Whether you have a residential asphalt driveway or a commercial parking lot, know that your asphalt pavement is constantly being tormented by natural elements that hastens its deterioration hence the need to take extra measures to ensure its longevity. Aside from regularly cleaning it from stains, dust, and weed, what else can you do to preserve its perfect black finish?
What is Sealcoating?
Sealcoating is the application of an additional layer of liquid that seals and from its name, coats the entire pavement. With sealcoating, you are also sealing in small holes and voids on the existing asphalt to close off particles and runoff water that can penetrate the surface and damage the structure from inside. If left unsealed, the surface becomes brittle and easier to crack under pressure or under extreme weather conditions such as during summer and winter.
One of the natural elements that can damage your driveway or parking lot is oxidation. Asphalt oxidation is a chemical reaction that happens once the asphalt is exposed to oxygen. It immediately begins to deteriorate the asphalt and can take years off your blacktop’s lifespan. Nonetheless, it’s an inexorable natural response so the only way to slow it down is to keep your surface protected through sealcoating.
Another natural reaction that speeds up asphalt degradation is the freeze-thaw cycle. The freeze-thaw cycle occurs continually with the change of seasons. During winter, snow accumulates on your pavement and it expands the surface forcing the aggregates to swell up the surface. However, as the weather slips down to spring and summer, the snow melts down turning it back to water and as a result, seeps through those cracks that were formed from the previous winter. With heat and UV rays, the material contracts back again to its original shape thus, leaving loose aggregates and debris to fall out and eventually forming cracks and potholes.
When these things happen, putting excessive weight and pressure onto the pavement could be just the exact push your blacktop needs to collapse and crumble. And an owner, of course that is the last we want to happen. We put in so much time and money to pave the perfect blacktop that complements our homes or our business establishment only for it to fall into ruin? Of course not.
Is Sealcoating Necessary and Why?
So, is sealcoating really necessary? I mean, we’re shelling out cash for a regular 3 to 5-year sealcoat maintenance so it must be worth our bucks.
Considering all of the previously mentioned circumstances, yes, while it may not be a requirement, sealcoating your asphalt pavement is crucial if you want to extend and optimize its usage. Here are some of the advantages of sealcoating:
- Protects your pavement against elements and circumstances that damages your asphalt like oxidation, freeze-thaw, chemical spills, rain or water penetration, debris, UV rays, moisture, erosion, frost, and snow.
- It reduces your repair costs over time. By protecting it against harmful factors, you save it and yourself from untimely repairs. Anyway, a few hundred bucks is cheaper than having to repave or worse, reinstall a new driveway or commercial parking lot.
- Accelerates the melting of snow and ice on the asphalt surface.
- Improves and preserves the asphalt’s midnight black finish.
- Ultimately, prolongs the life of the pavement, thus, adding more years to its lifespan.
Types of Sealcoating
Asphalt emulsion is the same type of asphalt material that is used in paving your blacktop. Although it actually cannot provide a lot of protection since it is the same substance, it is nonetheless, water-resistant and has less health risks, and is generally safe for the environment. Asphalt sealers are great for getting back that dark color on your pavement however, they degrade like your normal asphalt and they typically fade in about 3 to 4 years.
Coal Tar Sealers
Coal tar sealers are a durable and affordable option. It’s pliable, resistant to UV light, water, oil and gas fluids, fading, and even discoloration. It’s also easy to apply that makes it a really good choice, however, it has high levels of environmental and health risks and could even possibly cause skin irritation.
Acrylic sealers are synthetic and are made out of polymers and acrylic. It’s a great option for commercial establishments like malls though it is probably the most expensive choice, but the good news is that it can render up to 7 years of service depending on the usage or the foot and car traffic. To add to that, acrylic sealers are also durable and resistant to both weather and UV rays hence the reason it has a longer lifespan than others. And not only it is highly efficient, but it’s also known to be environmentally-friendly.
If you need to get your pavement up and running in a short period of time to get your business going, fast-dry sealers is the way to go. From its name, it cures faster than other types of sealers making it a popular choice for business owners who can afford to purchase it in large amounts or who can hire professional asphalt sealcoating contractors to do the job.
So, how much does it cost?
You can definitely buy a sealer on your own for about $30 to a few hundred bucks but do know that that’s not it. For you to get your sealcoating done right, you also need to shell out for other expenses like soap, a pressure washer, a broom, a mixing paddle and so on and so forth. And not to say the least, depending on what chemical you’ll be using you will also be exposing yourself to certain harmful chemicals and without having the proper protective gear, you might do more harm than good to yourself. That said, we suggest that you call in a professional to do it for you particularly if it’s a commercial parking space. As for driveway homeowners, you can try but the best work is always done by an expert.
As per HomeAdvisor, the national average cost for sealcoating is normally within the range of $242 and $656 or $0.14 to $0.25 per square foot but again, that price also varies depending on your location. For instance in Chesterfield, Virginia, the average cost is $382 and it typically ranges from $249 and $535.
For any paving job, we always recommend that you hire and most especially, vet, your paving contractors. If you’re located in Chesterfield, Virginia, you can ask Chesterfield Paving for a free quote on parking lot paving, asphalt repairs, patching, or sealcoating. They also do asphalt driveway paving in Chesterfield VA so feel free to ring them too if you’re a homeowner.