What exactly is sealcoating?
Sealcoating is a process not unlike painting your house. The asphalt in your driveway can deteriorate due to exposure from the sun, heavy traffic or oil spills. The sealcoating process involves spray applying an asphalt or coal tar emulsion to help protect the asphalt from the elements.
What sealcoating is not.
The important thing to remember about sealcoating is that it is a cosmetic process and is not a structural repair. If your property requires any patching or crack sealing, these must be done first before the sealcoating takes place.
How often should I sealcoat my property?
We do not believe in sealcoating a surface too often unless it gets a lot of traffic or exposure to the weather. What this generally means is that a property should be sealcoated every 3 or 4 years or when it starts to look 'dry'.
My driveway has a lot of cracks. Will you crackfill these?
As part of the production process, we wili use a cold pour crack fill to fill significant cracks. We define significant as cracks of roughly 1/2" or more wide. In general, if the asphalt has extensive 'alligatoring', you will still be able to see the random cracks through the sealcoat.
What will the finished product look like?
Sealcoating gives your property a uniformly black color that many people find very attractive. When you examine the surface, however, you will still be able to see areas that have been crack filled or patched due to the different texture of the asphalt. Worn asphalt that has been previously sealcoated has a much smoother appearance than new asphalt that is just sealcoated the first time.
Do you have any suggestions for making the production process run smoother?
Yes. If you have a lawn sprinkler system, please make sure to cut it off. While we will barricade areas that we have sealcoated, you should advise your lawn service and trash pick-up to stay OFF of the surface for at least two or three days to prevent scuffing.
When can I drive on my newly sealcoated surface?
Every situation varies due to the weather, but as a rule of thumb you should stay off the drive for at least 2 to 3 days to allow the sealcoating time to properly cure so that it doesn't track onto adjoining areas or scuff. Rainy days cause the product even longer to cure.
Are there any adverse effects to applying sealcoating too often?
To draw on the painting analogy again, if you sealcoat the drive every year (or every other year), unless the property gets a lot of traffic, the sealcoating will build up. The biggest drawback we find is that the surface gets extremely slick when it rains. On a property with a hill or on a steep incline, this can be a major consideration.
Can you sealcoat in any type of weather?
No. Sealcoating should only be done when the ground temperature is at least 50° and rising. Colder than this and the sealcoating tends not to adhere to the asphalt surface very well.
Obviously we do not schedule sealcoating projects when rain is imminent, but if the product is down for 2 or 3 hours before a sudden summer rainshower, the surface has generally set adequately to prevent washing out of the sealcoating.
Are different types of sealer available?
Yes. The traditional sealcoat that has been in use since before VVVVII is a coal tar-based sealer. This creates a hard, durable film, has a deep, dark color and has increased resistence to petroleum spills.
An asphalt-based sealer was developed in the 1980s and is considered to be more environmentally-friendly as it has lower PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) levels. These products do not smell as much and can dry faster. Their drawback is that there are strict mix specifications and they are not as forgiving in cooler temperatures.
The sealcoating industry is an industry in change. The sealer that Aurora utilizes at this point is primarily the coal tar sealer.