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Asphalt Sealcoating: Is It Important?

When you have asphalt on your property, it is not an asset to set and forget. Asphalt sealcoating can help preserve your pavement assets.

Judson Burdon
Posted by Judson Burdon on February 22

Your driveway can last several years when properly maintained. Preventive maintenance includes periodically checking your asphalt for cracks and then repairing them in a timely manner. When neglected, these cracks will turn into potholes. That will even give you more expensive repairs or replacements. Sealing your asphalt is a necessity if you want to protect your asphalt pavement.

Why is Asphalt Sealcoating Necessary?

Asphalt is made up of two ingredients: aggregates and bitumen. About 95% of your asphalt is aggregates, which is a mixture of sand, crushed stone and gravel. The rest is that black material called bitumen that holds the aggregates together.

While asphalt is extremely durable, it is susceptible to cracks and potholes especially when exposed to the elements. UV rays, grease, snow and other chemicals can damage your asphalt. Heavy traffic is also one of the culprits for asphalt cracks. The only way to preserve it is by sealcoating.

Yes, it is a necessity as you need to protect your valuable asset. If you want your driveway to last, seal coating is the way to go. Unprotected asphalt leads to cracks and potholes that can severely damage your foundation. Seal coating is cost-effective in the long run and it can significantly improve the appearance of your driveway.

What is Asphalt Sealcoating?

While asphalt alone is durable, it's not enough for your driveway. Exposure to the sun's damaging rays, oil, snow and other chemicals will make it crack or brittle over time. When not repaired, it can negatively impact the curb appeal of your driveway. In a worst-case scenario, cracks may lead to potholes that will burn a hole in your pocket. With sealcoating, you can add an extra layer of protection to your asphalt surface. When you properly maintain your asphalt by sealing, rest assured that it will extend the life of your driveway. If you are a property owner, it may even add value to your home.

Below are some of the benefits of sealing your asphalt driveway:


Sealcoating Slows Oxidation

Asphalt pavement reacts poorly to UV rays. When constantly exposed, its binder – the glue that holds the sand and stone in place – quickly deteriorates. When oxidation progresses, your asphalt loses oil and the pavement becomes even harder. It will continue to dry out especially with heavy traffic. When this happens, cracks will start to form. When you do not fix this, water will make its way into your pavement foundation, damaging it even further. It may create mini holes and even alligator cracks that are even costly to repair. The best way to slow down the oxidation process is by sealcoating. The sealant serves as extra protection against these harmful rays.

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Asphalt Sealcoating Enhances Pavement Appearance

If your parking lot looks damaged, it will not look very inviting to your customers. It may affect your sales. If you are a property owner and your asphalt pavement is full of cracks and holes, do not expect the buyer to consider your property. Working on your asphalt pavement may sound simple but it will attract and retain more tenants. First impressions can sometimes last. Improving the curb appeal is paramount to your business success. With sealcoating, you are assured that the aggregates are fixed into the asphalt and it will not crack.

How Much Does it Cost to Sealcoat Asphalt?

Sealcoating only costs between $0.15 and $0.25 per square foot. It's more affordable compared to asphalt installation which costs between $1.5 and $2 per square foot.

Sealcoating as part of your preventive maintenance not only extends the life of your asphalt pavement, but it's also an effective way to save money. Unprotected asphalt leads to cracks and potholes which will cost you more in repairs. When neglected, it can also damage your driveway's foundation, which will cost you even more in replacements.

By sealcoating every two or three years, your asphalt is protected. There will be no need for costly repairs. However, it's also essential that you use a quality sealer when sealcoating. Go with sealers containing coal tar or sealers with airport grade quality. Visit Asphalt Kingdom's Shop if you need help with either equipment or supplies for your sealcoating.

Keep in mind though that sealing isn't the solution for cracks or potholes. It's not meant for repair but for prevention. What sealcoating doesn't do is fix pavement defects or even restore the flexibility to your pavement. When your pavement is beyond repair, sealcoating may be a waste of money. When your asphalt is brittled or cracked, crack filling would be the best solution. It's advisable to sealcoat only after repairing your asphalt. You cannot sealcoat on fresh asphalt either. You need to wait when the asphalt is fully cured or between 3 to 6 months.

How Often Should I Seal My Asphalt Driveway?


Asphalt sealcoating is every two to three years depending on how much traffic your driveway gets or how constantly it is being exposed to the elements such as UV rays, snow and other chemicals. As part of your maintenance, periodically check your asphalt for cracks or depressions and ensure that you repair them as soon as possible. Do not wait for small cracks to turn into problematic potholes that require expensive repairs.

It's important to note that your asphalt has to be in good condition before sealcoating it. Repairs should be done first. When crack filling, do ensure that you prepare your pavement by getting rid of all the debris and dirt. It has to have a clean surface before applying the crack filler. Otherwise, it will not work.

Choosing Your Sealcoating Equipment

A variety of sealcoating equipment is available in our store. What to acquire depends on what your needs are. Are you a DIY person planning to sealcoat your driveway or are you sealcoating for business? A homeowner may only need to purchase simple tools while property managers need equipment that saves time and money.

