Seal Coating Asphalt Pavement: Benefits, Costs, and Tips

Seal Coating Asphalt Pavement: Benefits, Costs, and Tips

Seal coating asphalt pavements for parking areas and other areas with the pavement is the method of applying a liquid coating over an existing asphalt surface in a way that seals off the pavement and fills in small gaps and cracks to protect from elements. If not sealed, sunlight water, and wind will slowly cause asphalt to become hard and oxidize. As it becomes more brittle cracks can develop. Throughout a few years, asphalt pavement can be seriously damaged if it’s not regularly sealed.

Seal coatings to protect against weathering effects are a common practice for many homeowners and businesses. Sealing crews are a regular sight between September and October in colder climates. sealing is a way to keep damage from freezing water, as well as road chemicals and salts. Wind and sunlight are extremely damaging to asphalt in warmer climates.

With the high cost and environmental issues, business owners and homeowners should think about how essential seal-coating is, and just how often they should be doing it.

How Seal Coating Works

There are various forms of seal coating material however all of them work through the process of making repairs and cleaning the surface before coating every surface on the asphalt using a sealer liquid that creates an impenetrable barrier when it’s dry. Once the surface seal coat is intact, the asphalt is shielded from the impacts of wind, water, and sunlight, which can cause the asphalt to degrade and harden and cause it to break and crack.

Types of Seal Coating

There are two primary products commonly used to seal coatings such as coal tar sealers and asphalt Emulsion coatings. The second one is less expensive however will require more control when it is applied. It is usually used by professionals. If you’re worried about the possibility of fuel or Chemical leaks over the surfaces then this is the product to choose. Sealers made of asphalt are easy to apply and emit fewer VOCs (VOCs) than standard coal-tar-based sealers. However, the coating is not as impervious to chemical spills.

Whichever sealant you choose the higher percentages of solids present in the product to suggest higher quality sealants. Check the recommendations of the manufacturer before purchasing the sealant and make sure it’s suitable for your use you.

Two different types that are sealers that are asphalt sealants are acrylic and fast-dry. Acrylic sealers are synthetic compounds made up of polymers and acrylic. The acrylic sealer is much less damaging to the environment and poses no health hazards for those who regularly work using it. However, it’s a more costly material, and some experts believe that it is a less secure layer. Fast-dry sealers can be used for walking traffic within an hour after the application and also for traffic on vehicles in one day. This is an excellent choice for businesses that need to speedily return the parking lot or driveway to use. Fast-drying options don’t last as long and require temperatures that are above 75 degrees Fahrenheit to be used.

Benefits of Seal Coating

Seal coating is a great option as a preventive maintenance option for asphalt pavements:

  • Increases the lifespan of the parking lot or driveway by stopping the asphalt from hardening and deteriorating.
  • It forms a stunning uniform coating on the surface, particularly if holes and cracks are filled properly before sealing application.
  • Sealing the driveway protects it from chemicals, salts, and moisture that could get into the pavement
  • Seal coats are simple to apply with sprayers or squeegees Small or homeowners might be able to apply this on their own rather than hiring a professional.
  • Seal coating is an affordable method of repairing or surfacing existing pavement, and prolonging the lifespan of the driveway and the pavement.

How Often to Seal-Coat

The process of seal coating is applied for the first time within a year following the time that the pavement was laid to allow for an adequate cure and wear on the surface. After that, it’s recommended to have driveways and parking spaces coated every two to three years in regular use, or each year if your pavement has heavy traffic.


The cost of most basic sealants to the driveway or parking lot is around forty cents for each square foot, that’s for people who do the work themselves However, the costs could be more expensive depending on the equipment you’ll need to buy. Sealants that are low-end range between $6 and 9 for a five-gallon pail that covers approximately 400 square feet. On the other hand, the highest quality sealants will cost between $25 and $30 for a pail of 5 gals that covers up to 300 sq ft.

For professional installations, national averages range from $1.15 per square foot for labor and materials together. Prices can be more expensive based on the extent that is required to prepare the surface and the repairs needed. Be aware that any obstructions which hinder the application of the seal with a squeegee are likely to add expenses to the project.

Environmental Concerns

Organizations like those of the USGA (United United States Geological Survey) and Baylor University have determined that those who work regularly using coal tars are at greater risk for health due to their being exposed to the cancer-causing polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). These dangers are the most significant for those who work with sealers frequently however, these chemicals are also prone to flow through groundwater in excessive amounts, as is typically the case for homeowners or companies carrying out the process themselves. While it is not yet officially classified as a carcinogen material by OSHA however, the National Toxicology Program considers coal tar as a human carcinogen. certain cities have banned using coal-tar sealers on asphalt pavement. Major retailers like Home Depot and Lowes have discontinued selling sealers made of coal but professional teams typically still employ it when permitted. If you’re an eco-mindful business or homeowner it is advisable to inquire about this before selecting a contractor to seal your sidewalk.

Seal coatings made of asphalt emulsion have less health risk and acrylic sealers are more secure.

Application Overview

Professional seal coating crews, or individuals or companies adhere to this general process to seal coat:

  1. Go through the forecast and choose a time when dry weather is predicted for at least 48 hours.
  2. You should block the parking lot or driveway to ensure there’s no movement.
  3. Perform a general clean-up of the road by sweeping as well as power-washing.
  4. Oil spot cleans all oil spots, then apply a liquid sealer to any deep cracks.
  5. Repair deep holes with asphalt patching compound. You can then pack it tightly to guarantee an even, solid surface.
  6. Apply the liquid seal coat using the help of a sprayer or squeegee over the entire surface according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  7. Examine for areas that have been missed and, if necessary make plans for a new coat to be applied the next day.
  8. Once the coating of sealant has dried (generally around 36 hours) Remove the barricades.
  9. If striping of parking spaces is necessary it can be done once the pavement has dried for a minimum of 24 hours.

After applying the coating, you’ll be required to shield the area for at least 36 hours. However, the majority of manufacturers require that it takes 48 hours for the chemical to cure and set. Based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, the most appropriate time for sealing coats is when the temperature is expected to be at or below 55 degrees. This guarantees that the coating is properly cured. Keep an eye out for leaves and other debris that could alter the emulsion coating after it is applied, and has not been set.

Application Tips

If you apply the product yourself, make certain to follow these guidelines to ensure better performance

  • If the space is big you might want to spray it rather than using squeezers.
  • It is possible to mix sand into the product to make an un-slippery surface, and also to give a bit more consistency to the seal coating product.
  • Make use of a pressure washer to clean your driveway, cleaning cracks and clearing out all dirt and plants that have accumulated within cracks.
  • Seal coatings can be used to cover cracks that are as wide as 1/8 inch. However, don’t attempt to apply it to larger cracks. Larger cracks should fill with an item specifically designed for this purpose before when the seal coat is applied. A crack sealer made of rubber is perfect to repair cracks.
  • The oil stain should be eliminated by using a primer for oil stain removal before the application of the seal-coating product.
  • Don’t think that the seal coat process will be able to fill in potholes. Instead, put down asphalt or a pothole filler to level these areas.
  • Before using up the bucket of seal-coating material mix the product into the next one. There could be minor variations in the colors of buckets. This technique ensures uniform color throughout every surface.
  • The application of two or three thin layers is superior to applying one thick coating of sealer. Apply coats in different directions, and subsequent coats that are applied parallel to the prior coat.
  • Be cautious when applying seal coats because seal coats may stain other surfaces like concrete surfaces.
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