What is a sealcoat?

Asphalt sealcoating, like cracksealing and patching, is another maintenance option that is recommended at various points during the life cycle of an asphalt parking lot. Sealcoats not only add an aesthetic/ cosmetic improvement to a property, but they also help with preserving and extending the life of the asphalt.

Regardless of the type of sealcoat application, typically a sealcoat will add an additional barrier of protection from environmental factors such as UV rays.

Are there different types of sealcoats?

There are various types of sealcoat applications, but the two most popular sealcoats are an emulsion sealcoat and a chipseal sealcoat.

Both applications can be performed on asphalt parking lots and can be applied at various points of the asphalt life cycle. However, there are pros and cons to both and there are times where a sealcoat doesn’t make financial sense.

Emulsion Sealcoat

An emulsion sealcoat is a water-based mixture containing liquid asphalt. When an emulsion sealcoat is performed, a crew will first clean the area to be sealed, and then the sealcoat product is applied with either a spray wand or a sprayer buggy, depending on the size of the project.

An emulsion sealcoat is best known for its cosmetic benefit as this sealcoat gives parking lots a fresh, new rich black appearance.  Along with the cosmetic benefit, think of an emulsion sealcoat as sunscreen for your asphalt parking lot as it helps prevent oxidation due to UV rays. This eventually causes the top layer of asphalt to become brittle and crack.

Emulsion sealcoats can be a great option depending on a client’s goals and specific situation. This type of sealcoat typically requires a parking lot to be blocked off for a minimum of 24 hours to allow the sealcoat product to fully “flash” or dry.

Depending on the condition of the existing asphalt, an emulsion sealcoat is typically expected to last somewhere between 2-3 years before it will require another application, if suitable.

Chipseal Sealcoat

A chipseal application typically consists of an oil mat or an asphalt binder being applied to the existing asphalt once the surface has been cleaned. Once this application has been performed, a layer of aggregate rock is applied and rolled to help ensure bonding to the oil mat or asphalt binder.

The two most common types of aggregate are a trap rock, or a granite rock and they typically come in ¼” or 1/8” rock sizes.  Not only does a chipseal help protect a parking lot from environmental elements, but it also adds an additional ¼” – 1/8” layer of protection that can help safeguard your lot from snow plows, salting, turn and scuff marks, etc.

A chipseal can be driven on almost immediately but the loose rock can typically take up to 6-8 weeks to properly “set” before excess rocks are swept up and the job is completed.  

Which sealcoat is right for your asphalt maintenance project? 

Determining which sealcoat is the best option for your asphalt maintenance project, if at all, is based on several factors: short/ long term goals, budget for a given property, current condition of the existing asphalt, future repairs planned, etc.

The sealcoat season, as far as performing the work, is a rather short season and that is something to be aware of. Typically, the sealcoat season runs from May through September, but is extremely weather and temperature dependent.

Sealcoats are best to be performed in spring or summer, when possible. The best way to determine if a sealcoat is appropriate for your property is to meet with a BR estimator and discuss your needs and goals.   

Get Answers About Sealcoats

If you’re looking for a trusted professional to help you determine if a sealcoat is right for your asphalt maintenance project, look no further! Call Bituminous Roadways, Inc. at 651-686-7001 or complete our Request a Consultation form today!