Will Applying a Sealant Affect the Long-term Wear and Tear of Asphalt?
There are differing opinions in the asphalt industry on whether or not sealer is needed. While some professionals believe that sealants will protect and preserve an asphalt surface, others feel that sealants do nothing but create layers of build-up that can contribute to cracking and water damage.
However, both sides do agree on one thing:
- The quality and durability of an asphalt driveway or parking lot is a primary result of the manner in which the asphalt was initially laid: if proper grading enables good drainage, and if a strong and solid base was established.
The Benefits of Sealing Asphalt
Although not a necessary aspect of regular asphalt maintenance, sealcoating a parking lot or driveway can offer some benefits.
The sun's ultraviolet rays and oxygen in the air can damage asphalt, making it brittle. Brittle asphalt can crack, allowing water to enter the paved surface. When water from snow or rain seeps through the asphalt or concrete, it can create pools of water underneath it, which lead to further cracking. Sealing protects the surface from damaging elements that can include:
- Car fluids such as oil, gas or antifreeze
- UV rays
Asphalt Sealant Considerations
It's important to fix cracks in your driveway or parking lot before sealing it. If the cracks are minor, the repair process can be as simple as clearing them of debris and broken edges and filling them with a substance such as textured ASPHALTIC caulk. The sealant should not be applied until all cracks have been filled.
There are many different types of sealants to choose from, each of which has different properties and effects. Water-based sealants are the most common solution, and are safe.
Asphalt sealing should not be undertaken every year, as this level of frequency will create excessive build-up that will lead to cracking and unnecessary damage. This may also cause property owners to consider asphalt replacement sooner than necessary.
For a personalized consultation and advice regarding whether you should seal your asphalt driveway or parking lot, contact Basic Construction at (757) 249-3789.
Which asphalt material is best for your project? Find out by downloading Basic Construction’s free ebook, Choosing the Best Material for Your Commercial Asphalt Job.