The reason to sealcoat asphalt pavement is to extend the life of the pavement investment. It’s as simple as that.
Whether contractors are sealcoating driveways or parking lots, the original pavement investment by customers is significant. So anything contractors can do to slow the rate of pavement deterioration improves the life cycle costs of that pavement investment. And sealcoating – as part of a comprehensive pavement maintenance program – plays an important role in extending pavement life.
“Sealcoating is essential in pavement preservation and extending the life of your asphalt pavement,” says Greg Houser, vice president of research and development for Neyra Industries. “There are many benefits of sealcoating asphalt, including improving visual aesthetics, resisting oxidation from the sun, replacing eroded surfaces, extending the life and optimizing the overall value of the asphalt pavement.”
“Whether it’s a refined tar sealer or an asphalt-based sealer, you want to put down a layer to slow down the degradation of the hot mix asphalt pavement,” says Rob Vance, vice president of sales and marketing for Vance Brothers and current chairman of the Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC). “Is it going to prevent the deterioration from happening? No. But it will slow down the deterioration.”
Basically, the reasons for sealcoating revolve around the limitations of the asphalt concrete pavement on which it’s used. In his “Basic Sealcoating Principles” session at the 2015 National Pavement Expo, GemSeal’s Lee Lowis explained that asphalt pavement offers poor resistance to ultraviolet radiation and sunlight. He said that exposure to sunlight results in oxidation of the pavement, which results in a loss of pavement “plasticity.” Lowis said oxidation allows the attraction of water molecules, which accelerates thermal and fatigue cracking and surface raveling.
So the reasons to sealcoat are directly related to what sealcoating can do to address each of these issues.