Listening to a group of asphalt contractors discuss their industry among themselves can be as confusing as it is enlightening. There can be many nuances in various terms that the average citizen might not fully understand, and there may be terms with significant differences that might seem very similar to the uninitiated. For example, a professionally applied sealcoat can often mimic the appearance of new asphalt paving, but that is where any similarity ends.
What Is Sealcoating?
Sealcoating is an asphalt maintenance procedure that can give the pavement a darker, smoother appearance. However, the primary function of asphalt sealcoating is to protect the pavement from damage that can lead to costly repairs and premature deterioration.
How Does Sealcoating Help Protect Asphalt Paving?
As any experienced paving contractor can tell you, asphalt pavements have three very formidable enemies, which are ultraviolet radiation, petrochemicals, and water. Asphalt sealcoating can help protect your pavement from these and other enemies.
1. The sun emits ultraviolet radiation, which you probably refer to as UV rays. UV rays can cause human skin to dry out, change color, wrinkle, and age prematurely. Asphalt pavements can suffer similar damage from UV rays. These harsh rays will turn the color of the asphalt from dark black to an unsightly, dingy shade of brown or gray. Since UV rays steal the moisture in the asphalt, the pavement becomes dry and brittle, which makes it more likely to develop numerous and extensive cracks. As the binder in the pavement is broken down by the UV rays, the deterioration of the pavement is accelerated.
2. When a parking lot paving company refers to petrochemicals, contractors are primarily referring to the automotive fluids leaked onto your pavement by the vehicles driving or parking on it. These include oil, diesel, brake fluid, gasoline, and similar products that are petroleum distillates. Asphalt is also derived from petroleum. When petroleum distillates encounter each other, they attempt to recombine. When this happens on an asphalt pavement, the binder breaks down, leaving the pavement beneath the petrochemical a soft, crumbly mess that will quickly morph into a pothole.
3. Many people are surprised to learn that water causes an amazing amount of damage every year to asphalt pavements across the country. Although asphalt is effectively waterproof, the same cannot be said about the underlying foundation that supports an asphalt pavement. When water drains through open cracks or other pavement breaks, gravity will pull it down through the entire structure until it reaches the foundation. The foundation becomes eroded, unstable, and weak. The integrity of the pavement can be so severely compromised that the only cost-effective solution is a complete removal and replacement.
What Is Asphalt Paving?
A paving procedure involves the installation of an asphalt pavement. This can be an asphalt overlay or a completely new pavement. A predetermined number of asphalt layers are placed and compacted. Typically, a parking lot paving company will make the top layer smoother than the other layers to reduce noise and enhance the aesthetics of the pavement.
How Often Do I Need Asphalt Sealcoating and Paving?
There are too many factors to provide an exact schedule, but it is possible to state what the average interval is in Florida.
1. Sealcoating contractors recommend waiting until a new pavement is cured before sealing it for the first time. On average, asphalt parking lot sealcoating lasts approximately two years if it is kept clean.
2. Depending on the quality of the installation, the care that the pavement is given, and the type of loads it supports, a parking lot paving company will usually offer an estimated life of around 15 years for an asphalt parking lot. This does not automatically mean that the pavement will need to be rebuilt. If the pavement has received sufficient parking lot maintenance, an asphalt overlay may be a feasible alternative that will be much less expensive.
When you need assistance installing, repairing, or maintaining a pavement, trust the experienced paving professionals at 3-D Paving. We offer an extensive list of services, including asphalt repair and paving, asphalt milling, sealcoating, asphalt overlays, concrete installation, parking lot striping, site work, ADA compliance, drainage repairs, parking lot signage, bollard and speed bump installation, thermoplastic markings, and reflective pavement markers. We have an impeccable reputation for providing clients throughout South Florida with exemplary work and extraordinary service. Contact us for a free quote by submitting our online request form. If you prefer, you can email Info@3-DPaving.com, or you can reach us by phone at 855-735-7623.