Is Sealcoating Asphalt Necessary?
Want to restore the sleek, shiny dark black appearance of your asphalt driveway? Let asphalt sealcoating do magic. Let's check out why this preventive maintenance is important.
What is Asphalt Sealcoating?
Asphalt sealcoating is probably the easiest and most cost-effective preventive maintenance method that can keep your pavement looking smooth, shiny, and sleek – just as the first day it was installed. Sealcoat is a protective liquid formula that revitalizes the binder or bitumen content of the asphalt pavement. Although it is usually made of coal tar and other chemicals, its composition may vary depending on the type of asphalt.
A thin sealant layer is applied to asphalt. Once it sets fully, it creates a protective top layer that seals the pavement from potential water, moisture, and climate damage. The sealant also prevents chemical damage and wearing from heavy traffic.
Sealcoating is recommended once every 3 to 5 years to protect your pavement from untimely damage. When installed properly, sealcoating prevents cracks by preventing the asphalt from drying up and becoming brittle. Sealcoat keeps the asphalt pavement naturally flexible.
Why Is Sealcoating Necessary?
Timely asphalt sealcoating offers numerous benefits. Here are some of the top reasons that make it a necessary pavement maintenance method.
Prevents water damage
Over time, asphalt pavement develops hairline cracks. Unfortunately, the freeze-thaw cycle can cause water to seep through and enlarge these cracks. Water can eventually find its way to the pavement's foundation and cause structural damage. Sealcoating fills up these cracks with fine aggregate, thereby preventing water damage.
Friction from vehicle wheels and heavy traffic degrades the asphalt surface. The fine aggregates of the cover are the first that wear away. Over time, the asphalt pavement can become unusually smooth and unsafe for driving. Sealcoating replenishes the fine aggregates on the surface and enhances traction for a safer driving experience.
Easier pavement maintenance and cleaning
Asphalt sealcoating makes it easier to sweep and clean your pavement. The smooth layer allows the broom to slide easily over the surface. It also prevents dirt from getting stuck into hairline cracks and grass or vegetation growth.
Flexibility is one of the advantages of asphalt pavement. Asphalt flexes once a heavy vehicle drives over the pavement, unlike rigid concrete. Its ability to expand makes the asphalt pavement highly durable. However, as the pavement ages, it becomes brittle and flexes less that can result in cracks. Sealcoating helps maintain the flexibility of asphalt, thus avoiding brittleness.
Slows down the oxidation process
Oxidation refers to the deterioration of the asphalt surface due to exposure to air and UV rays. Sealcoating helps prevent oxidation that causes the pavement to become brittle and crack. While oxidation cannot be stopped, it can be slowed down to avoid untimely deterioration. Instead of the binder itself, the sealcoat layer exposes air and UV rays. Regular sealcoating can significantly extend the life span of your asphalt pavement.
Protection from an oil spill and gasoline
Tampa experts from CSG Sealcoating warn that petroleum-based liquid (usually from engine oil and gasoline leaks) can soften and erode the asphalt surface. It can result in major potholes, cracks, and possibly more extensive asphalt damage. Typically, oil spills appear as black spots in parking spaces and driveways where cars tend to become idle. Without timely intervention, you'll likely see oil spots become severely damaged. Sealcoating provides a layer of protection that is impervious to petroleum-based leaks. Before sealcoat application, make sure that black oil spots are repaired to ensure that the sealer adheres fully with the asphalt surface.
Extends life span
Ultimately, the combined benefits of sealcoating can significantly extend the life span of the asphalt pavement. If properly and regularly done, sealcoating can make your asphalt pavement last well beyond its 20-year life expectancy.
While sealcoating can cost you a few hundred dollars, it is the single most cost-effective investment that can significantly improve its life-cycle cost. Compared to resurfacing or reinstalling asphalt, sealcoating is considerably less expensive. Not only that, maintaining the curb appeal adds value to your property. As the least disruptive and most inexpensive pavement maintenance option, sealcoating is necessary to protect your investment.