You’ve heard of incorporating sealcoating into your asphalt maintenance plan. But, many homeowners and property managers often question the benefits of asphalt pavement sealer. So, let’s answer the question, is asphalt sealer really necessary, or is it just for aesthetics?
First and foremost, having a comprehensive maintenance plan for your asphalt is 100% necessary to ensure that your pavement is reaching its full expected life cycle. Your maintenance plan should include repair items like, crack filling, pothole patching, line striping, and yes, sealcoating. Applying asphalt sealer is in fact more than aesthetics. However, asphalt sealer application alone, is not enough to protect your asphalt. It is important that you are first filling cracks, and then applying asphalt sealer on top.
ASPHALT & UV RAYS –
UV DAMAGES: When asphalt is new, it contains oils that give the surface that dark black hue. As the pavement ages, it becomes grey (like the hue of most roadways). The reason why asphalt turns grey is due to oxidation from exposure to damaging UV rays. This oxidation process weakens the pavement making it brittle, and leading to cracks. Asphalt actually has a pretty poor resistance to UV radiation. Since it is a combination of aggregate and liquid emulsion, the UV rays break the emulsion down, which loosens the aggregate.
HOW DOES ASPHALT PAVEMENT SEALER HELP? Asphalt sealer adds a protective coating to your asphalt to help fight the oxidization associated with UV rays. It also helps to fill voids in blacktop which helps reduce exposure.
ASPHALT & SALTS & SPILLS –
SALTS & SPILLS DAMAGES: The harshness of winter (plows, ice melt agents, freeze-thaw cycle) also causes cracks, potholes, and other pavement breakages. Additionally, petroleum products such as oil, and gas can be very damaging to your asphalt. The reason why these other petroleum products deteriorate asphalt is because gas and oil naturally dissolve into the asphalt, softening and compromising the structure.
HOW DOES ASPHALT SEALING HELP? Similar to asphalt sealer’s protection capabilities towards UV rays, sealcoating also helps to protect against harsh spills. By applying a protective layer, you are creating a barrier so that harmful gas, and oils have a harder time seeping into the asphalt. Sealing cracks, and applying a protective layer on top is the most effective way to maintain and protect your asphalt from the harsh components of winter, water, and harmful spills from vehicles.
So, the answer to; Is asphalt sealing really necessary? Is Yes! Let’s Review:
- Aesthetic Upgrade: Yes, while aesthetics certainly isn’t the only benefit of sealcoating, it is one of them. Asphalt pavement sealer gives your parking lot a fresh new look, and restores its appealing dark color. Additionally, after sealcoating, you will need to restripe your lot, further adding to the aesthetic appeal of your fresh lot (overall increasing the value of your property)!
- Protectant Layer: As mentioned above, applying asphalt sealer (in conjunction with hot rubberized crack filler) serves to protect your lot and overall extend its lifespan. By regularly sealcoating, you are adding a protective layer to help fight damages caused by UV rays, oil and gas spills, winter damage, and water damage.
- Smooth Surface: A smooth surface may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Not only does this smooth surface contribute to the aesthetic appeal of your parking lot, but a smooth surface is important for safety, and for cleanup (especially in winter). Plowing a bumpy, broken lot successfully is nearly impossible. These bumps and holes can already be dangerous for drivers, but even more so if snow removal services were unable to complete their job correctly. Line striping is also much easier and more effective on a smooth lot.
Overall, your asphalt will deteriorate and break down over time. However, if properly maintained and cared for, your asphalt’s lifespan can be extended and preserved. Considering that asphalt paving is a big investment, it’s important to protect and extend that investment.
Sealcoating should be completed every 2-3 years for the best results. It is important to understand though, that sealcoating is most effective when implemented in conjunction with other repair methods like crack filling. Think of your asphalt sealer as the top coat – the protective layer and shiny finish that brings it all together.
For all asphalt paving, asphalt pavement sealer, asphalt repairs, and asphalt maintenance needs call EastCoat Pavement for your free consultation today!