Asphalt is a durable material, which can last for decades. However, without proper maintenance, it could start breaking down in under a year. The key to extending your asphalt pavement’s lifespan is sealcoating.
By taking advantage of this protection method, you can enjoy a strong and durable asphalt driveway for up to 20 years and beyond. As long as you follow simple asphalt maintenance rules, you won’t have to worry about cracks and potholes in the pavement.
Let’s take a closer look at what asphalt sealcoating is all about as well as its pros and cons.
What is Asphalt Sealcoating?
To understand the nature and importance of sealcoating, you need to know what asphalt consists of. It’s basically rocks and gravel connected to each other with asphalt cement. The key to your asphalt’s integrity and longevity is the top condition of this binder. When it starts deteriorating, the entire pavement falls apart.
Water, sunrays, and chemicals are asphalt cement’s worst enemies. They degrade the binder, forcing the asphalt to become brittle and come apart. In order to keep these elements in check, you need to add a layer of protection over the asphalt cement. This layer is a sealcoat.
A sealcoat is a special material that blocks out water, oils, chemicals, and UV rays. Besides offering protection against the elements, the sealcoat can also add slip-resistance to your driveway’s surface and make it appear black and shiny.
The sealcoat consists of a thin layer of asphalt material and modifiers like rubber, latex, or polymers. By applying this sealcoat regularly (once every two or three years), you can reduce the wear and tear of your asphalt and avoid pavement replacement for decades.
It’s worth noting that while asphalt sealcoating is highly important, it won’t protect your asphalt completely unless you maintain it regularly. Asphalt maintenance includes regular inspections and cleaning. You should also fix cracks immediately no matter how small they are to prevent further damage.
Benefits of Asphalt Sealcoating
Here are a few benefits to consider when deciding whether to apply a sealcoat to your asphalt driveway or parking lot.
1. Fresh Black Color
When your asphalt pavement is fresh, it has a rich black color. Unfortunately, this color tends ti fade with time. In just a few months, your asphalt can go from beautiful addition to your landscape to a grey unsightly surface.
By applying a sealcoat, you can refresh the appearance of your pavement and keep it looking shiny for a long time.
The main benefit of an asphalt sealcoat is protection. The special material repels water, oil, and other chemicals while not allowing water to seep through the pavement.
While asphalt is a durable material, it’s highly susceptible to the elements. Sealcoating can keep it in top shape for months.
According to ABС Paving, sealcoating contractor from Florida, the best time to sealcoat your driveway is the spring. Hot summers put a serious strain on the asphalt pavement, making it soft and prone to damage.
If you live in a cold climate, consider sealcoating your asphalt in the fall. This way it will be fully prepared for the winter.
The cost of laying down a fresh layer of asphalt is high. You can pay between $7 and $13 per square foot. Meanwhile, sealcoating is much cheaper. It costs less than $0.25 per square foot.
If you sealcoat your driveway every two to three years instead of replacing it, you can save a formidable amount of money.
Disadvantages of Asphalt Sealcoating
While asphalt sealcoating is highly beneficial, it has a few drawbacks.
- To achieve full protection for your asphalt pavement at all times, you need to reapply the sealcoat regularly.
- Your asphalt pavement needs to be in good condition before the sealcoat can be applied. So, you have to fix all cracks and holes before hiring sealcoating professionals.
- Sealcoating can’t be done on fresh asphalt. You need to wait about six months for the new asphalt to cure.
While these drawbacks may seem substantial, leaving your asphalt without a sealcoat is much worse. An unprotected driveway doesn’t look appealing. It’s also prone to serious damage from the weather elements.
To keep your asphalt pavement in top shape at all times, consider sealcoating it regularly.