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How Does the Sealcoating Process Work?

sealcoatingBetween heavy rains, snow storms and the daily wear and tear of traffic, the asphalt in your driveway or parking lot can take a beating. Adding a sealcoat to your asphalt can protect your driveway and your investment. But what does sealcoating do to help?

To answer that question, we need to first discuss how asphalt works.

Asphalt is used for paving and road construction because it is waterproof and flexible, and has adhesive properties that bind and hold the aggregates in the pavement.

It improved on the old method of building roads, which involved spreading graded stone aggregate, a system that required regular repairs, and only worked when the materials stayed dry and in place.

With asphalt, the aggregates used in road construction are prevented from absorbing water, making them stronger and improving their load-bearing ability.

Modern asphalt is a mix of stone aggregate and asphalt cement. The pavement you see is essentially the roof of the road, and covers a bed of stone, which carries the load of traffic. It needs to be elastic so it can expand and contract but remain intact.

Why does asphalt need to be sealed?

Despite asphalt’s superior waterproofing and adhesive capabilities, it still has some downsides when it comes to its chemical make-up, which makes it easy for water, salt and other chemicals to degrade its molecular structure.

As the asphalt molecules break down, the pavement loses its binding and waterproofing properties. You can see this phenomenon in action when roadways turn from black to grey.

In addition, because asphalt is the result of petroleum distillation, it is easily dissolved by other petroleum products such as oils, grease and fats.

Thus, when oil or gas leak onto asphalt, they dissolve the similar chemicals found in the asphalt. This isn’t as much of an issue on roadways, where continuous traffic essentially kneads the oxidized surface layers back into the pavement.

But on surfaces such as parking lots and driveways, with less traffic, asphalt degradation becomes more of an issue.

How Does the Sealcoating Process Work?

That’s where sealcoating comes in. By taking preventive measures, you can protect your asphalt from this sort of breakdown.

The process works like this:

  1. Workers power trim overhanging grass from the edge of your pavement.
  2. The entire pavement is cleaned of accumulated dirt, dust, debris and stone. A good sealcoat job requires a clean surface.
  3. Oil and other petroleum marks are heat flashed to clear surface solvents from the asphalt, before receiving a single coat of oil spot primer to ensure a strong cohesion between the marked areas and newly applied sealant.
  4. Workers clear cracks 3/8 of an inch or larger of dirt and debris and filled with the latest in rubberized hot tar crack sealant, then a coat of Black Beauty sand to promote adhesion to the sealing material.
  5.  The sealing crew cleans and covers any spots showing chicken wire cracks with hot rubberized crack sealant. Potholes can also be repaired, if requested by the property owner.
  6. Sealcoating is applied by brush. The sealcoat material is a blended polymer pavement sealer that has been mixed with a rubberized polymer epoxy latex that adds more flexibility and a rich black color after it dries. Sealants also contain sand and silica for more traction and durability.
  7. Once sealcoating is applied, it needs to remain untouched for 48 hours. Be gentle after that. Sharp turns can mark your surface. Do not turn the wheel while the car is stationary.

How Beckage Sealcoating Can Help

If you think it’s time to give your driveway or parking lot a new lease on life, Beckage Sealcoating can help. For more than two decades, we’ve worked with businesses and homeowners to help keep their parking lots and driveways safe and sturdy while making sure they look their best.

Contact us today to set up an appointment, or visit us online to request a quote.


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