Blacktop sealers are an essential product for any homeowner or business owner with a driveway, parking lot or other asphalt surface. There are several different kinds of sealers on the market today. Here’s a brief look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Coal Tar Emulsion
Coal tar emulsion is the number one choice for sealcoating asphalt. It is among the most durable and provides the most protection. Since blacktop is a petroleum-based product, other petroleum products will bind to it on a molecular level. If the surface is not protected by a layer of sealer, gasoline and motor oil will quickly stain the surface.
Coal tar emulsions are not petroleum-based so they are resistant to such pollutants. They are also resistant to water and UV light from the sun. Depending on the traffic, the coatings can last for up to five years.
The disadvantages of coal tar include environmental and health concerns. Though environmental concerns may have been overstated, coal tar blacktop sealer has been banned in some municipalities. A contractor should be aware of these regulations, but be sure so check the ordinances of your location if you plan on doing the work yourself.
Safety Tip: If you are applying the sealer yourself, be aware that contact with bare skin can cause irritation. Fumes may also cause respiratory irritation if inhaled. Take precautions by wearing appropriate clothing and a mask to prevent inhalation.
The only other disadvantage of coal tar emulsion is its color, which is naturally gray. This is unlike the dark, black color of fresh asphalt. To account for this, some coatings are mixtures of coal tar and the asphalt emulsion, described below. Sealer additives can also be used to make the sealcoating look dark and black.
This asphalt emulsion for sealcoating is made from the same material used in your driveway, which means it really cannot provide much protection for the reasons stated in the previous section. The main advantage is the darker color, but it is the second best choice in areas where coal tar cannot be used. These coatings are water resistant, but not UV resistant. They fade relatively quickly and may only last for a single season.
The oil-based solutions for sealcoating asphalt have virtually no advantages. They do not protect against UV rays or petroleum products. The odor is distinct and lasts for days. Taking up to seven days, the cure time is the longest of all common sealer options, which is an important consideration for property owners who need to paint lines.
Fast-dry blacktop sealers cure in less than an hour and are used primarily by road crews and owners of large parking lots. Being difficult to buy in small quantities and having a higher price tag, though, it is generally considered to be a bad choice for homeowners.
Luckily for contractors and property managers, there are sealer additives on the market that can be mixed in with pavement sealer to create a faster-drying product. There are other benefits of using additives like FSA or Fass-Dri, such as a darker sealcoating finish.
Using acrylic for seal coating asphalt is an expensive choice. In fact, it is the most expensive choice. Despite the cost, acrylic sealer has a number of benefits. It is durable, UV resistant, weather resistant and classified as environmentally friendly. It is also available in different colors, which makes it a popular choice for tennis courts and shopping mall parking lots. Depending on the traffic, it can even last as long as seven years before it needs to be reapplied.
All the above advantages and disadvantages considered, most professionals recommend coal tar emulsion because of its affordability and durability.
Visit our shop to explore sealer options from Asphalt Kingdom, or call us at 1-866-399-5562 to discuss all your sealer options including bulk tanker loads and in-plant tank fillups.
Not sure how much to buy? Use our blacktop calculator to determine how much sealer you need for your sealcoating jobs.