There are different schools of thought when it comes to asphalt sealcoating. Some are those who think you don’t need it believe that it creates layers of buildup that can, over time, lead to water damage and cause cracking in your asphalt.
That isn’t necessarily true when it’s done correctly. Beyond that, the benefits of asphalt sealcoating far outweigh any risks.
The most important thing to keep in mind, however, is that sealing your driveway or parking lot will be most effective when the asphalt that is initially laid down is done neatly and effectively. If the actual asphalt has cracks or is uneven, the sealing process won’t work as well.
If you’re dealing with an area of asphalt and you’re wondering if sealcoating is necessary, let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
The Popularity of Asphalt Driveways
People have been opting for asphalt driveways and other paving projects for years. Asphalt is inexpensive, a step up in quality from traditional concrete, and it looks great when it’s properly taken care of.
Asphalt is generally more flexible than concrete, though it can get hot if you live in a warm climate during the summer months. One of the biggest reasons why people keep choosing it for their driveways is because it’s relatively easy to maintain, especially when it’s properly sealed.
What Causes Damage to Asphalt?
A standard asphalt driveway can last anywhere from 10-30 years. Again, it all depends on how it was paved, when it was paved, and frankly, who paved it. There are also environmental factors that matter even before it’s laid. The base needs to be strong, and the soil underneath the asphalt needs to be considered for how well it drains.
Once the asphalt is laid, there are plenty of additional factors that play into its lifespan, including:
- UV rays from the sun
- Snow and rain
- Rapidly-changing temperatures
These elements can cause unsealed asphalt to become brittle and weak over time. Unfortunately, that can lead to cracking. When that happens, it becomes very easy for moisture to get into those cracks and create pools of water beneath the asphalt itself. When that happens, more water damage begins to occur and the cracks get even bigger!
If the problem persists, the asphalt’s condition will continue to deteriorate. It’s likely it will need to get repaved after a relatively short period of time.
It’s no secret that paving a driveway or parking lot with asphalt is an investment. So, allowing it to get severely damaged may lead to eventually replacing it. Instead of worrying about that cost, you can save time, money, and a lot of stress by sealcoating it!
The Benefits of Asphalt Sealcoating
As you might expect, the biggest benefit to sealcoating your asphalt driveway or lot is that it adds a protective layer that will keep your asphalt safe from the elements. The most prominent features of sealcoating include:
- It restores the rich color to the asphalt that may have faded over time.
- It keeps your pavement from getting brittle and cracking.
- It prevents potholes.
- It’s a cost-effective way to reduce the risk of repairs.
In order to get the most out of asphalt sealcoating, you should have it done every 2-5 years. It’s best not to do it every year as it can create a bit of a build-up. The best thing to do is simply to pay attention to the condition of your asphalt. If it’s looking dull, or starting to get damaged, it’s likely time to get it re-sealed!
Preparing Your Asphalt for Sealcoating
No matter how long it’s been since you had your asphalt coated, it’s important to properly prepare it to ensure the coating sticks and that it lasts. There are a few things you can do to make sure your asphalt is in the right shape for sealcoating for a successful application.
First, you’ll want to give an overall assessment of your asphalt. Take note of any cracks or holes, because they will need to be filled and fixed before the sealcoating is applied. Once everything is even and repaired, it’s extremely important to make sure your driveway is completely clear of debris and as much dirt as possible! Clearing the area will ensure you haven’t missed any cracks, potholes, or stains, and it will also help you to make sure the sealant sticks the way it should to the asphalt.
Finally, take a look at the weather forecast. Asphalt sealcoating shouldn’t be done in extremely cold temperatures. In fact, you should wait until the air temperature is at least consistently 50 degrees before considering sealcoating.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Sealing an Asphalt Driveway?
As stated above, some people are against asphalt sealcoating because they think it causes damage over time thanks to the countless layers.
But, the right company can properly maintain your sealant throughout the years, adding a new coat every few years or as needed and maintaining the strength and integrity of the asphalt underneath.
The only other potential “drawback” is that sealcoating shouldn’t be applied to asphalt that has just been paved! This might seem contradictory. After all, wouldn’t you want to protect your investment right away? Yes, but you could be doing more harm than good by sealcoating immediately after paving. Fresh asphalt needs time to cure. The chemical compounds within it have to come to the surface, and that can take several months. So, wait before considering sealcoating. When the asphalt is applied properly, you won’t have to worry about much damage happening in those few months.
If you’re interested in asphalt sealcoating in Southeast Michigan, look no further than Debuck Construction. We can handle any and all of your concrete needs. Feel free to contact us for more information or to get a quote about sealcoating your driveway. Our years of experience and expertise will help to ensure that you get all of the benefits of sealcoating so you can enjoy a cleaner, more efficient driveway.