5. How sealcoat protects your pavement.
Preceded by effective crack repair, sealcoating applied every one or two years can significantly extend the life of your driveway for minimal cost.
Prevents Oxidation. Asphalt pavement begins to deteriorate almost as soon as it's placed. As the pavement is exposed to oxygen, the asphalt binder (tar) hardens. This hardening results in a brittle surface that will eventually crack. The cracks enable oxygen and rainwater to penetrate the pavement, often into the subbase, weakening it and reducing pavement strength. Sealcoating protects the surface and fills surface voids, reducing the pavement's exposure to oxygen and water, and extending pavement life.
Resists ultraviolet rays. These rays from the sun also cause the pavement to deteriorate. They brake down the links between carbon bonds in the asphalt, causing the pavement to crumble. Regularly applied sealcoats prevent ultraviolet rays from penetrating the pavement.
Resists off and gas spills. This is especially important on driveways where cars are often parked or worked on. Gasoline or oil will soften asphalt concrete. Coal tar sealers, which normally would be soluble in gas or water, usually include additives that enable them to resist such leaks. By filling surface voids, sealcoating also reduces the depth to which oil or gas can penetrate the pavement.
6. Sealcoat enhances pavement appearance and eases maintenance.
Sealcoating brings back the dark black color of the original pavement, making it look and wear like new. Sealcoated pavements also are easier to clean and maintain. Because sealcoats fill the surface voids, they make the surface much smoother. A smoother surface is easier to sweep, shovel, and wash.
7. Sealcoat new asphalt within the first year of construction.
But wait at least 90 days. Asphalt concrete needs between 60 and 90 days to fully cure, and contractors should wait that long before sealcoating. If sealer is applied before the pavement has cured, the oils in the asphalt will work their way to the surface and the sealcoat won't adhere properly. Two coats of sealer are recommended - the added cost is minimal compared to the extra protection.
8. Sealcoat your driveway every 1 or 2 years
Sealcoating is a protective film that will wear away - probably in some high-wear areas such as wheel paths - over time. A good rule of thumb is to have the contractor sealcoat your driveway every one or two years. This provides a consistently high level of protection for the pavement, ensuring that it will last longer.