First, let's take a look at the preparation items that you need when sealcoating your asphalt surface. To clean the area, all you need is simply a broom and a hose. However, it will be entirely different if you are offering sealcoating as a service. Using gas blowers definitely will save you time and money.

When applying the sealer, a squeegee or a brush would suffice. Most homeowners or DIY people use either of the two to minimize cost. Investing in more expensive equipment may not always be practical especially if you are trying to save money. For property managers, using a squeegee just won't cut it — it will take a great deal of time to finish sealcoating. Having a spray system would be the best solution. You can save more time - and this also means you can get more work done. Translation: more money in your pocket.

You can also get accessories to keep people away from your blacktop. Sawhorses and caution tape can help. Even a simple ribbon will suffice so long as it will stop tire tracks and footprints from damaging your work.

If you need help deciding which sealcoating equipment, sealant or accessories to buy, talk to one of our representatives. We are more than happy to provide assistance!

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Sealcoating Tips

1. Best Season to Sealcoat

While it's not impossible to sealcoat during colder months, experts do not recommend it. The best time for sealcoating is during summer. UV radiation helps your pavement to dry out pretty quickly. Without the heat, you will need more time. This could increase your overall cost and may even expose your pavement to more damage. If you're sealcoating for business, this would not be a cost-effective option.

Whether you are a DIY person or a business owner, sealcoat only in the summer as it yields a fast drying time. When the temperature reaches the 70s, it's even possible to drive on your asphalt after 12 hours. Walking is allowed on asphalt after only 3 hours.

2. Protect Your Sealcoating

Just because your asphalt is freshly sealed doesn't mean that it can't be affected by the elements or other things causing damage like oil. Watch out for cars that have oil leaks – they can be really damaging to your new asphalt. You can address this concern with a degreaser.

3. When to Sealcoat

If you bought a new property, it can be hard to determine whether it's time to reseal. Although you can always ask the previous owners when they last sealed their pavement, it's always better to know the common signs that your asphalt needs a new sealcoat. Watch out for gray coloring on your asphalt, weeds, fine cracks on the surfaces and water seeping into the blacktop. These signs will tell you that it's time to sealcoat.

4. Block Traffic to Your Asphalt

Keep people away from the freshly sealed asphalt. You can put a sign indicating that walking or driving isn't allowed. It's imperative that the sealcoat dries and bonds with the asphalt before using your blacktop. Otherwise, the sealer may get dislodged due to tire movement. That will only create bumps, destroying all your hard work.

5. Fresh Asphalt and Sealcoating

Never apply a sealcoat to your fresh asphalt. You should give it ample time to cure. Generally, you can wait between 3-6 months before you can seal your asphalt.

6. Weather Forecast

If you're not sealcoating in the summer, make sure that you check the weather forecast first. When it rains, your sealcoat will not dry properly.

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Application tips:

  • Use squeegees when you are sealcoating smaller areas. For a larger space, it's best to consider a sprayer instead. You can get your task done quicker with the latter.

  • Keep in mind that you can also use sand mixed with the sealant to provide more consistency and to create a non-slippery surface to the product.

  • Do you want to quickly clean and remove all debris in your asphalt? Use a pressure washer, but be sure to let dry thoroughly after.

  • If there are oil stains in the asphalt, you can remove that using an oil stain primer.

  • Sealcoating is only for sealing the asphalt, not for fixing cracks or potholes. Fix the asphalt first before sealcoating it.

  • Always be careful when sealcoating as there are sealcoat products that may stain other areas like adjoining concrete areas.

Sealcoating in Winter: Should You Do It?

Sealcoating is the best solution for prolonging the life of your blacktop. It protects your asphalt pavement from UV rays, rain, snow, leaks and other things that damage the pavement. But can you sealcoat year-round? Avoid sealcoating when the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, the binder particles will not be effective. Additionally, your asphalt pavement will only look blotchy and gray. When you sealcoat at a temperature below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the sealer film will either shatter or not bond.

There are two factors that affect sealcoating in the winter months: humidity and temperature. When the humidity is too high, it can increase the moisture level in the air. As a result, it will take time for your asphalt pavement to fully dry out. The temperature has to be more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit for your pavement to dry out quickly. Professionals recommend that you sealcoat only during the summer months as using a sprayer also isn't possible in the winter. It would have to be done manually and that will cost you more.

There are costly risks involved if you decide to sealcoat in the winter. The best solution would be to make sure that your asphalt is repaired. Work on correcting other issues such as potholes and cracks. Wait for either spring or summer to begin sealcoating your asphalt.

Sealcoating for Pavement Preservation

Sealcoating is the only solution to extending the life of your asphalt pavement. As a waterproofing agent, the sealant prevents moisture and water from seeping into the foundation. When you sealcoat every two to three years or when necessary, it can withstand heavy traffic without cracking. Expect a cleaner and smoother pavement after sealing the asphalt. Your driveway will have a fresher and a newer look. Most importantly, it will last for several years.

Do you have questions about asphalt sealcoating? Speak with one of our representatives so we can better assist you. We are always ready to help!

Topics: Sealcoating, Property Management

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