Unfortunately, nothing in life lasts forever, including asphalt paving. But you can extend the life of your pavement and reduce repair costs with timely maintenance and repairs, including sealcoating.
To fully understand the benefits of sealcoating, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the nature of asphalt paving. Asphalt, the ebony material coating pavement aggregate, is a byproduct of oil refining. It does a great job of holding the aggregate together because of its stickiness. It is also flexible and has excellent waterproofing characteristics because it is oil-based.
In addition to offering a safe, smooth parking and riding surface, hot-mix asphalt materials protect the dirt or clay sub-base and aggregate base from wetness. This is essential because water intrusion into the deeper layers of asphalt compromises the pavement's structural integrity, leading to cracks, potholes, and other damage that is expensive to repair.
Asphalt is highly favored for paving applications, but it is not perfect. It will deteriorate as it ages with exposure to traffic, weather, air, and sun and starts to break down. The first sign of problems is when the dark, ebony color of the surface begins to fade to gray, and minute cracks begin to develop in the surface. This can be delayed or prevented with proper and timely sealcoating maintenance, the most inexpensive, easy, protective maintenance procedure compared to asphalt overlays, removing and replacing repairs, and crack sealing.
Most sealer contains fine aggregate, like Black Beauty boiler slag or silica sand, filling in the minute cracks that appear in the early stages of pavement aging. Filling in the gaps reduces the possibility that moisture can make its way into the deeper layers of asphalt. The longer you keep the water intrusion at bay, the longer your pavement lasts.
While it is impossible to prevent oxidation, asphalt binder deterioration resulting from UV rays and sun exposure can be slowed by sealcoating maintenance. Oxidation makes the pavement brittle, making it prone to cracks and other damage. Sealcoating is a protective layer over the existing asphalt surface to protect the binder from sun and air exposure. As a result, you can extend the life of your pavement with regular sealcoating maintenance. Experts recommend sealcoating your pavement within a year of initial installation and every two to three years after for the best possible protection.
Asphalt is a petroleum-based product, so any petroleum-based fluid that leaks onto it will combine with the binder and cause the asphalt to soften. Unfortunately, vehicle fluid leaks open the door to more extensive pavement damage. Sealcoating protects your pavement from such leaks, but if your pavement already has any spots from vehicle leaks, you must repair them before the sealcoating process.
The tiny sand-sized particulates are the first thing to wear away as asphalt ages. Applying sealant with boiler slag or sand will lock the tiny particulates in place and replenish them to provide extra traction.