A good first impression starts with a clean and well-maintained parking lot. Part of maintaining an asphalt parking lot is having the lot seal coated every 3-5 years. Asphalt pavement is primarily rock, stone and gravel held together with a binder, or asphalt cement. Maintaining the binder, which is made from crude oils, is essential to prolonging the deterioration process of the asphalt. Rain, UV rays, and chemicals will degrade the binder, which is why sealcoating is essential to protecting asphalt.
Sealcoating provides a layer of protection to block out the elements. A regularly scheduled sealcoating program can double the life of your asphalt and save you money!
There are several factors that help us determine if we can seal coat or not.
If a parking lot has gone 10+ years without sealcoating, it’s likely that the binder has broken down. If this is the case, sealcoating the lot will have very little effect on protecting the asphalt. Layers of dirt, oil and debris settle into cracks and crevices, making it difficult for the sealant to bond. This is why a proper sealcoating schedule is important for maintaining a beautiful jet-black look. An overlay with a new asphalt topping will be the only solution at this point.
Condition of the Asphalt
The condition of asphalt cannot be assumed only by how old it is. Depending on traffic, asphalt mixture ratios, and exposure to U.V. rays and chemicals, an 8-year-old parking lot may be in better condition than a 4-year-old parking lot. When we evaluate a parking lot, we determine if the asphalt is free of major cracks & repairs, and if the bond between the binder and asphalt stone is still strong.
Seal coating should never take the place of properly fixing structural and safety concerns. Instead of seal coating a large crack or ignoring a pothole, we suggest saving your money to spend on repairing or installing a new parking lot. Seal coating over a lot in poor condition will only put a band-aid over the problem. In another year or so you’ll be looking at seal coating again. It’s in your best economical interest to repair, and/or resurface with new pavement, your lot instead.
Repairing and Routing Cracks
Before having your lot or driveway sealed, the cracks should be routed and repaired. Crack routing is the process of grinding a channel ¾” wide and ½” deep following the random crack line. This provides a clean, uniform reservoir for the sealer. Crack sealing is done to prevent the infiltration of water to the subgrade which will ultimately lead to pot holes and alligator cracks.
Routing cracks prior to installation provides clean surfaces for sealant application and a 40% greater chance of sealant success.
To Seal or Not to Seal?
When applied correctly and at the right time, seal coating prevents oxidation, weather damage and gives your pavement a clean look. Contact us today to determine if your parking lot is eligible for seal coating. We’ll provide a free estimate and come up with the best plan of action to have your asphalt looking good as new.