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The Comprehensive Guide to Asphalt Sealcoating

asphalt sealcoating guide

Asphalt sealcoating is a preventive maintenance measure that extends the life of asphalt surfaces. It involves applying a protective coating to asphalt to shield it from elements that lead to its deterioration. Not only does this process improve the appearance of the asphalt, but it also offers protection against water, oils, and U.V. damage. However, a rarely mentioned benefit of sealcoating is its cost-effectiveness. According to a recent study, regular sealcoating can reduce long-term repair costs by up to 50%. For instance, a community in Minnesota reported significant savings on road maintenance after implementing a regular sealcoating program. This process is also eco-friendly as it minimizes the need for asphalt production, which has a substantial carbon footprint. Explore more about this process and the required equipment at the sealcoating supply section.

Understanding Asphalt Sealcoating

Definition of Asphalt Sealcoating

Asphalt sealcoating is a protective layer applied to asphalt surfaces to safeguard them from harmful elements such as water, oils, and UV damage. This process includes the use of a coal-tar pitch or asphalt cement mixed with water, fillers, additives, and sand, creating a liquid that is sprayed or brushed onto the asphalt. It's a preventive maintenance method that extends the lifespan of asphalt pavements, driveways, and parking lots.

The Importance of Asphalt Sealcoating

Sealcoating is crucial in maintaining the integrity and longevity of asphalt surfaces. It acts as a barrier against harsh weather conditions, chemical spills, and heavy traffic, thereby preventing costly repairs in the long run. According to a study, sealcoating can double the life of your pavement and save up to 50% in repair costs. Moreover, a well-maintained asphalt surface enhances curb appeal, adding value to your property.

For instance, a case study from the National Pavement Contractors Association revealed that a shopping complex in Ohio saved approximately $127,000 over 15 years by implementing a regular sealcoating program. This example underscores the cost-effectiveness of asphalt sealcoating.

Types of Asphalt Sealcoating Products

There are primarily two types of asphalt sealcoating products: coal tar sealers and asphalt-based sealers. Coal tar sealers offer superior protection against water, oil, and UV damage, but they are more toxic and less environmentally friendly. On the other hand, asphalt-based sealers are less harmful and emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs), but they offer less protection.

Additionally, there are acrylic sealers, which provide excellent color retention and durability. They are more expensive but are eco-friendly and offer a beautiful glossy finish. Each type has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on the specific requirements of the project.

For DIY enthusiasts looking to undertake asphalt sealcoating, consider browsing DIY driveway repair for a range of sealcoating products suitable for various needs.

The Benefits of Asphalt Sealcoating

Asphalt sealcoating is a highly beneficial process that extends the lifespan of your pavement and enhances its aesthetic appeal. But beyond its well-known benefits, there are other less-mentioned upsides that make this process a worthwhile investment.

Enhanced Durability and Longevity

Sealcoating significantly enhances the durability of asphalt surfaces. It acts as a protective layer, shielding the asphalt from harmful elements and extending its lifespan. For instance, a study by the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) found that sealcoated pavements lasted 50% longer than unsealed ones [source]. This longevity makes sealcoating a cost-effective solution, reducing the frequency and cost of repairs and replacements.

Improved Appearance

Beyond functionality, asphalt sealcoating also improves the visual appeal of your pavement. It gives the asphalt a fresh, dark finish that enhances the overall look of your property. This improvement can increase the curb appeal and, subsequently, the value of your property.


Despite the initial cost, asphalt sealcoating proves to be a cost-effective strategy in the long run. By extending the lifespan of your pavement and reducing the need for frequent repairs, it helps save substantial amounts of money over time. A case study by the City of Austin, Texas, found that for every dollar spent on sealcoating, they saved six dollars in future repair costs [source].

Protection Against Elements and Chemicals

Sealcoating provides a robust shield against the damaging effects of UV rays, rain, and chemicals. This protective layer prevents the asphalt from cracking, fading, and eroding, thereby maintaining its structural integrity and appearance. For instance, the asphalt crack filling equipment available at Pavemade is designed to reinforce the protective properties of sealcoating, providing an additional layer of defense against these harmful elements.

In conclusion, asphalt sealcoating offers numerous benefits, from enhancing durability and appearance to providing cost-effectiveness and protection against elements and chemicals. It's a valuable process that ensures the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your pavement, making it a worthwhile investment for property owners.

The Asphalt Sealcoating Process

The asphalt sealcoating process is a crucial step to ensure the longevity and durability of your asphalt pavement. This process involves three key steps: Inspection and Preparation, The Sealcoating Application, and Drying and Curing Time.

Inspection and Preparation

Before starting the sealcoating process, it's essential to prepare the surface properly. This involves cleaning the surface thoroughly, removing any dirt, debris, and loose asphalt particles. Tools such as power brooms and blowers are often used for this purpose. Next, it's important to repair any cracks and potholes. This not only provides a smooth surface for the sealcoat but also prevents water penetration which can lead to further damage. Specialized equipment like those found on Pavemade can be used to effectively fill and repair these imperfections.

The Sealcoating Application

Choosing the right sealant is a crucial decision. The choice depends on several factors such as the current condition of the asphalt, the climate, and the expected traffic volume. A professional asphalt contractor can guide you in making the best choice for your specific situation. The application technique is another important aspect. Whether it's applied using a squeegee, a broom, or a sprayer, the goal is to ensure a uniform and smooth layer of sealant.

