Everyone wants their pavement, driveway, or parking look to look good, and last for long without repaving or repairing it. Although asphalt sealcoating can assist in adding the much needed protective layers, most property owners have doubts about whether this is the right thing for their property. To assist you in determining whether sealcoating is the best option for your asphalt paved surface, we shall discuss the pros and cons of asphalt sealcoating.
But first, what’s sealcoating?
Most people opt for asphalt since it is a durable and affordable option. That’s the reason why most roads, driveways, and parking lots are paved with asphalt. But, once it’s been installed, the constant exposure to water, UV rays, and oil, among other materials, its durability can be significantly affected.
Now, this is where sealcoating comes in. This is a protective layer, made of specially formulated paving materials and oils. When applied on an asphalt paved surface, sealcoating soaks into the surface, thus, restoring the deep black and shiny appearance. Moreover, it helps in replenishing the binder and oils that might have dried up or broken down, as well as filling in the small gaps found in the aggregate—thus giving the surface a smoother appearance.
Below are the pros and cons of asphalt sealcoating.
Sealcoating helps in protecting asphalt paved surfaces
When you seal coat an asphalt paved surface, it gets better protection from different weather elements all year round. This helps in stopping erosion and cracks from causing further damage that will need additional repairs that can be costly.
According to sealcoating contractors, ABC Paving and Sealcoating, sealcoating also gives asphalt a water-resistant layer. This layer protects the surface from damages that can be caused by rain, snow, or hail. Besides, it can also protect the surface from damages caused by extreme heat, which can happen when the asphalt paved surface is exposed to prolonged and direct sunlight.
It’s a cost-effective way of protecting your surface
Installing a new asphalt surface is very costly—it can cost an average of $1.50 – $2.00 per square foot. This cost doesn’t include curb or stripping installation. It’s just the average cost of installing asphalt. Sealcoating, on the other hand, will cost you an average of $0.15 – $0.25 per square foot. When you sealcoat your asphalt paved surface as recommended, you’ll be able to minimize the need for costly asphalt repairs, as well as extend the lifespan of your driveway or parking lot.
Helps in improving the curb appeal of your property
When an asphalt paved driveway is not sealed, it gets a greyish – whitish appearance. This, in turn, can give your property unattractive visual aesthetics. People will notice that it’s not concrete since asphalt has darker shade compared to concrete.
However, sealcoating your asphalt paved parking lot or driveway will give it a darker appearance. This, will in turn make the surface smooth and sleek, and thus, enhance the curb appearance of your property. Sealcoating also helps in improving the value of your property, and also reduces the chances of future repair and maintenance costs.
Prevents potholes from forming
Sealcoating an asphalt paved surface helps in creating a protective barrier against any weaknesses that are found in asphalt once it’s been laid on your driveway or parking lot. This is like the same process of sealing a kitchen countertop. When the sealant is laid, it covers the air pockets left after the asphalt has been installed, thus creating a surface that will last longer. The sealcoating process helps in preventing serious damage before it starts.
Decreases wear and tear of vehicles
As we said earlier, sealcoating makes an asphalt surface smooth. This, in turn, reduces the wear and tear of your vehicles, thus saving you money that you’d have used to repair the vehicles. Homeowners with longer driveways tend to enjoy this benefit more compared to those with shorter driveways.
Sealing the driveway will increase the driveway’s lifespan by around 10%, while the sealant adds an extra 25% smoothness on your driveway or parking lot.
Sealcoating helps in better managing moisture that comes into contact with the asphalt
Sealcoating your asphalt paved driveway or parking lot creates a surface that allows moisture to run-off efficiently the moment it comes into contact with the surface. Moreover, you will notice that there’s some self-healing that happens with the sealant since the heat from the sun helps in bringing a damaged surface or coating back together when it melts.
The following are the cons of asphalt sealcoating
Sealcoating an asphalt paved surface won’t protect the surface forever
The average lifespan of an asphalt paved surface is around 20 years. However, this can only happen when you take good care of the surface and apply a sealant once in every three years. This is a big difference compared to the 12 years that you would get from an asphalt surface that hasn’t been seal coated.
However, it’s important to note that certain quality issues can lengthen or reduce the lifespan of an asphalt paved surface—like the quality and thickness of the sealer. Even though it’s possible to extend the lifespan of your driveway, pavement, or parking lot with regular sealcoating, you can’t extend its service forever.
The asphalt surface should be in perfect condition before sealcoating
Although sealcoating is ideal for a faded and dry asphalt surface, or an asphalt surface with little cracking, it cannot repair or restore crumbles or cracked driveway or parking lot. Therefore, you should ensure that all the asphalt repairs are done, from repairing the cracks to patching potholes before sealing the surface.
In the event your surface is severely degraded or damaged, consider installing a new layer of asphalt first, which can be very costly. Then you need to wait for the layer to cure before applying a layer of sealer. This is the only way to ensure that you have an attractive, and durable pavement or parking lot.
Sealcoating doesn’t guarantee you that cracks won’t form
Yes, sealcoating does prevent asphalt from cracking. However, if the surface wasn’t installed properly, then it’s susceptible to pitting and cracking issues. The only way to prevent such damages is to reinstall it properly, but not through seal coating. Besides, you can start seeing issues like uneven surfaces once the installation is complete.
Also, other problems like poor mixing or installing a new surface over an older or damaged one can reduce the lifespan of the paved surface. Even though you can reinforce your asphalt by installing an extra layer of sealant, this will not stop damages if the asphalt was incorrectly installed right from the start.
Asphalt sealcoating requires regular maintenance
Once you sealcoat an asphalt paved surface, you will need to maintain it regularly. Even though this is not an everyday task, a sealer has an average lifespan of three years. That means you will need to sealcoat your asphalt once within that period. Therefore, you will need to factor in these expenses when doing your maintenance budget.
Sealcoating can only be done under certain weather conditions
You need to be mindful of the weather when you start sealcoating your driveway or parking lot. Even though asphalt is considered to be a 3-season product in the US, you should never think of sealcoating your asphalt during the winter season. The problem with cold temperatures is that they have a big impact on the effectiveness of the sealer.
You shouldn’t be surprised to see your sealer failing when sealcoat your surface during freezing temperatures. These temperatures can affect the curing process of the sealant. However, it’s still possible to beat this challenge, especially when you opt to use an all-season, cold weather, or four-season formula when sealcoating asphalt. But, you should note that such sealers are costly, and can even double the cost of the entire project.