- Asphalt sealing for driveways, roads, and parking lots
- Crack repairs to asphalt driveways and roads
- Parking lot and road striping
Sealcoating has many benefits: Why should I sealcoat my parking lot?
Asphalt pavement is not a permanent material. You can extend the life of asphalt parking lots (and reduce their life-cycle cost) by maintaining it with regular repairs and maintenance, including sealcoating.
Understanding the characteristics of asphalt pavement is crucial in understanding the effects it has on your parking lot's life expectancy. Asphalt, the black substance that covers the asphalt pavement, is a byproduct from the oil refinement process. It is oil-based and has excellent waterproofing properties. It's also flexible and sticky, so it holds together the aggregate well.
Hot mix asphalt pavement provides a safe and smooth ride and parking surface for drivers. It also protects the subbase and aggregate base from water damage. Water can seep beneath asphalt pavement layers, weakening the pavement's structure. This is when serious problems start, including cracking, alligator-type cracking, and other damage that will require expensive repairs.
Asphalt isn't perfect. Asphalt deteriorates over time due to sun, weather, traffic, and other factors. This is evident in the first signs: The beautiful black color begins to fade to grey and then tiny "hairline" cracks start to appear.
Proper sealcoating can help to prevent or delay these problems. Sealcoating is the simplest, most cost-effective, and least disruptive step you can take in protecting your pavement.
What, then, is sealcoating specifically?
1. Protects the surface from water intrusion
Sealcoating is a good way to fill hairline cracks in asphalt that may be a sign of asphalt ageing. Most sealers contain fine aggregate, usually silica sand and Black Beauty boiler slag. You can reduce the possibility of water getting under asphalt pavement surfaces by filling them. The longer you keep water out, you will make your pavement last longer.
2. Slower oxidation.
Although you cannot prevent oxidation (the deterioration in asphalt binder due to exposure to air and ultraviolet rays), timely sealing can slow it down. The pavement becomes brittle and more susceptible to cracks and growth. It also allows for other forms of pavement deterioration. Sealer is applied to pavement surfaces to add a layer of protection to asphalt binder. It's not the binder that will be exposed to sunlight and air, but the sealer. Sealer can be applied to your pavement regularly - usually every two to three years, depending on the region and traffic flow – to extend its life.
3. Protects asphalt binder against oils and gasoline
Asphalt is petroleum-based so any petroleum-based liquid that leaks onto it will "join" the binder and soften it. This opens up the possibility of more severe and faster damage to the asphalt. (If you have ever seen oil spots, or black spots in parking spaces near parking blocks, you know how damaging leaks can be. These types of leaks can be prevented by sealing your pavement. Please note: Any oil spots in your parking lot must be removed before sealcoating can take effect. If oil spots are not repaired properly, sealer won't have any effect on them and the damage will spread.
4. Increases skid resistance
Asphalt pavements age and the fines, which are tiny sand-sized particles, begin to disappear. The sealer that is made with sand or boiler-slag will not only lock in the fines but also replenish the surface's fines, giving it some extra traction.
5. Increases flexibility
Asphalt pavement can be described as a "flexible" surface, unlike concrete pavement which is rigid. When trucks and cars drive on asphalt pavement, it basically flexes microscopically under their weight. The pavement becomes more rigid as it ages and becomes more brittle. This can lead to cracks. Sealer can be applied to the pavement regularly to maintain its flexibility and slow down its progression towards brittleness.
6. This makes it easier to clean the pavement.
Although it isn't an advantage to the pavement's physical appearance, it can be very helpful. You can use a push broom to sweep concrete sidewalks. Then, take the broom to sweep sealcoated pavement. The sealed pavement lets the broom slide over concrete surfaces where it tugs at the broom.
7. Extends pavement life.
Sealcoating extends pavement life by combining all of these benefits. Properly maintained, an asphalt pavement that is well-constructed can last for up to 15 years. Sealcoating is an important part of this maintenance process.
8. Saves you money!
The property's most expensive investment is the parking lot. Anything you can do to prolong its life and reduce its cost (thereby increasing its value) will help you get more return on your investment. A study has shown that a 10,000-square-foot parking lot properly maintained can save property managers $120,000 over the course of a 15 year period. What's the difference between sealcoating and maintaining proper pavement?
Sealcoating has another benefit - aesthetics. The result is a clean, fresh appearance that can be topped with fresh pavement markings to make your parking lot look great. Most people don't see the building until there is a lot of parking nearby. Sealcoating and striping your property on a regular basis will make a good first impression. Sealcoating and striping are one of the most cost-effective and easy ways to improve the appearance of your property.
Note: Sealcoating your pavement can have many benefits, but it's not a structural enhancement. Sealcoating your asphalt is similar to painting your house. It protects and enhances the appearance of your home, but it does not provide any structural benefits.