Methods of Sealcoat Application

Do-It Yourself

Protection Rating: Poor

Pros: Illusion of being a cheap application
Cons: If you have ever sealcoated a driveway yourself you know it can be backbreaking labor. You will need to buy several buckets of sealer at a hardware store. After your have carried many of these 50lb buckets in and out of your vehicle you will need to mix each one. Since hardware store grade sealer contains copious amounts of sand and filler your arms will get quite a workout. You will also deal with the dilemma of deciding whether to mix all the buckets before you start sealing and risk having the material drying and resettling in the buckets, or mix them as you go and have start/stop lines in your finish from every time you needed another bucket. After you have lugged these buckets around on your driveway for half a day in the blazing sun, having ruined at least one pair of shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, and a junky hardware store bush squeegee, you will come to the conclusion that you have not purchased the correct amount of sealer. (I know not one person who has ever purchased the correct amount of sealer to do their own driveway.) You will then need to return to the store a broken and bitter man. Also, figure on ruining your truck upholstery and/or the carpet from your door to the shower in this process. The buckets you will have purchased will have an inferior blend of sealer compared to what almost any reputable sealcoater will use (this includes the "airport grade" sealer.) The sealers available at hardware stores have a high percentage of solids, i.e. sand and clay and a low percentage of latex. Sealer brands marketing to homeowners know the average homeowner falsely believes that large amounts of sand are necessary for traction. These brands also know that sand is a very cheap additive. A study from the Pavement Coating Technology Center (PCTC) concluded that high volumes of sand in sealant mixtures wore-off pavement test surfaces at least 82% quicker than surfaces covered with volumes of sand comparable to what we at Chesapeake Sealcoating Company use. (Sebaaly, 2005)

Spray Sealing

Protection Rating: Fair

Pros: Cheap, better than no seal coat, fast (for the contractor), easy (for the contractor), cost effective because moderate amounts of sealer can be applied over a large area (for the contractor).
Cons: Regrettably, spray sealing has in recent years become the industry standard. A few decades ago virtually the only companies spray coating were traveling scam artists and other shady businesses. Spray coating provides the applicator with a quick method for applying sealer to pavement. However, spray coating primarily coats the surface with a thin film of sealer and does a minimal job penetrating and filling the pores between the asphalt's aggregate. This is why commercial sealcoating jobs always have a least two coats of spray sealer on just the low traffic areas and potential several more coats applied to drive lanes. There is also a very high potential for the airborne spray to travel during windy conditions. This ability to travel is most noticeable on garage doors, parked cars, and mailbox posts.

Squeegee Application

Protection Rating: Good

Pros: Uses more sealer, and better overall surface coating than spray sealing. Also, sealer does not travel in windy conditions.
Cons: Though squeegees apply more sealer to the pores of the asphalt than spray application, squeegees leave only a thin coating of sealer on the surface. Consider how a squeegee works on your car window you put a lot of window cleaner on but you scrape most of it back off with the squeegee. The same principle is true for driveway sealer. A lot of material goes on but most of it is scraped back off.

Brush Application
Protection Rating: Superior
Pros: Brush sealcoating is by far the superior method of sealing pavements. The brushes spread a large volume of sealer evenly over the surface leaving a smooth and thick protective layer. The bristles of the brush push the sealer deep into the pours and fill in the nooks and crannies. With brush coating the customer receives the benefits of a durable surface layer, a well as a interstitial space filler, that acts to stabilize and protect the asphalt. This complete coating prohibits water and chemicals from entering from the surface and provents out-gassing and evaporation of asphalt binders from within the pavement. Chesapeake Sealcoating takes the level of protection one step further by using custom made brushes for a superior coating and finish. There are only three other companies that use these custom brushes, all three are in N.J. and specialize in high-end asphalt sealcoating work. Another benefit to brush application is the brushes control the flow of material better than other applications so there is NO sealer on garage doors, parked cars, or sidewalks. The premium blend of sealer Chesapeake Sealcoating Co. uses cannot typically be applied by other application methods. We use more latex additives in our mixture to create a more durable surface. We can do this because we do not have to pump our mixture through a hose and spray nozzle. Our custom made brush coating tanks allow us not to worry about clogging pump equipment with the thick, rich mixture of sealer we brush apply to every job.

Cons: Brush application is more labor intensive than other commercial methods. It takes brush coaters longer to apply this superior protection. After all, we can't just jump out, wave a spray wand around, and then jump back in the truck. Another draw back is that commercial brush coating does not require the customer to stand out in the blazing sun swearing, sweating, while ruining his clothing and shoes.

Why Sealcoat?

Sealcoating provides a protective coating on your asphalt to protect it from the elements, as well as traffic, chemical, and other wear. An article entitled "Progress in Sealcoating" states:

"With a little education on pavement performance, most owners and contractors will be able to make smart decisions. Following are a few simple facts to keep in mind:

  1. As long as pavements are subjected to traffic loads and environmental factors, they will experience deterioration and eventual failure.
  2. Pavements must be maintained regularly. National studies have shown that every $1 spent on preventive maintenance saves $5 on major rehabilitation.
  3. Accept the fact that good pavements also need maintenance, very similar to changing the oil every three months in a brand new car. IF preventative maintenance is delayed then its effectiveness in greatly reduced. In most cases, once cracking appears on the pavement surface, it is too late for preventative maintenance."

Sebaaly, Peter. "Pavement Solutions." Pavement March/April 2005:24.


A quality seal coating job covers and fills not only the top of the pavement which is subjected to traffic wear, but more importantly seals and fills in the pores that exist between the aggregate. These pores are where water and chemicals infiltrate the surface and where the binding agents of the asphalt are evaporated and/or leached out. Brush coating is a superior method for ensuring that these surface pores are filled and sealed.