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Asphalt Maintenance Tips

An ongoing series of informational entries about asphalt maintenance

Common seal coating misconceptions.

August 1st, 2022

1. Asphalt sealer is sticky or has binding properties.

When you think of a coal tar asphalt sealer you focus on the “tar” aspect and think of it as a tacky material that will have a binding property to it. This is not true, coal tar sealer is a water based product. It is not heated and does not have any binding properties to it. It will not bind together loose stone, asphalt or millings. Coal tar is designed to form a hard, durable film, with a deep dark color and increased fuel resistance on the surface of your asphalt.

You should always “vet” your contractor. Companies can dilute the manufacturers product with additional water to make the product go further. Unbeknownst to you, the asphalt may look good when completed but the material will not last and provide no protection on your asphalt.

2. Seal coating will level out low spots on your asphalt surface.

If you are a first time seal coating customer, this is a common misconception. Seal coating is not “re-surfacing” and is designed to achieve a different goal. Asphalt sealer is designed to protect pavement that has good integrity to it. It does protect your investment and elongates the life of asphalt. What sealer will not do is re-level areas, fill voids, impressions or small holes, re-grade the surface that transitions onto your sidewalk or garage seam or puddles on your asphalt. The only way to repair these areas for the long term is to perform a full depth repair.

3. Crack sealing will make my asphalt surface perfectly level and smooth again.

Crack sealing has one goal…to prevent water from penetrating the surface and reaching the base material. We want to prevent water penetration for several reasons. When the base material is wet, it becomes soft and as vehicles travel over the soft area, the ground and asphalt flexes. When the asphalt flexes it creates cracks. As more water penetrates the surface and erodes the base material, the asphalt sinks and begins to form potholes. This is why crack sealing is extremely important!

Cracks are sealed by applying a molten rubber to fill the void. There is 3-4” inch over band that occurs to ensure the sides are sealed as well. (Those are the squiggly lines you see all over the roads!) They will be visibility after seal coating is completed. This product is self leveling and pliable to extreme temperatures. It remains pliable because asphalt is constantly expanding and contracting as the temperatures change. This pliability allows the crack to remain sealed as this movement occurs. This is why the material may appear to be slightly below the surface of the asphalt. Customers often see that the crack filling material is 1/8 inch below the surface and believe it was not “filled” properly. I suggest pouring some water on the crack and watching it bead on the surface, the goal is to seal the crack from the base! Which is what you’re seeing right before your eyes!

Why does asphalt need sealer?

July 26th, 2022

Why does asphalt need sealer?

     Seal coating your asphalt is a simple concept. We have wax for cars, sun screen for skin and sealer for asphalt! Just like any other surface, asphalt breaks down. When it is first laid there are oils that bind your asphalt together. Overtime these breakdown and the stones, sand and aggregate that form your driveway become brittle. The asphalt “grays out” and cracks start to form. As water, UV rays and fluids from your vehicle wear on the driveway, stones start to fall out and pot holes form. This happens because water is able to penetrate through the asphalt.

     This is addressed by applying asphalt sealer. While we cannot prevent the elements and seasons from breaking down your investment completely, preventive maintenance can extend the life of your driveway to 20-30 years. Our sealer will form a protective coating on the surface of your asphalt, preventing oil and water from penetrating it. It will slow the oxidation process caused by the sun, while also decreasing dry times. What we mean by this is the asphalt will hold less moisture, helping snow and ice melt in the winter and preventing damage from freeze cycles. 

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