What is Sealcoating and Why Your Pavement Needs It
When planning to pave your driveway or parking lot with asphalt, you want the pavement to last as long as possible. Depending on the size of your project, the expenses can be rather high. To avoid repaving in the nearest future, your asphalt pavement needs special care.
With the right maintenance, an asphalt-paved driveway can last for several years. However, if you opt for sealcoating, you can extend this period to up to 20 years.
Sealcoating is an integral part of high-quality asphalt maintenance. By ignoring this option, you could be reducing the lifespan of the pavement tremendously. Let’s take a closer look at what sealcoating is all about.
What is Sealcoating?
To understand why you need to sealcoat your asphalt pavement, you need to understand the structure of asphalt. Asphalt consists of rock, stone, and gravel. These elements are connected by a binder. This binder is created by the distillation of specific crude oils.
While rock and gravel are highly durable, the binder isn’t. So the key to asphalt’s integrity is the good condition of the binder that keeps other elements together. U.V. rays, chemicals, and moisture weaken the binder, thus ruining asphalt. If not stopped in time, the degradation process will affect the entire pavement.
To keep the binder in top shape, you need to apply a protective layer. That’s where sealcoating comes in. The specially-designed material can block out such elements as moisture, oils, and U.V. rays, thus keeping the binder intact.
According to ABС Paving, sealcoating contractor from Florida, sealcoats are usually made of bitumen-based products or acrylics with the addition of water, proprietary fillers, polymer, and silica sand.
The coat is applied to the asphalt with a brush or a spray. It takes about 24 hours to dry. Depending on how busy the traffic over the pavement is and how tough the weather conditions are, you need to reapply the sealcoat every 2 to 3 years.
Benefits of Sealcoating
Sealcoating increases the lifespan of your asphalt pavement and comes with an impressive variety of benefits:
- Better appearance – fresh asphalt has a rich black color. However, it fades with time, turning your driveway pale gray. Each time you apply a sealcoat, you can bring the fresh and smooth color back, thus giving your pavement a brand new look.
- Low maintenance costs – since the sealcoat protects asphalt from damage, you can reduce maintenance and repair costs tremendously. With regular sealcoating, all maintenance you have left is keeping the asphalt clean and filling cracks timely.
- Extra protection – besides protecting your pavement from weather elements, the sealcoat prevents oil and chemicals from seeping through, thus keeping the binder in good shape. Sealcoating also prevents oxidation.
Overall, sealcoating is a highly beneficial procedure for your asphalt pavement. With perfect maintenance and ideal weather conditions, your pavement can last long without sealcoating. However, this can be hard to arrange. With a sealcoat, you don’t need to worry about every droplet of moisture (which can turn a tiny crack into a pothole within weeks) or panic when there is an oil spill.
Many people worry about the costs of sealcoating. They are already making a formidable investment in paving their driveway or parking lot. Do they need to spend even more money on sealcoating?
When you take a closer look, sealcoating costs are tiny compared to the costs of repaving your driveway.
- Asphalt pavement – $7 – $13 per square foot
- Sealcoating – $0.17 – $0.25 per square foot.
Accordingly, to pave a 600 square foot driveway, you need to pay around $6,000. To sealcoat this driveway, you have to pay around $120. The difference is tremendous.
Paying $120 every three years ($40 per year) to keep your asphalt in top shape can prevent you from paying $6,000 every 3 to 5 years ($2,000 per year) for pavement replacement.
Does Your Pavement Need Sealcoating?
Sealcoating is an excellent way to keep your pavement protected from weather elements, chemicals, oils, and damage. As a bonus, it makes your asphalt looks brand new. When compared to paving an asphalt surface, the costs of sealcoating are extremely low.
If you want to make sure that your driveway or parking lot stays in top shape for many years, sealcoating is a must-do. Without a sealcoat, it’s possible to prevent asphalt damage. However, it would require excessive maintenance.
Sealcoating is a simple, low-cost, and time-saving measure that can ensure the longevity of your asphalt pavement.