The Sealcoating Process
Asphalt is a mixture of fine and coarse aggregate (gravel and sand) with asphalt cement binder (the glue that holds the aggregate together) that is mixed in a heated condition. As soon as freshly laid hot asphalt pavement mix begins to cool, the aging process begins. When oxygen and water combine with the asphalt binder of the pavement, a chemical change takes place. Initially, this process is necessary for the pavement to become hard. Later, if this process is not arrested (by sealcoating), a complete deterioration of the asphalt binder will take place and reduce the pavement to a layer of loose stone.
The asphalt binder is essentially what differentiates a gravel road from an asphalt pavement. You may ask why the roadways and streets never get sealcoated. First of all, the engineering process is different. Highway maintenance departments know that it would not be practical to sealcoat and plan to re-pave every so many years. In addition, highway traffic is constantly wearing away the top layer of aggregate and exposing a new layer. Also, oil dripped from cars and trucks spread over the roadway surface to form sort of a low grade sealant. This doesn’t mean oil is a good thing for your driveway. Enemies of asphalt pavement include: gasoline, oil, antifreeze, sun oxidation, water penetration, and hot or cold weather.
Sealcoating asphalt pavement with a 100% coal tar emulsion sealer slows pavement deterioration by protecting against these enemies. For maximum benefit, asphalt sealcoating needs to be applied approximately 12 months after the initial application and then on a regular basis, about every 24 to 36 months thereafter. An asphalt pavement is a significant investment costing dollars per square foot. A maintenance program including sealcoating will extend the life of an asphalt pavement up to three times that of a surface that is not maintained. Sealing is relatively inexpensive, costing only pennies per square foot. A proper maintenance schedule will protect your investment and beautify your property at the same time. The application of sealcoating process can differ according to the pavement surface. Jet-Seal purchases coal tar emulsion sealer in bulk concentrate. At this stage the product is diluted. Washed silica sand is added for traction and durability. A latex performance enhancer is added which helps the product dry faster, blacker and harder. Formulating the final product to manufacturer’s specifications is vital to performance and longevity.
Trust in your contractor is crucial. Many contractors will exceed the recommended amount of water added to the bulk concentrate and eliminate the washed silica sand and latex. The result is an inferior product that will not protect as well or last as long. These contractors can offer their services at a reduced cost. It is very difficult for an untrained eye to tell the difference in the product at the time of application. You can trust us as your Central Ohio asphalt sealing experts!