Drying and Curing Time

Once the sealant is applied, it needs adequate time to dry and cure. The curing time can vary depending on the type of sealant used and the weather conditions. It's typically recommended to wait at least 24 hours before allowing traffic on the sealcoated surface. The asphalt sealcoating process may seem daunting, but with the right preparation, materials, and patience, it can significantly extend the life of your pavement. It's a small investment that can save you from costly repairs in the future. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, regular maintenance like sealcoating can increase the lifespan of an asphalt driveway by up to 30 years, making it a worthwhile endeavor for homeowners and commercial property owners alike.

Maintenance and Care of Sealcoated Asphalt

Asphalt sealcoating is a crucial step in extending the lifespan of your driveway or parking lot. However, ensuring the longevity of the sealcoat requires regular maintenance and care. This involves a series of steps, including regular inspection, immediate repair of damages, proper cleaning techniques, and knowing when to reapply the sealcoating.

Regular Inspection

Regular inspection of your sealcoated asphalt is essential in preventing minor issues from escalating into significant problems. Look out for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or fading of the sealcoat. A study by the National Asphalt Pavement Association found that regular inspections can increase the lifespan of asphalt by up to 25% (source).

Immediate Repair of Damages

Once damages are detected, immediate repair is key. Small cracks can quickly turn into potholes if left unattended, leading to costly repairs. Using high-quality asphalt crack filling equipment, like the ones found on Pavemade, can ensure the effectiveness of the repair process.

Proper Cleaning Techniques

Proper cleaning techniques are also a critical aspect of maintaining sealcoated asphalt. Regular sweeping and power washing can help remove dirt and debris that can deteriorate the coating over time. The use of biodegradable cleaners is recommended to prevent any environmental damage.

When to Reapply Sealcoating

Sealcoating doesn't last forever. Knowing when to reapply the sealcoat is critical in maintaining the integrity of your asphalt. On average, sealcoating should be reapplied every 2-3 years. However, this can vary based on factors such as usage, climate, and the quality of the initial application.

Proper maintenance and care of sealcoated asphalt can ensure its longevity and performance. By following these steps, you can get the most out of your asphalt sealcoating investment.

Hiring Professionals vs. DIY Asphalt Sealcoating

When it comes to asphalt sealcoating, homeowners often face the decision of hiring professionals or taking the DIY approach. Both options have their pros and cons, and the decision often comes down to factors such as cost, time, quality, and personal preference.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Professionals

Hiring professionals for asphalt sealcoating ensures quality work. Experienced contractors have the right equipment, like the ones you can find in Pavemade's collection, and expertise to deliver a smooth and durable finish. They also handle the prep work and cleanup, providing a hassle-free experience. However, professional services can be costly, and scheduling can be difficult during peak seasons. Also, not all contractors provide the same level of service, so it's important to research and choose a reputable company.

Pros and Cons of DIY Approach

The DIY approach to asphalt sealcoating can be a cost-effective alternative. It allows homeowners to save on labor costs and work at their own pace. Resources like DIY driveway repair guides can help make the process easier. But DIY isn't for everyone. It requires time, effort, and a certain level of skill to achieve a good result. In addition, homeowners will have to purchase or rent the necessary equipment and handle all the prep work and cleanup themselves.

Factors to Consider When Making a Decision

When deciding between hiring professionals and DIY, consider factors such as your budget, time availability, and comfort level with doing the work yourself. Also, consider the condition of your driveway. If it has extensive damage or is very large, professional services might be necessary. According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, homeowners who have recently undertaken DIY home improvement projects reported a "Joy Score" of 9.9 out of 10, indicating high satisfaction. However, it's worth noting that satisfaction can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the final outcome. In conclusion, both professional and DIY asphalt sealcoating have their merits. It's about finding the right balance between cost, quality, and your personal comfort level.

How often should asphalt be sealcoated?

Asphalt should be sealcoated every two to three years. However, the frequency may vary based on factors such as the volume of traffic, exposure to harsh weather conditions, and the quality of the previous sealcoating job.

How long does asphalt sealcoating last?

The longevity of asphalt sealcoating depends on several factors, but typically, a high-quality sealcoat can last between three to five years. Regular maintenance and optimal weather conditions can extend this lifespan.

Can asphalt sealcoating be done in any weather?

No, asphalt sealcoating requires specific weather conditions for optimal results. Ideal temperatures should be above 50°F, and there should be no rain forecasted for at least 24 hours post-application.

How long should you stay off a newly sealcoated driveway?

It is recommended to stay off a newly sealcoated driveway for at least 24 to 48 hours to allow the sealant to properly dry and cure. This time frame may vary based on the specific product used and weather conditions.

What are the potential problems if asphalt is not sealcoated?

If asphalt is not sealcoated, it can lead to several issues such as premature aging, cracking due to UV rays, damage from chemical spills, and water penetration leading to potholes. It can also result in the asphalt losing its black, lustrous appearance.

Can sealcoating fill in cracks?

Sealcoating can fill in minor cracks and provide a smooth, protective layer over the asphalt. However, for larger cracks, it is advised to use a dedicated crack filler before sealcoating. You can find suitable products for this on Pavemade's website.


Asphalt sealcoating is an essential maintenance practice that extends the lifespan and enhances the appearance of asphalt surfaces. It is a cost-effective solution that protects against harsh weather conditions, harmful UV rays, and chemical spills. While the benefits are often highlighted, it’s also important to note the consideration of timing and proper application techniques to ensure the effectiveness of the sealcoating process. A prime example of this can be seen in the case of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which has effectively used asphalt sealcoating to prolong the life of their roads, thus saving substantial public resources. In conclusion, whether used on a commercial parking lot or a residential driveway, asphalt sealcoating is a valuable investment for maintaining the integrity and aesthetics of asphalt surfaces. For those considering a DIY approach, a range of high-quality sealcoating supplies are available to ensure a successful project.