Sealcoating is used on asphalt surfaces to protect them from oxidation and other damage caused by cracks, UV rays, and everyday traffic. It is used by contractors when paving roads and highways, by businesses in their walkways and parking lots, and by homeowners for their driveways and sidewalks. The process is best used on new surfaces and should be reapplied annually. |
Using this process can extend the life of an asphalt surface for up to 30 years. While colder climates need the extra protection because of the stress that repeated freezing and thawing can put on surfaces, warmer areas can also benefit, since the UV rays and petroleum products from traffic take their toll on the asphalt. The process also enhances the look of a paved surface, giving it a clean, uniform appearance.
There are three basic types of sealcoating products used today:
This type is based on a substance that is a byproduct of the steel-making process, crude coke oven tar. It is the most popular type of sealant, since it is considered more durable and more resistant to oil and gasoline than asphalt-based products. Especially in applications where there will be heavy traffic and exposure to petroleum products, this type is preferred.
This product has been banned in some states due to geological studies demonstrating that exposure to the chemicals contained in coal-tar-based sealants can lead to potential health risks. Other air sampling studies, however, have indicated no inhalation risk to people exposed to the product.
Based from crude oil, this type is composed of a blend of emulsion specialty chemicals, fillers, and pigments. It has a very low odor and does not contain irritating chemicals, making it easy and safe to apply. The emulsion puts a barrier between the asphalt and materials or factors in the environment that can harm it.
While it has the same basic beneficial components as refined coal-tar-based products, the tar-based is stronger and more resistant to the leaks and spills of petroleum products, UV rays, and salt solutions used on roadways. However, asphalt-based products are considered better for air quality because they do not contain the high levels of volatile organic compounds found in coal-tar products.
This type of product can be produced in different colors, and it is usually considered a specialty product that is more expensive. It is used for sealing driveways, golf cart paths, specific parking areas, or other places where clients want the pavement to have a unique look.
Depending on the purpose of the paved surface, a different sealcoating material may be used. Homeowners will likely use a water-based emulsion that contains water, clay fillers, latex, polymers, other additives, and either coal tar or asphalt. Paving contractors will likely use coal tar for most applications. Businesses may use asphalt emulsion based for parking lots and walkways, since it has a lower odor. No matter the application, sealcoating helps preserve the quality and extend the life of paved surfaces we use every day.
Interested in sealcoating? Massachusetts residents visit New England Sealcoating. Learn more at http://newenglandsealcoating.com/.
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