Asphalt Sealcoating Season Has Arrived
What Is Sealcoating?
Sealcoat is a protective coating that extends the life of asphalt pavement and protects it from damage caused by UV rays, deicers, and fluids from vehicles.
Why Should I Sealcoat My Parking Lot?
Asphalt sealcoating has many benefits. The most important being, it reduces long-term repair costs. A properly maintained and sealed asphalt pavement surface reduces long-term repair costs.
Due to exposure to the elements a your parking lot may not be as black when it was when it was first installed. Sealcoating helps give your asphalt surface the black color it once had when it was first paved. It should be completed within 12 months of any paving project. It will not cure existing parking lot problems such as cracks and potholes, but it will help them from forming to begin with. A fresh sealcoating job adds curb appeal to your parking lot and gives customers a great first impressions.
During the cold winter months, seal coating can speed up snow and ice melting on pavement surfaces. By keeping the asphalt dark in color it is able to absorb and retain heat. This heat helps melt snow and ice on the pavement surface.
When Should I Sealcoat My Parking Lot?
For a proper sealcoating project, the air and pavement temperature should be no less than 55 degrees. It is important to note, that this should include the overnight temperatures as well. You do not want a pavement maintenance contractor to apply pavement sealer and then have the temperatures go below freezing. The sealer will crack and chip if is freezes. It is almost important to note that your parking lot should be without traffic for 24 hours. This is to avoid tire marks and and to ensure a proper cure time.
What Is The Best Type Of Pavement Sealer?
Like different grades of fine wine, the sealcoating industry has it's own "house list," with more than a dozen different mix formulas used in a variety of ways:
- Coal Tar Based Emulsion Sealer - latex-based and one of the most popular choices when it comes to commercial and industrial parking lots.
- Asphalt Emulsion Based Sealer - also latex-based and widely used, but a more environmentally friendly (green) alternative to coal tar emulsion sealers; instead of coal tar, emulsified asphalt is mixed in with water, mineral fillers (silica sand, clay, or slate), and other admixtures.
- Acrylic Emulsion Sealer - typically produced in multiple colors and sold as a niche product for sealing and cosmetically enhancing driveways, golf cart paths, or as identifiers to specific parking areas or entrances.
There are also fast-dry pavement sealers that can be ready for traffic in as little as one hour. This is great for quick-service restaurants, hospitals, airport taxiways, shopping centers, or any other high-volume parking lot that can't be shut down for 24 hours.
How Should Asphalt Sealers Be Applied?
Asphalt sealer is applied directly onto the surface of a (recently cleaned) asphalt pavement. Cleaning the asphalt is the most important part of the sealcoating process.
Sealer can be applied using rubber squeegees, brooms, or mechanical spray, often a combination of the aforementioned applications. An example here would be that the first coat of sealcoat is applied via squeegee, and the second coat is applied by spray.
When it comes to Asphalt Emulsion Sealer, we like squeegees and think they offer the best.
How Much Does It Cost To Sealcoat A Parking Lot?
Using Coal Tar or Asphalt Emulsion Sealer, the average price to sealcoat your asphalt surface ranges from $0.14 - $0.25 per square foot. A number of factors can affect the sealcoating price:
- Mobilizations: The amount of phases the project can be completed to minimize disruption to your customers / tenants.
- Cleaning & Preparation: How dirty the parking lot is and how much cleaning will be involved using walk behind air blowers and steel wire hand brooms. Pavement sealer requires asphalt to be 100% clean to adhere / perform properly. The amount of oil spots which require preparation and priming with a latex based oil spot primer.
- Layout Of The Parking Lot: Wide, open square asphalt parking lots and interior roadways without a lot of landscape islands, turns and other chopped up areas. When pavement sealer can be applied with a distributor truck spray bar making a 10’ pass at a time versus a hand held spray wand applying sealer in a 3’ pass at a time.
- Size Of The Asphalt Parking Lot To Be Sealcoated: With all things being equal (Clean Parking Lot, 10 miles from office etc) theoretically it takes the same amount of time for a 4-person sealcoating crew to sealcoat a 15,000 sq ft open Burger King parking lot working in sections that is does to sealcoat a 60,000 sq ft closed office building parking lot on a Saturday.
With the rising cost of Coal Tar and Asphalt Emulsion raw materials, fuel, insurance rates etc., if you are receiving prices for sealcoating under $0.14 square feet / $1.26 square yard, you are most likely going to receive a sub-standard project when complete.
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