What Is Sealcoating?

April 16, 2013

By Kemith Nichols

When someone asks what I do, I tell them about parking lot striping and sealcoating. Parking lot striping is self-explanatory, so the immediate question is usually the same: “What is seal coating?”. Surprisingly, many property owners and maintenance workers have the same question.

Sealcoating (also referred to as seal coating) is a general term used to describe applying a top coating, or protectant coating of material over an existing asphalt pavement. Asphalt pavement, is a material made up of rock, sand, and gravel, and a binding agent to hold it all together. This binder is a by-product of the distillation process of certain types of crude oil. As asphalt ages, it loses its ability to bind, or hold together. Maintaining this binder is paramount in pavement maintenance. Without sealcoating, this binder will begin to break down.

Major causes of binder degradation are:

  • Rain
  • U.V. rays from the sun
  • Chemicals like antifreeze and oils from cars

As it ages and loses this binder, and the pavement will start to degrade. If you look at the low areas in your pavement and you see piles of small rocks and sand, warning, your pavement is degrading.

To reduce the effects of this degrading from rain, U.V. rays, and chemicals, it is important to sealcoat (apply a protective layer) to extend the life of your parking lot or driveway and to prevent degradation. Additionally, when sealcoating products are applied to manufacturers’ specifications, it will provide a slip resistant surface with a deep satin black finish that beautifies the parking lot or driveway.

So let’s discuss sealcoating materials in more detail. Sealcoating materials are typically bituminous based products or acrylic based emulsions. The sealcoat material is in a liquid water based formulation of one of the above emulsions, mixed with water, silica sand, polymer additives, and other fillers and solids. These products can be applied by several different methods: by brush, spray method, or squeegee method.

To properly maintain your pavement, you must have a sealcoating maintenance program in place. Maintenance will more than double the life of the asphalt, saving you hundreds of dollars down the line and making your property look fresh and appealing now. Repairing asphalt pavement is expensive! So, protect your pavement by sealcoating for only pennies per square foot.

In summary, sealcoating every two to three years will certainly extend the life of your asphalt pavement for minimal cost compared to replacement or repair. When applied correctly by a professional contractor, sealcoating prevents oxidation, stops weather damage, and beautifies your property.

Call us today for a free property evaluation, and let your local asphalt sealcoating expert, Exterior Maintenance Service, help you save money while beautifying your property.