Asphalt seal coats are probably the best form of protective maintenance that you can offer to your driveways, roads, and pavements. Like any form or protective maintenance that will typically save you money in the long term and you can recoup the outlay on seal coats in terms of the longevity of your asphalt and the reduced number of repairs that are required during that lifetime. In particular seal coating will help protect your asphalt against the elements and in some cases chemical damage. What seal coating won't do, however, is fix any underlying problems with the original asphalt application so before we start out on a seal coating job we take care to inspect the asphalt and assess its strength and age, any problems in its make up, and we take care to clean up any evidence of oil or gas spills because even oil spots can help interfere with the seal coat's ability to adhere to the asphalt.
What is Seal Coating
Seal coats consist of asphalt plus added modifiers including latex, rubber, and polymers to add flexibility and water proofing. It is also possible to add aggregates to the seal coating to enhance other qualities such as adding sand and mineral aggregates to increase the traction of tires on the asphalt surface.
Tar Based Seal Coats
Coal tar sealants are based on coal tar, sand, polymers, possibly clay, and possibly acrylics to provide flexibility and waterproofing which translate to a longer life for asphalt paving. Coal Tar based seal coats are completely unaffected by gas or oil spills which is one of the reasons for their popularity. The downside to tar based seal coats is that they aren't notably environmentally friendly and some mixes pose a risk of giving off volatile organic compounds(VOCs) which have been linked to health issues.
Asphalt Based Seal Coats
Asphalt seal coats are primarily asphalt and tend to be more expensive that tar seal coats as well as needing renewing more often. On the plus side they are much better for the environment and for the health of those living nearby as they emit very small amounts of VOCs.
There are now a number of other options when it comes to seal coats. These include petroleum based coats which offer great weather resistance but come with the VOC issue, and at the other extreme of the scale water based sealants that are far more environmentally friendly but not as durable. The development of synthetic acrylic sealants has also changed the seal coat landscape since these acrylic coats have none of the downsides of tar or petroleum based sealants but offer very high levels of protection. Acrylic sealants also come in a rainbow of colors and effects which means that although they cost a bit more, they are fast becoming the seal coats of choice for designer and retail paving environments. Talk to us about what seal coat will best suit you. All sealants are sprayed onto the surface of the asphalt with the aim of forming a protective gel. Since they must be agitated continuously while being worked this is definitely a job for the pros.