In this article we will talk about sealing asphalt driveways, the pros and cons of sealing your driveway, the process to perform this task, things to take into account before sealing, and much more, so let’s get to work.
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In asphalt roads, sealing (also known as sealing coating) is a process that extends the life of the paving by applying a protective layer.
No matter how many weather fronts hit the region – or how much damage is caused by an oil spill and ultraviolet rays – sealed walkways refuse to do anything Mother Nature (or man) throws at them.
But what is an asphalt surface? Let’s explain this in more detail below:
What is an asphalt pavement and how safe is it?
Presented as a protective coating that demonstrably extends the life and integrity of any asphalt surface, seal coatings can also provide protected surfaces with the anti-friction and anti-slip properties associated with the aggregate exposed in asphalt, according to the experts writing for The Balance website.
According to the U.S. geological survey, states have expressed concern that seal coatings may pollute the environment when surfaces are sanded, but the industry groups representing seal coating companies reject these claims, and after careful examination it has been found that many of these claims are false, biased or too general to be taken seriously.
However, asphalt-based products have proven to be safer than resin-based products, so that some distributors no longer sell resin-based products.
Sealing agents – coal tar to asphalt emulsion
First of all, it is important to know that there are several products on the market today that are used in the formulation of sealing coatings.
They consist of tar (coal), asphalt and refined petroleum-based variants, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, the two most important products are coal tar and asphalt.
Contractors usually use coal tar or emulsified asphalt products as described above. Resins are cheaper to use, but more work is needed to do the job, and if spilling chemicals is a bigger problem than time, resins can still be a better choice. Moreover, coal tar paints have been on the market for much longer.
Asphalt based emulsions take less time to apply as they are easy to handle and you don’t have to worry about smelly organic compounds that are a sign of resin application.
Emulsion asphalt pavement is a newer material whose main component is asphalt cement, which is then mixed with additional minerals, polymers and emulsifiers to improve the durability of the product.
Asphalt generally has a higher content of solids, so the sealant is probably of better quality and offers longer protection than tar coatings.
Key benefits of sealing asphalt paving
- Sealing is the most cost-effective method of re-hardening and extends the life of the paving.
- The seal prevents moisture, salt, environmental factors and chemicals from penetrating into the paving and undermining the substrate.
- Sealing layers can not only prevent the asphalt from curing, but also prevent it from disintegrating, so that the sealing process can be invaluable for the life of the paving.
- Compaction can immediately improve the appearance of the paving or other asphalt surfaces. Not only is it more aesthetic, but it can also smooth less slippery surfaces by filling in small cracks and holes during application.
- The sealing layer can be applied very easily with a spatula or syringe. For homeowners who like do-it-yourself projects, this process can deliver the desired result while saving money.
Basic requirements for sealing asphalt paving
- According to an industry expert, not all sealants are the same, so the person doing the work has a duty to choose the best for the job, which is not an easy task for amateurs.
- While asphalt asphalt plastic probably retains its appearance and seal for 1 to 3 years before it needs to be re-applied, asphalt plastic tends to retain its integrity for more than 3 years, so here too the choice of the right product is crucial.
- Sealants are not cheap. High-quality products cost about $25 per bucket and cover only 300 square meters. You can find cheaper products (from $6 per bucket), but they may not meet your needs.
- It can get complicated when it comes to repairing an asphalted driveway that comes into contact with walls and other solid objects, increasing the cost and time involved.
- Environmental issues remain a concern. Studies by Baylor University and the USGA (https://www.dykespaving.com/blog/the-dangers-of-sealcoating/) have shown that workers using sealants (mainly resin-based) can be exposed to carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
What is the difference between asphalt and undeclared work?
These two types of paved surfaces are often confused and in fact the terms are often used interchangeably in the United States.
But there are differences that can make choosing the right sealant even more important.
Asphalt is a road surface used on major highways, interstate and other roads. It consists of mineral aggregates, sand and a type of petroleum binder that holds the mixture together.
Concrete is mixed, poured and compacted with a steam roller to create a dense and durable surface that reduces wear and tear on car tyres and even reduces road noise.
Depending on weather conditions and other environmental influences, industrial asphalt can last up to 20 years with regular maintenance.
Blacktop, on the other hand, is another form of concrete placement that requires more stone in the mixture and must be heated to a higher temperature (about 300 degrees F) in order to integrate the raw materials well.
After mixing, it is poured onto the surface and allowed to cool and cure, so that the stones stick together like glue thanks to the binder.
Blacktop is cheaper than asphalt, but it does not perform as well on surfaces exposed to heavy and constant traffic, nor does it maintain its integrity over long periods of time.
How often should the track be closed?
This issue requires that account be taken of the climatic conditions in the various regions of the United States.
Because winter temperature drops and scorching heat both play a role in the lifespan of pavements, concrete pavements need to be sealed every four to five years on average to protect them from water infiltration and extend their lifespan, writes James Cummings, a reporter for Cox News Service.
For older driveways, Cummings offers a penetrating concrete seal as concrete becomes more absorbent over time.
The penetrating sealant is impregnated into the surface to create a barrier that prevents the penetration of water. However, penetrating sealants are an expensive product.
For example, a five-gallon container for $90 can only cover 500 square feet, and if the aisle has pockets of large cracks and/or potholes, Cummings adds, you can only get 200 square feet of coverage.
If you have just laid a new concrete driveway, experts recommend applying the first sealant about a year after the paving has been laid, as it can take so long for the paving to cure.
If the sealant is worn out or if the concrete deteriorates from below due to unusual weather conditions, you should do this work every two to three years.
10 steps to seal lane
Once you have determined that you have the necessary skills for this task, follow the steps below to perform this task correctly:
- Plan the work for a period of the year in which you can expect 48 hours of dry weather.
- Do not let the cars/people cross the area on foot or by car by erecting barricades at the confluence of the carriageway.
- Wipe and rinse the driveway and seal deep cracks with a liquid sealant.
- Remove oil stains on roads with an oil-based primer.
- Fill in deep holes with putty. Seal the holes well and align the area.
- Choose the right sealant. If you’re in a hurry, advanced latex acrylic fillers dry so quickly that you can roll across the surface in 4 hours, according to Popular Mechanics magazine.
- Let’s get to work. Wear safety goggles and never let asphalt come into contact with your skin, say the professionals at Reliable Contracting. Wear protective gloves and a face shield to prevent inhalation of hazardous sealing fumes.
- Follow the product manufacturer’s instructions for application with a squeegee or nozzle.
- Allow the sealer to dry for 36 to 48 hours before applying a second coat.
- After an additional drying time of 36 to 48 hours, remove the barriers, but keep an eye on the pavement to make sure that blown leaves or other debris do not stick to the pavement when it dries.
-If your route is long and wide, save time by using a commercial nozzle instead of a squeegee.
-Multiple thin layers of sealant provide better surface integrity than a single thick layer.
-For a more professional finish, apply each layer in a different direction, as when painting a wall.
If you are worried about slipping and falling, mix sand with a sealant to add a non-slip surface structure.
-If you mix several buckets of putty, prepare consecutive buckets before the previous bucket is used up so that the colour remains the same everywhere.
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