Sealcoating provides a protective coating on your asphalt to protect it from the elements as well as traffic, chemical, and other wear. A recent article entitled “Progress in Sealcoating” stated:
“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:
As long as pavements are subjected to traffic loads and environmental factors, they will experience deterioration and eventual failure.
Pavements must be maintained regularly. National studies have shown that every $1 spent on preventive maintenance saves $5 on major rehabilitation.
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 is 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 subject 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 leaked out. Brush coating is a superior method for ensuring that the pores of the surface are sealed and filled.
Different Methods of Sealcoat Application
Protection rating: Poor
Pros: Illusion of being a cheap application.
Cons: If you have ever sealcoated a driveway yourself you know that it can be back breaking labor. You will need to by several buckets of the sealer at a hardware store. After you have lugged many of these 50lb buckets around on your driveway for half a day in the blazing sun, having ruined at least one pair of shoes, one pair of pants, a shirt, and a junky hardware store brush and/or squeegee, you will come to the conclusion that you have not purchased enough sealer. ( I know not one person who has ever purchased the correct amount of sealer to do their own driveway). You will then have to drive back to the store a broken and bitter man. (Figure on ruining either your truck upholstery and/or the carpet from your door to your shower during this process).
The buckets you will be purchasing will have an inferior blend of sealer compared to what almost any reputable seal coater will use. The sealers available at hardware stores have a high percentage of solids, i.e. sand and clay. Stir one bucket and you know what I’m talking about. Hardware store brands know that the average homeowner falsely believes that large amounts of sand are needed for traction. They also know that sand is a very cheap additive. A recent 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)
Protection Rating: Fair
Pros: Cheap, better than no seal coat, fast (for contractor), easy (for contractor)
Cons: Regrettably, spray sealing has in recent years become the industry standard. Twenty years ago virtually the only companies spray coating were “jackals”. Spray coating provides the applicator a quick method for applying sealer to pavements. However, spray coating primarily coats the surface with a thin film of sealer and does a minimal job covering and filling the pores between the aggregate. There is also a very high potential for the airborne spray to travel during windy conditions. This ability to travel is usually most noticeable on garage doors, parked cars, and mailbox posts.
Protection Rating: Good
Pros: Uses more sealer than Spray Sealing, Better surface coating, doesn’t travel.
Cons: Though squeegees apply more sealer material to the pores of the pavement than spray application they still 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 scrap most off it back off with the squeegee. The same principle is true for driveway sealer; you put a lot on but you also scrap most of it back off.
Protection Rating: Excellent
Pros: Brush coating 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 all the little nooks and crannies. With brush coating the customer receives the benefits of a durable surface layer, as well a poor filler, that acts to stabilize and protect the asphalt. At Chesapeake Sealcoating Co. we take the protection one step further by using custom made brushes for a superior finish. There are only three other sealcoating companies I know of that use these custom brushes. (All three are located in N.J. and specialize in high-end asphalt/sealcoating work.) Another benefit is that brushes control the material better than other applicators so there will be NO sealer on garage doors, parked cars, or sidewalks. The premium blend of sealer Chesapeake Sealcoating Co. uses can not typically be applied by other application methods. We use more latex additive in our mixture to create a more durable surface. We can do this because we don’t have to pump our mixture through a hose and out a spray nozzle. Our brush coating tanks allow us to not worry about clogging.
Cons: Brush application is more labor intensive than the other commercial methods. It takes brush coaters longer to apply this superior protection. After all we can’t just jump out and wave a spray wand around and then jump back in the truck. Another draw back is that commercial brush coating does not allow the customer to stand out in the blazing sun swearing, and sweating, while ruining his clothing and shoes.