The Pros and Cons of Sealing Asphalt

The Pros and Cons of Sealing Asphalt

Whether you own a parking lot or a single driveway, you want to have your space looking great throughout the year. Asphalt surfaces often need to be repaved or repaired. If you are looking for ways to add a protective layer, it might be time to apply sealcoating to your asphalt. This process is an investment for your property. Before you schedule an application, you must decide if sealcoating is the right service for you.

What Is Sealcoating?

Asphalt is often used in the construction of parking lots, driveways, and roads. This material is durable and affordable. For that reason, it is a popular choice for many communities and property owners. However, after the asphalt has settled, it is exposed to oil, UV rays, water, and road salt. As a result, the asphalt is prone to cracks and potholes. Those leaks can allow water to seep into the asphalt to damage the pavement.

With sealcoating, you can protect the surface of your asphalt. This coating is formulated with oils and materials that soak into the pavement. When applied, the fresh sealer has a shiny black appearance. The oil restores the binders that may have dried up or broken down over the years. If your pavement looks craggy, then sealcoating will fill in any small gaps for a smoother appearance. It will form a protective barrier to prevent any harmful effects from water, salt, oil, and the sun.

Asphalt Sealcoating Benefits

If you are undecided about adding a sealcoat to your asphalt, there are many benefits of this process. Here is a brief look at the pros of sealcoating.

Improve the Look of Faded Asphalt

When asphalt is first installed at your property, it will have a shiny appearance. Over the years, the sun and other weather elements can fade the look of that pavement. Your older asphalt might look dingy or gray. With an application of sealcoat, that glossy black color will be restored to the surface of your pavement. A faded asphalt driveway or parking lot can decrease the curb appeal of those spaces. With a new sealcoat, your pavement will have a fresh appearance, and it might even boost your property value.

Prevents Damage

The typical pavement is made with a blend of gravel aggregate and sand. A petroleum-based binder is mixed to make the asphalt more pliable and flexible. If you have vehicles that leak oil or gas onto the surface, the pavement can become stained. In addition, the oils react with the binder to cause surface deterioration. You also have to worry about the weather elements damaging your pavement. UV rays from the sun can dry out the surface of the asphalt. When asphalt is new, it can handle temperature fluctuations and weight from vehicles. As it starts to become brittle, the asphalt begins to crack.

When you apply a layer of sealcoat, it blocks the oxidizing substances from reaching the surface of the pavement. It also allows the asphalt to remain flexible for a longer lifespan.

Stopping Potholes

After the weather and oxidation have compromised the asphalt, it will start to deteriorate. Once the pavement is damaged, you might notice more chips and cracks in your driveway or parking lot. If these cracks are left untreated, they can turn into unsightly and damaging potholes. Sealcoating can help you fight the start of those cracks. This process is known to prevent oxidation from damaging your pavement’s surface. In turn, you can keep your parking areas and road looking attractive for years to come.

Cost-Effective Option

When you need to have fresh asphalt installed, it can be a costly project. Many new asphalt installations cost between $1 and $2 per square foot. Those prices do not even include curb installation or line striping. As you can tell, it is an expensive project. For sealcoating, the costs are $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot. When you sealcoat every few years, it can prevent the need for any expensive repairs as you extend the life of your asphalt.

Sealcoating Drawbacks

While sealcoating might be the right choice for many people, there are some cons of this process. Here are a few things that you need to consider for your property.

Never Apply Sealcoat To Fresh Asphalt

Fresh asphalt requires time to cure. Many of those remaining binder chemicals must rise to the surface. Asphalt usually needs about three to six months before you can sealcoat the surface. After that time, it is safe to schedule a sealcoat for the pavement.

Pavement Needs Maintenance

Unfortunately, sealcoating is not a “one and done” process. You will need to keep it maintained. Most sealcoats will only last for two to three years. When you are managing your expenses, make sure to have some money set aside for this process. While it is cheaper than a new asphalt replacement, it will still require a few dollars out of your budget.

Asphalt Must Be in Good Condition

Sealcoating cannot be done on those severely cracked or damaged surfaces. If your asphalt is slightly faded, then you can apply the sealcoat. For damaged surfaces, all those asphalt repairs must be completed and allowed to cure before the application. However, even damaged asphalt can be restored to its previous appearance. You might want to add an asphalt overlay to revitalize those damaged spots. After it has cured, you can schedule a sealcoating team to apply the sealer.

For the most part, a sealcoat is the ideal solution to keep up the appearance of your asphalt parking lots, driveways, and roads. Along with landscaping maintenance and care, some commercial lawn care services offer sealcoating options for their customers.

