Asphalt driveway definitely adds beauty and value to a property. But eventually, asphalt will lose its beautiful curb appeal. Proper maintenance is vital if you want to maintain that fresh, deep blacks and shiny appearance.
One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to maintain your asphalt is regular sealcoating. Unfortunately, many property owners are clueless about this preventive maintenance. Let’s explore why asphalt sealcoating is necessary. Here’s all you need to know.
What is Sealcoating?
Sealcoating is the application of a liquid sealant over an existing asphalt surface. It involves filling cracks with fine aggregates and replenishing the oil content of the binder. Sealcoating provides a protective layer that delays wearing and prevents damage due to water, UV rays, chemicals, and the freeze-thaw effect.
This preventive maintenance protects the sub-layers and base from the elements and avoids structural damages. Sealcoating is the most inexpensive, effective, and easiest way to maintain your asphalt pavement.
How Sealcoating Protects Asphalt?
Sealcoating is applied using a brush or spray over the asphalt pavement. The sealant then seeps through the surface. It replenishes the oil and lubricates the binder that holds the aggregate together. Sealcoating maintains the flexibility of the asphalt pavement, which allows it to contract and expand depending on the temperature and traffic load. If the asphalt oil dries out, it can become brittle and eventually develop into cracks.
Regular sealcoating prevents damage by filling up small cracks and revitalizing the oil content of the asphalt. This method effectively seals water and corrosive chemicals that can cause structural damage. Sealcoat application also ensures uniformity of the pavement surfaces and eliminates uneven wearing.
When to Sealcoat Asphalt Driveway?
Sealcoating a newly installed pavement may trap oils within the asphalt and result in an extremely flexible or soft surface. The best time to apply sealcoating is six months to a year after its initial installation. Sealcoating contractors at ABC Paving do not recommend sealcoating earlier than six months to allow the asphalt to cure completely.
It should be emphasized that sealcoating is a maintenance procedure and not a general repair. Hence, it is only recommended if the asphalt surface is generally good. So, if your asphalt driveway suffers serious water erosion, advanced wearing, or structural damage, this preventive maintenance strategy may be too late. Your asphalt contractor may recommend driveway repair, resurfacing, and then sealing the new surface at the proper time.
How Often Should You Sealcoat Your Asphalt Driveway?
If properly applied and your driveway is free from major cracks or damages, sealcoating can provide up to three years of protection. Typically, sealcoating can be done at least every three years. However, if you are unsure when your asphalt was last sealed, it’s best to sealcoat soonest.
Just as you would consult a reliable tech specialist for the IT needs of a small business, it is important to seek the help of professional paving contractors when it comes to sealcoating. They can assess the condition of your driveway and determine whether it’s time to apply sealant or do repairs.
Important Things to Know About Asphalt Sealcoating
Let’s check out some important things about asphalt sealcoating.
Cost of sealcoating
Sealcoat application can cost anywhere between $0.14 and $0.25 per square foot. Depending on the size of the area, asphalt sealing can cost you around $500 for this project. It may seem added, but the overall cost saving is worthwhile.
Right day to sealcoat
Choosing the best day to sealcoat is vital to properly adhesion to the existing asphalt. Only apply sealant if the temperature is between 50–90°F and there have been two consecutive days without rain. Likewise, check the weather forecast as you want the two successive days to have zero chance of precipitation. Ask your contractor about their weather policy.
Ensure surface cleanliness
The asphalt surface should be cleaned properly before sealcoat application. Sealcoating contractors perform a deep cleaning using power spray, brush, and broom to remove all debris and dirt that may have stuck in asphalt cracks.
Before you sign the contract, make sure the contractor provides a sealer ratio, aggregates, water, and any additives going into the mixture. The sealcoat contractor controls the ratio, and the price you pay depends on the materials they put in.
Asphalt sealing only seals cracks that are 1/8 inch wide. If the cracks are larger than an inch, you should consider using hot pour crack fill before applying sealant. Likewise, if there are major damages, the project consultants may recommend other cost-effective alternatives.