Parking Lot Answers

When Should You Seal Coat Your Asphalt Parking Lot?

Posted by Steven Brahney on May 5, 2015

squeegee_machine.jpgAsphalt parking lots should be seal coated within 12-18 months after the asphalt was installed.

Proper timing of seal coating will enable you to extend the life of the asphalt by 300%. By seal coating within 18 months after asphalt installation, you will seal in the essential binder of the hot mix asphalt which is the glue that holds the stone and sand together for a smooth asphalt surface that is easy to sweep and will aid in melting snow and ice faster.

“Ok, I seal coated the parking lot 12 months after it was paved, everything should be okay now, correct?”

Would you buy a new car with a perfect metallic paint finish, wax it one time and then never wax it again? Probably not.

seal coat asphalt parking lot

The reason seal coating is viewed by some property managers as only cosmetic is due to the fact no seal coating contractor has ever taken the time to explain the benefits of seal coating and never HELPED the property manager DESIGN a Preventative Maintenance SYSTEM.

There is so much more to seal coating than just mixing up some tar and spraying it on the pavement.  Although, as a property manager you are at a great disadvantage because 95% of seal coating contractors look at seal coating as just that; mixing up coal tar emulsion or asphalt emulsion with most times water ratios which far exceed the manufacturers recommendations and then sending a couple guys in a pick up truck pulling a tank on a trailer, throw up some cones at your entrance, do a substandard job of cleaning the pavement and then proceed to spray a thin coat of what resembles dirty dish water onto your parking lot, curbs, sidewalks, building, dumpsters and everything else which is not supposed to be coated with overspray.  This in a nutshell is “the seal coating business model” as executed by 95% of seal coating contractors who call themselves “professionals.”

In all honesty, if I had that type of experience I wouldn’t put much stock in seal coating either!

In order to experience the budget saving “delay the mill & pave” benefits of seal coating, seal coating has to be part of a Preventative Maintenance Plan.  A Preventative Maintenance Plan is the furthest thing from spraying some dirty dish water onto a parking lot in hopes it lasts till the check clears or worse; your boss see the finished product and says “you didn’t approve that invoice for payment, right…?”

What Is A Preventative Maintenance System:

  • First, a pavement consultant comes to your property and performs a complete site evaluation of your new asphalt parking lot with-in 18 months of the asphalt installation
  • Using aerial diagrams and a budgeting software program, a Preventative Maintenance System is designed for your exact property and a budget covering years 1-15 is developed. 
  • Careful attention is given to the type of property (Office Building, Shopping Center, C-Store, Industrial Park, Multi-Family etc) and depending on the usage, daily traffic count and the amount of years you plan on keeping the property in your portfolio, the pavement consultant will then decide which type of pavement sealer and which type of application method is best for your project. If it is a high traffic shopping center, he / she may recommend using a high performance seal coating product such as Gem Seal Poly Tar Coal Tar Emulsion applied with a first coat squeegee application and second coat spray applied with a third coat in the high traffic areas to move resealing from every 3 years to every 4-5 years. If the property is a Country Club or a Yacht Club on the Chesapeake Bay, he /she may recommend using Dura Seal Asphalt Emulsion or Black Diamond Pavement Sealer which are more environmentally friendly with very little odor so as not to disturb members in the summer heat when coal tar begins to give off a tar odor.
  • The Pavement Consultant will then schedule an annual inspection to make sure any cracks that have developed are sealed prior to winter or the summer rains. 
  • Seal coating will then be scheduled on a 3-5 year rotation and you will be given a budget to you know from Year 1 to Year 15 how much you are spending on Preventative Maintenance.
  • You will be given a graph in an Excel spreadsheet that is very east to understand and show to upper management about the “dollars & sense” of Preventative Maintenance clearly showing the cost of doing nothing and the cost of implementing a preventative maintenance plan.

As you can see above, there is much more to seal coating than just spraying tar on the asphalt! 


Topics: Sealcoating

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