Is Sealcoating Asphalt Necessary?
One of the main problems that asphalt pavements face over their lifetime is water. When water finds its way into an asphalt pavement, it can lead to cracks, potholes, and frost heaving. These problems increase the maintenance needs of the asphalt pavement and reduce its lifespan.
One of the methods that are now used to combat this water problem is the application of sealcoating. Although sealcoating has the potential to extend the lifespan of an asphalt pavement, there are some who question whether or not it is necessary to do this after the paving process is completed.
What is Sealcoating?
Sealcoating is the process of applying a layer of protective material on top of an asphalt pavement. This layer is supposed to protect the pavement from oils, water, and even UV damage.
There are three main types of sealcoats that are commonly used. These are:
Coal tar based
There are different advantages to choosing one type of sealcoat over the other. Ensure your asphalt repair company informs you of what you're gaining or missing out on by choosing one over the others.
The Challenges of Sealcoating
There are several issues associated with sealcoating that have limited their adoption. For starters, the different types of sealcoats don't offer the same level of protection as tar-based sealers. These types of sealers also offer the best wear characteristics. Asphalt-based sealers perform worse than the other two in both regards.
There have also been claims that sealcoating can cause some environmental damage once they are eroded from the pavement surface, but these claims are largely unproven. However, it has been seen that some sealers don't perform very well in certain environments, for example, where there is salt water.
Proper Application of Sealcoating
Sealcoating is only effective if the application is done properly. If the application is done poorly, the durability of the sealcoat will be greatly diminished. Some of the things that should be done to ensure proper application include:
Ensuring the asphalt surface is clean and dry before the application process starts.
Making sure the equipment holding the sealcoat mix should has continuous agitation to maintain the consistency of the mix.
Giving each layer enough time to dry before applying the next coat since thick layers don't dry properly.
Giving the top coat time to dry before cars are allowed on the surface.
If you've decided that sealcoating is the right option for you, contact an asphalt paving service for more information.