We Are Ready To Handle Your Sealcoating

If you are ready to protect and restore your asphalt, reach out to the professionals at Charlestown Landscaping LLC. Our team will work to bring life to that faded asphalt. Along with that, we also offer commercial lawn care. If you want to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at (610) 608-3965.

When Is The Best Time To Sealcoat A Driveway?

When Is The Best Time To Sealcoat A Driveway?

The best time to sealcoat your parking lot or driveway is a loaded question. There are many things to consider before you add a sealant to your asphalt. The optimal time to sealcoat will depend on the needs of your driveway or lot. With this brief look at the process, you can choose the right time to protect and beautify your asphalt.

Is There an Optimal Time to Sealcoat?

For most homeowners, the summertime is the best time of year to add a layer of sealcoat. In the summer, the air is warmer with low humidity. Many people also choose summer to apply a coat because it is easier to work outside during the warmer weather.

Before you apply the sealer, you need to know the type of sealcoat that you will use. This information will help you to choose whether you want to apply it in colder or warmer weather. Water-based sealers need to be applied when the pavement temperature is no cooler than 40 degrees. With the water in the sealant, it is more prone to freezing than other sealers. When it does freeze, the properties are altered, and the product will be damaged. For that reason, these sealers are rarely applied in the winter. If you need to apply a layer of sealcoat in cold weather, you should choose a solvent-based product. These sealants can be applied at any temperature.

Summertime is often the preferred time because it quickly cures the sealant. Many people do not want to wait more than a day to use their driveways. With warm air temperature and less humidity, your sealcoat will dry and cure quicker than any other time of the year.

Cured and Dried Are Different Stages

The terms “dry” and “cured” are often confused by homeowners. They don’t mean the same thing for your driveway. If the sealant is dry to your touch, that doesn’t mean that the product will not come off on your tires when you drive on it. “Dry to traffic” means that your tires will not pick up the sealant, but there could be tracking marks on the surface. For the best results, you want to wait for the sealant to be fully cured before you walk or drive on the surface.

Apply in the Best Weather Conditions

If you are looking to apply it at the best time, you want to choose a day with plenty of sunshine. The warmth of the sun will help to evaporate the liquids of the sealer. However, you might not be that lucky and will have to apply it on a cloudy day. You want to make sure there are no signs of fog or rain in the forecast for 24 hours or more. That extra moisture will cause problems with the curing process, and it could even damage your driveway.

Avoid Shady Spots

When you want to apply sealcoating, you need to be aware of the amount of shade on the pavement. With direct sunlight, the sealant will dry faster than a more shaded area. This factor plays a part in the time of day that you will need to apply the sealcoat. During the day, your pavement might be covered by shade. While this is not a big problem, it will cause your pavement to take longer to dry. You might want to apply the sealcoat at the start of the day to avoid any shady areas on your pavement.

For many people, their entire driveway is shaded. When that happens, you will have to deal with it and wait for the sealant to dry. Shade does not adversely affect the sealant, but it slows down the time for you to get back to driving on your pavement.

Now that you know the optimal time of year to apply sealcoat, you will need to know when is the best time to apply in the day.

The Best Time of Day to Apply Sealcoat

For the most part, there is no set time for you to apply a sealcoat to the pavement. You can apply sealer at any time of day as long as the pavement temperature does not fall past 40 degrees at night. You can even apply the sealcoat during the nighttime. Many people choose to start their sealcoat project around 10 AM as the sun’s temperatures begin to rise, and the humidity is not too oppressive.

Ten in the morning is an excellent time since the morning dew has evaporated from the pavement’s surface. Whatever you choose, you will need a full 24 hours for the sealant to cure. If you start in the morning, you could park your car on the driveway by evening. However, that is not recommended since you want to make sure the surface is completely dry for your vehicles. You want to choose a time for the sealant to cure without having to move around cars near your home.

For business owners, you want to use these same rules to apply a sealcoat to your driveway. Many businesses choose to apply sealcoat at night. With this schedule, you will not have to shut down a parking lot and lose business during your operating hours. Many sealcoating companies recommend that you apply the sealant from early to late evening, but the decision is up to the individual business owner. If your business is closed on the weekends, you might want to apply the sealant on a Saturday or Sunday for the most optimal drying time.

Depending on your particular sealant, you can apply it throughout the year. However, many people choose to seal their pavement in the summer with warmer temperatures and more sunlight. Whatever time you choose, you will want to avoid rainy or cold days that prevent your sealant from properly drying or curing. If you have any questions about your sealcoating project, make sure to consult the professionals from an experienced sealcoat company.

For more information about sealcoating your driveway, please take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.

What Is Sealcoating? What Is Asphalt Sealcoating?

