Is Sealcoating Worth It?

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November 29, 2018

This is a question frequently asked by both existing and prospective customers alike. I wish I could simply answer yes or no, but there are a few important things to consider which will determine the right answer for you.

What is sealcoating?

Asphalt sealcoating is a protective treatment, designed to protect, preserve, and extend the life of sound asphalt pavement. It offers a secondary benefit of restoring your pavement's rich, black color. Sealcoating, however, is not a repair. Where imperfections existed prior to sealcoating, they will remain after sealcoating. Sealcoating is often done in conjunction with patching, crack filling and, of course, line striping (or painting of the parking stall lines, symbols, stencils, arrows, etc.). These services will go a long way in improving the look and, to a degree, the ride quality of your pavement, but they can't make your parking lot or driveway look or perform as if it were brand new. The only thing that will look and act like new pavement is new pavement.

What are the benefits of sealcoating?

In simple terms, asphalt is a combination of stone and sand, bound together by a sticky black substance, known as asphaltic cement. Asphalt pavement is intended to be flexible. During freeze and thaw cycles, it is designed to flex with the expansion and contraction of the ground atop which it sits. One of asphalt pavement's biggest enemies is UV rays from the sun. UV rays deplete the asphaltic cement in the mix, causing asphalt pavement to become brittle and unable to flex with ground movement. This results in cracking. Asphalt sealer protects pavement from UV rays, discouraging depletion of the asphaltic cement and allowing the pavement to remain flexible. It is important to note that any amount of asphaltic cement which has been depleted cannot be restored, so it's vital to sealcoat as soon as the pavement is ready. It is also important to do so routinely. According to most manufacturers, it is recommended that sealcoating be done every other year in order to achieve optimum results.

A secondary benefit of sealcoating is the restoration of asphalt pavement's rich, black color. This adds curb appeal and helps improve a property's appearance.

When is sealcoating a good value?

For relatively sound asphalt pavements, sealcoating is a good value. Pennies per square foot spent on preservation can stave off the need to spend dollars per square foot on replacement.

For highly distressed pavements and badly deteriorating parking lots, sealcoating is not a good value. In these instances, it is best to keep the driveway or parking lot safe and usable by patching potholes and addressing other hazards while saving your money and budgeting for replacement or resurfacing.