When it comes to managing and prolonging the life of your parking lot, sealcoating is one of the most important elements.
Sealcoating is a thin coat of either asphalt cement or coal tar pitch mixed with emulsifying agents, water, and inert fillers to seal and protect pavement surfaces from UV rays, water, salt, oil, and gasoline.
Of course, you might be wondering whether or not sealcoating is a necessary element for your particular paving job, and whether or not the costs are worth it.
Let’s dive in and explore the ins and outs of parking lot sealcoating so you can make a more informed decision.
What Is Sealcoating a Parking Lot?
Though asphalt is a long-lasting surface, weather and other variables can wear it down over time, meaning more maintenance must be done to keep it intact. Asphalt will eventually oxidize, becoming faded or grey. When you sealcoat a parking lot, you use a unique mixture (like the one mentioned above) to protect it from weathering and harsh chemicals that can wear it down over time.
In essence, sealcoating can extend the life of your parking lot.
Note that sealcoating is a preventative measure and is not meant to fill asphalt cracks. Always fill cracks before applying sealcoating.
Parking Lot Sealcoating: advantages
1. Reduce Oxidation
When you fill voids on the surface with sealcoating, you essentially reduce its exposure to UV rays and oxygen, which reduces how much gas and oil is able to penetrate through porous parts of the asphalt.
2. Aesthetically Pleasing
After a time, asphalt will become faded and grey. With sealcoating, you can give your parking lot that nice, clean and new look, putting up a positive and professional image of the business, complex, or facility that is attached to it.
3. Reduce Water Entry
Sealcoating also acts as a wonderful agent for waterproofing, which minimizes how much water is able to seep through microscopic cracks in the asphalt. Without proper sealant, water can enter and freeze during cold weather, causing it to thaw and expand, all while shifting the asphalt around it.
4. Oil and Gas Resistance
Companies will often use coal tars in sealcoating agents, which are impervious to oil and gas spills. When gasoline drips on asphalt when the weather is hot, it can cause the asphalt to soften and break down, meaning more damage in the long run.
5. More Pliable
When you sealcoat asphalt, you darken it, giving it a rich, black color. As we all know, the darker the color, the more heat it attracts and holds onto. Dark black asphalt can retain heat from the sun better, which ultimately makes it more pliable than lighter asphalt.
When the weather gets really hot, the road will loosen up and its pliability will increase, allowing heavy traffic to drive on top of it without it cracking.
6. Easy Maintenance
When coating an asphalt surface, sealcoating can fill small voids. The end result is a surface that is much smoother and more evened out, which makes it much easier to maintain throughout the year.
If you are building a parking lot in a place where it snows often, it’s important to note that it is much easier to shovel or plow snow off of a smooth and even surface compared to one that is bumpy and uneven.
7. Easier To Wash
If your parking lot is next to a restaurant, then you more than likely have a dumpster in the area too. With trash floating around, parking lots often need to be pressure washed to maintain a fresh and clean look. You can’t simply sweep grease and food waste away.
However, pressure washing, after many times of doing it, can be damaging to an unsealed parking lot. With proper sealcoating, you can protect your asphalt from pressure washing with high volumes of water and detergents.
How To Sealcoat a Parking Lot?
In the United States, you’ll find two major types of sealcoating, including:
- Asphalt-based emulsion sealcoating
- Coal-tar emulsion sealcoating
Once you choose the right parking lot sealer, you will use a hydraulic tanker truck to keep the mixture churning as you prepare to lay it down.
During the mixing process, you will also add anywhere from two to four pounds of sand per gallon of sealcoating emulsion. It’s worth noting that with one gallon of sealcoating emulsion, you can cover around 50 to 60 square feet.
You can then apply the thin layer of sealcoating with a spray, squeegee, or both. Once applied, you will have to let it dry for around 24 to 36 hours.
How Often Should a Parking Lot Be Resealed?
If you want to provide your parking lot with the best protection, you will want to reseal it every two to four years on average. However, you want to make sure that you don’t reseal it too frequently, or else you can cause coat peeling, which will ruin your job.
How Much Does It Cost To Sealcoat a Parking Lot?
The cost of sealcoating a parking lot depends on the price of crude oil, which, as we know, is in constant fluctuation. However, on average, you’ll only pay a few pennies per square foot to sealcoat a parking lot, making it a very cost-effective method for increasing the longevity of your parking lot.
We hope that this little guide to sealcoating was helpful in maintaining your ultimate parking lot.
As we said before, make sure to perform and major parking lot repair before you begin the sealcoating process, as sealcoating is not meant to fix large cracks. Here are a few helpful articles on Paving Finder that can help you through the repair process:
If you have any other questions regarding sealing your parking lot, make sure to get in touch with us here at Paving Finder. We look forward to helping you with all of your paving needs!