What Is Sealcoating?

If you own asphalt pavement, you have probably read about the benefits of seal coating. Many people do not understand the importance of this application. You may have a few questions about the cost and necessity of adding this protective coating to your asphalt. Here are some things that you should know about seal coating for asphalt.

The Basics of Asphalt

The primary ingredients in asphalt are stone, sand, and gravel. When these aggregates are heated, they are mixed with asphalt cement. When the asphalt mixture cools down, it will harden and create a durable pavement. However, many elements can damage the surface. When that happens, your asphalt can start to develop indentations, spalling, or potholes. This damage is due to the asphalt cement breaking down and becoming brittle.

Asphalt is a durable material. Many people will use it for residential driveways or commercial lots. It creates a porous and flexible surface that can absorb vibration and noise for a more quiet environment near your business or home. The bumpy surface of the asphalt gives you more traction during the winter. Finally, the dark color of the surface will provide less glare on the road during the daytime.

Asphalt might seem extremely durable, but you still have to maintain it over the years. Asphalt pavement will need to have an application of seal coat on a regular basis to protect it from cracking and fading. When you invest in an asphalt driveway, you need to shield it from the elements and keep it in good repair. By protecting asphalt from the early signs of damage, you can guard your financial investment and avoid those unnecessary repairs.

What Is Sealcoating?

Sealcoating is an application of a coating that protects the asphalt. It covers the pores and pits of the surface. It also adds a layer of defense against harmful chemicals, including automotive oils, gasoline, and ice-melting salt. Sealcoat will reflect the rays of the sun and also allow moisture to repel against the surface. As it does that, the seal coat is helping to protect the asphalt from any premature damage.

Sealcoat is a mixture of small particle solids and liquids. This mix adds restorative and protective qualities to your asphalt surfaces. Sealcoating usually consists of mineral filters, dissolved asphalt, and water. In most cases, the seal coat is applied with a squeegee or broom. It can also be sprayed onto the surface.

This sealant uses the same materials and oils found in asphalt paving. As the seal coat is applied to the surface, those oils will seep down into the pavement. The seal coat will replenish the depleted oils of the asphalt that might have dried up over time. In addition to that, it will also fill in those gaps and small cracks for a level surface.

With an application of a seal coat, the asphalt pavement will look like a new surface. A layer of seal coat can help to add a protective barrier from harmful elements, such as water, sun, traffic abrasion, and chemicals.

Is Sealcoat Necessary?

When the asphalt is new, those oils are pliable and fresh. They make the surface more flexible. However, oil can oxide and make the asphalt more brittle and less flexible. Over time, the asphalt binder will reduce in volume and cause those gravel particles to be exposed on the surface. You can even expect the particles to loosen up and flake from the pavement. Sealcoat will reintroduce those oils and restore the flexibility of the pavement. It will also cover and protect the exposed particles to prevent any loose material from chipping off the surface.

Asphalt is durable, but it is not indestructible. Automotive oil and gasoline are corrosive to the surface, and it can cause damage like potholes. Long-term direct sunlight can also break down the asphalt binders. Over some time, the surface will chip and crack. Large and heavy vehicles can also add to the stress of the asphalt by causing the binders to soften and disintegrate. Finally, excess moisture can also break down asphalt as it loosens the particles from the surface.

​How Often Should You Add a Sealcoat to Asphalt?

In most cases, driveway seal coating is applied when the new pavement is installed on your property. After that time, you should apply a seal coat once every three years. However, this will depend on the wear and tear of the pavement from traffic and weather conditions. With a layer of seal coat, the asphalt will be protected from excess moisture, direct sunlight, and corrosive chemicals. If your asphalt surfaces come in contact with these elements on a regular basis, then you might need to seal coat more often than not.

With a layer of seal coat, the soft materials of the asphalt will have more durability. A new application of seal coat will be less likely to spall, chip, or crack as a result of those damaging elements. This protective layer will also fill in those hairline cracks, tiny pits, and pores to keep out dust, debris, and moisture. By not sealing off those elements, those small imperfections can get bigger and cause the asphalt to break down. Cracks are never a good sign in your driveway. If you notice an increase in cracks, you might need to add seal coating to your asphalt’s maintenance schedule.

An application of seal coat is one way to keep your asphalt surfaces free from damage. Sealcoat can help to protect your asphalt from the harmful elements of the winter, including excess moisture from the snow and snow-clearing salt. If you want to protect your asphalt before the winter, you need to apply the seal coat before the weather starts to change. A layer of seal coat will also create a barrier to protect your asphalt from snow removal equipment with sharp blades that can damage the surface of the pavement.

Will Sealcoat Stop the Need for Repairs?

