on the weather conditions. After this period, the asphalt surface is ready for use, looking rejuvenated and protected.
Is Sealcoating a DIY project?
Given the complexity of the process and the expertise required, sealcoating is typically not a do-it-yourself project. While some property owners may attempt it, the results often don’t match those of a professional job. Professional sealcoating not only assures better application and longer-lasting results but also saves homeowners from the hassle of procuring materials and equipment.
Moreover, professional asphalt sealer providers like Top Job Asphalt have the right equipment, materials, and trained personnel to handle the job. With a professional touch, sealcoating can add years to the life of your asphalt pavement, be it an asphalt driveway or a large parking lot.
Asphalt Sealcoating FAQs
What is sealcoating, and why is it important?
Sealcoating is a protective layer applied to asphalt surfaces, composed of liquids and fine particles. It replenishes depleted asphalt oils and fillers, making the surface more even and restoring its original appearance. Sealcoating also forms a protective barrier against harmful elements like UV rays, chemicals, water, and traffic abrasion, thereby extending the life of the asphalt.
What does the sealcoating process involve?
The sealcoating process involves a thorough inspection of the asphalt surface, followed by cleaning and repairing any areas with cracks. After these preliminary steps, the sealcoat is applied. The process requires a proper application method and a curing time of 24-48 hours before the asphalt surface is ready for use.
How much does sealcoating cost?
On average, sealcoating costs around $0.12 per square foot. This is significantly less expensive than new asphalt paving. Regular maintenance with sealcoat can extend the life of your asphalt pavement to about 30 years, potentially saving property owners thousands of dollars.
Can sealcoating be a DIY project?
While some homeowners might be tempted to take sealcoating as a DIY project, it’s typically not recommended. The process requires specific expertise and tools for proper application and long-lasting results. Hiring a professional like Top Job Asphalt ensures a high-quality job and saves you the trouble of procuring the necessary materials and equipment.
How frequently should asphalt be sealcoated?
Typically, asphalt should be sealcoated every 2-3 years, depending on the weather conditions and the level of wear and tear. Regular sealcoating can significantly prolong the lifespan of your asphalt surfaces, making it a worthy investment.
If you’re looking for a reliable, cost-effective solution to your asphalt paving needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free estimate! Sealcoating may not be glamorous, but its importance in maintaining the longevity and appearance of your asphalt surfaces is undeniable. Remember, when it comes to asphalt surfaces, a stitch in time, indeed, saves nine!