Sealcoating is an important step in properly maintaining asphalt to ensure that your investment will last for years to come. During the sealcoating process, Slurry Seal Coat is sprayed across the surface to replace the oils and create a wearing layer. Sealcoating along with crack seal will protect your asphalt surface from water intrusion, which would cause cracking and further disrepair.
When to Sealcoat?
When you should seal coat depends on the usual traffic of the surface, sun exposure, and the climate that the blacktop is in. As a general rule you should seal coat every 3 to 6 years, however, you can always check by inspecting the asphalt surface yourself.
It is easy to tell if an asphalt surface needs to be seal coated because when the top layer of asphalt bitumen is worn away your surface will turn gray. Over time asphalt pavement will break down from factors like roadway wear, sunlight, heat, and precipitation. Asphalt bitumen is naturally black in color and when the top layer of asphalt is worn down the aggregate rock that makes up asphalt surfaces will show through.
Loose gravel on a paved surface is a sign that the asphalt bitumen has begun to break away some of the aggregate rock in the asphalt. Once the top layer of an asphalt surface wears away water will begin to intrude into the asphalt and break down the bond between the asphalt bitumen and the aggregate rock. Loose gravel is a strong sign that your asphalt surface needs to be seal coated soon because the pavement will be susceptible to cracks and further damages.
Cracks in the surface of your asphalt is a late sign that you need asphalt sealcoating and crack sealing. Asphalt cracks form when water seeps into the asphalt and breaks away at the bonded bitumen causing it to break away from its bond with the aggregate rock. Once a crack has begun to form water will seep through it further and will erode the surface below the asphalt pavement creating larger cracks and potholes.
What Is Sealcoating Made Of?
Sealcoat is made of asphalt bitumen which has been heated up to a temperature above 240 degrees Fahrenheit in order to turn the substance viscous. Asphalt bitumen is the binder used in road construction and is a crude oil byproduct which occurs naturally. Other seal coats are also available that are made of synthetic tar substances that do not need to be heated up.
How Long Should I Wait After a Surface is Seal Coated?
It takes 24 hours to 48 hours for an asphalt surface to cure after being seal coated. The water needs to evaporate out of the sealer to allow it to cure. Weather will dictate how long it will take to cure. On a hot sunny day you can expect to wait a 24 hour period. If it is a cool day with no sunlight it can take up to 48 hours. High humidity can also create longer drying times.
Types of Sealcoating
There are various methods which you can use to seal coat a surface. Depending on how worn an asphalt surface is you may need to apply more structure back to the pavement.
Slurry Seal Coating
A slurry seal coat is a mix of asphalt emulsion, fine sand, and water. Seal coat will replenish oils and creates a wearing layer. Slurry seal coats are for roads in small communities and parking lots that have mild wear and tear.
Chip Seal Coating
Chip and seal coating is a process that applies layers of asphalt sealer and aggregate rock to build up the strength an asphalt surface. Chip and seal coating are for surfaces that need severe repair and have forgone routine maintenance. Chip and seal coating are common for roadways that can not be frequently shut down for scheduled seal coating.
Fog Seal Coating
Fog seal coating uses emulsified asphalt bitumen to spray it in a fine mist on top of a blacktop surface. The emulsifier is used to suspend the asphalt bitumen in a liquid state without having to add excess heat to the solution. This process is common for larger roadway projects because it is a fast way to seal coat a surface.
Is your surface ready to be seal coated?
Determining if your surface is ready to be seal coated can be a difficult process, and that is why we at Lone Star Paving offer a free onsite consultation. We will be able to assess the state of your asphalt and determine what kind of asphalt resurfacing it needs. For more information visit our asphalt sealcoating page or contact us today!