While the seal coat can help to protect your asphalt surface, it cannot stop the pavement from ever needing repairs. However, the protective layer will reduce the number of unnecessary repairs by slowing down the aging process of your asphalt.

Before you add a seal coat to your surface, you need to remember a few things. Sealcoat adds a protective layer, but it cannot increase the structural strength of the asphalt, especially if you park heavy vehicles on the surface. If you have problems with the asphalt’s slope or grade, then a layer of seal coat will not correct that. Buckled or heaved asphalt will need to be repaired before adding a layer of seal coat. Finally, the seal coat is not a substitute for repair compounds or patching materials.

For those types of repairs, you will need to replace the entire top layer of the asphalt. As you can tell, the seal coat is an additive and protective coating for your asphalt. However, it cannot act as a repair fix for significant damage to asphalt pavement.

Patching those cracks and potholes is an affordable way to avoid having to replace or resurface your driveway. However, patch jobs are only a temporary solution. Even if you use the best patching material on the market, it cannot stop water and oil from seeping into the surface of the asphalt and causing extensive damage. If you are noticing these signs, it might be time for a complete replacement of your asphalt.

What Type of Sealcoat to Use?

Most seal coats are made with refined tar or petroleum-based materials. These sealers have both disadvantages and benefits to using them on your surface. Petroleum-based seal coats are more likely to break down as they are exposed to other petroleum products, including gasoline and motor oil.

Before you choose a seal coat, you need to consider your daily driveway habits. Parking the car in the driveway, using a motorized snow blower, and storing equipment on your driveway can cause damage to an asphalt surface. These habits can lead to oil leaking on the surface or causing surface damage to the pavement. With these cases, you might want to choose a tar-based sealer for your driveway or lot.

Applying Sealcoat to Your Surface

With all this information, you know about the basics of seal coating. However, there are a few more things that you should understand before adding it to your surface.

The cost of seal coating will depend on the size of your driveway or lot. There are other factors that you need to take into consideration. Different seal coat material will be more expensive than others. If the condition of your asphalt is weak, then that will also affect the cost of the project.

In the long run, seal coating is one of the most cost-effective ways to preserve your pavement. On average, an asphalt paving project will cost $2.25 per square foot. When you compare that to the cost of seal coating, a square foot only costs an average of $0.12 with a single application. With the correct maintenance and use of seal coat, your asphalt pavement can last around thirty years and save you thousands of dollars in repairs.

You need to choose the right time to seal coat your asphalt. The best time to seal coat your surface is when the temperature is above 55 degrees for a full 24 hours. You don’t want to run into cold temperatures that can affect the curing time of the sealant. In addition to that, you want to choose the right season too. If you are worried about the snow and ice from winter, you will definitely want to seal your asphalt before the start of the fall season.

Before adding a seal coat to your pavement, the surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned. If you hire a professional team, you will not have to worry about this detail. They have the equipment to power wash your driveway and make sure it is ready for an application of seal coat.

With any seal coat project, you will need a minimum of two coats on your asphalt. That will help to completely seal in the surface and keep out those harmful elements. Once the application is finished, it must be allowed to cure for 24 hours before you can park or drive on the surface.

By adding sealcoat to your pavement, you can extend the life of your asphalt driveway and lots. You should think about seal coating about every two to three years. When you apply it at the right time, you can prevent weather damage and oxidation to the surface. Sealcoating is also a great way to beautify the look of your asphalt pavement.

Can You Sealcoat a Surface on Your Own?

You can rent the right equipment and tools to tackle this job on your own. In some circumstances, it can save you a few dollars, but you really need the expertise of a professional company to properly sealcoat your driveway or lot. It may seem simple, but applying sealcoat is not the same as painting a concrete surface.

The surface must be pressure washed before any sealant can be added to the surface. You also have to tape off the driveway from any runoff in the adjacent areas. Sealcoat also needs to be applied evenly to the surface. If you have a driveway on a slope or steep grade, you could run into some problems.

Sealcoating needs to be done in the right weather too. High humidity and thick fog can cause issues during the application of the product. In other words, you should avoid all these hassles and contact a professional seal coating company to protect your asphalt surfaces.

Sealcoating is a great way to protect your investment. By avoiding unnecessary repairs, you can save money on your driveway. This sealant will protect asphalt from direct sunlight, excess moisture, and other elements. It makes sense to add a sealcoat to your asphalt surfaces. While you can handle this project on your own, you should think about hiring a professional company for the job. They will have the right equipment and tools to properly apply the sealcoat and keep your asphalt looking brand new.

If you want to learn more about seal coating in your area, take a few minutes to fill out the contact form.