What is Sealcoating?
Do you remember summers when you were younger and all you wanted to do was go to a beach or a pool and hang out with your friends? Well, imagine this. It is the middle of July and you just got your driver’s license. Your friends just knocked on the door and asked if there’s a possibility if you all could make a trip to the pool. You, of course, say yes because you would want to flaunt how you can drive and the fact that it is overbearingly hot outside. You pack your swim trunks, towel and anything else needed for an exciting day at the pool. You run downstairs, grab the keys and let your parents know where you’re going. Just as you’re about to open the door and head out, your mom asks you the one question that you were actively avoiding but could not get away from. “Did you pack any sunscreen? I don’t want you getting burnt.” You turn around and look at her, smile and say “Yes mom. I have it in my bag.” You don’t, but you don’t want to disappoint your mother. You figure a happy medium is to hope that one of your friends has a bottle and that you can apply it when you meet up with them.
Our mothers scold us about this because they want us to be safe and not experience the consequences that come with not applying a type of “coating” on us. Sunscreen is made to protect our skin against exposure from the sun as well as minimizing our chances of skin aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen is a lot like sealcoating. There are many similarities that we can draw on.
First, we need to define what sealcoating is. Sealcoating is the layer of protection blocking out elements like water damage, oils, and UV exposure. When you have a driveway or a parking lot, applying a sealcoating is very imperative to maintain the quality of the asphalt. Having this will prevent a lot of problems down the line, such as future cracks in your driveways or parking lots and discoloration if done on a regular basis, which is every 2-3 years. Applying a sealcoating can make the maintenance of your selected area easier and cheaper to manage. So, pretend your body is the driveway or parking lot and the sealcoating is your sunscreen. The goal is to look 20 when you’re 40. In order to look healthy and young, you have to be considerate of how to take care of your skin. The same goes for your driveway.
How is Sealcoating Made?
Sealcoating is a mixture of liquids and small particle solids, such as grains of sands, and its job is to provide protective and restorative features. As mentioned earlier, if you own asphalt pavement, this is something you should consider purchasing. When applying sealcoat to asphalt, there are a few things to keep in mind. In order to fully complete the sealcoat process, the air and pavement temperature should be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit when applying and needs to sit for 8 hours. You should also make sure that prior to pavement sealing, the surface should be cleared from dirt and debris. Finally, when you decide prior to when you add the sealcoat, you have to make sure to fill potholes and cracks with vehicle fluids, such as oil.
Types of Sealcoat
There are a variety of sealcoats available for different needs, each having their advantages and disadvantages. There are 5 different types of sealers: coal tar emulsion, asphalt emulsion, oil-based, fast-dry and acrylic.
Coal Tar Emulsion
This is the most common type and first choice of sealcoating. The reason why it is favored over others is because of the vast amount of advantages that come with it. Not only is it the most durable and provides the most protection, but this type of sealcoat is not petroleum-based — meaning that it is able to resist most pollutants. Just like other sealcoats, they are resistant to water and UV light while lasting up to five years. There are very few disadvantages to this type of tar, but it is important to remember that when applying this sealer it is banned in some municipalities.
This sealcoating is particularly made for driveways. With that being said, it does not provide the most protection. The main reason people get this type of coating is because of the darker color and the fact that it can be used where coal tar can’t (mainly driveways). But its disadvantages are something to keep a note of. This coating is water-resistant, but it’s not UV resistant, meaning that it will fade very quickly and calls for a recoat every season.
While oil-based tars may be the most cost-effective sealcoat, they do have their drawbacks. They cannot protect against UV rays or petroleum products. Compare this coating to a band-aid: it’s a very cheap way to coat a small area fairly quickly, but it should not be used to sealcoat larger areas like parking lots.
The final sealcoating is also the most expensive coating. Acrylic is the most expensive due to its overwhelming advantages. It’s durable, UV resistant, weather-resistant and environmentally friendly. It’s also available in different colors beyond the standard black and gray. On top of that, it can last up to 7 years or more, depending on usage. When wanting to sealcoat a parking lot with a lot of parking space, this should be your go-to tar.
Which Sealcoating Should I Get?
This is a complex question and one we can answer! The question isn’t which you should get, but which is best for you and your current situation. When deciding the type of sealcoat to get, you need to ask yourself a number of questions. Are you looking to seal coat your driveway or a parking lot? Did you just lay down new asphalt? How many hours must I wait before it dries? What’s the best time of year to sealcoat? Ideal temperature? What weather conditions, if any, should I avoid? How often should I reseal asphalt pavement?
These are all important questions to consider. The first step is identifying which sealcoat to use. Of all the sealcoats listed, there are 2 types that aren’t ideal for larger areas with a lot of cracks and repairs to work on, just like there are only 2 types of sealcoats that can be used for driveways. The next question is as follows: did you recently layer new asphalt? If the answer is yes, then you must wait a minimum of 6 months. This is critical to keep in mind when sealcoating because asphalt needs time to cure. Meaning, that when fresh asphalt is put down, the oils within the binder need to be washed away and cured of the heat of the sun before you can apply the sealer. The next factor to consider is the time of year that is best for sealcoating. When laying down the sealer, temperature and humidity are considered huge factors for it to dry and fully cure. But some sealers work better in cooler weather in contrast to warmer weather, which is why it’s important to consult an expert that can recommend the best time of year based on your sealer. Sealers like asphalt emulsion, coal tar or acrylic sealer must be applied when the temperature of the pavement is no lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tolliver & Curl Sealcoating
Your business needs a parking lot that is visually appealing, clean and has a black surface and stripes that are clear and easy to see. Proper, professionally done seal coating goes beyond the aesthetics to address other issues as well. Too much seal coating can result in flaking and chipping, and once that happens, there’s no way to return the lot to a reasonable, smooth elevation.
Sealcoating contains chemical properties that stave off normal wear and tear, so there are many instances when it is the best option. Asphalt is a flexible pavement that’s made to move, and sealcoating helps maintain those attributes. From seal coating and crack filling to completely repaving, our trained experts can evaluate your specific needs and make a recommendation based on those findings.
Are you ready to experience the Tolliver & Curl difference? Contact us today to learn more about our asphalt paving techniques and discover the benefits of using a high-quality paving contractor.