Is It Time to Sealcoat or Repave Asphalt?

April 23, 2020

Between vehicle traffic, foot traffic and harsh weather conditions, asphalt surfaces will begin looking worse for wear over time. While it’s best to completely replace heavily damaged paved surfaces, salvageable asphalt pavement can be resurfaced. This brings us to sealcoating and repaving in Montgomery County, MD—after fixing potholes, cracks and grooves, which resurfacing solution is the most cost-effective?

If it’s time to resurface your old asphalt driveway or parking lot, then the following information is for you. Here’s what you need to know before moving forward with either asphalt sealcoating or repaving.

Sealcoating surfaces

A parking lot or driveway is a huge investment, which is why you should plan to seal the surface—this process is known as sealcoating. Sealing your asphalt surface protects it from damage brought on by weather, traffic and vehicle fluids. Without a proper sealant, your pavement won’t last as long as it was intended to. It’s like not spraying a protectant on leather boots—sure, the leather will hold up for a while, but moisture will take its toll on the material.

Sealcoating products are made up of emulsions that combine asphalt (or refined coal tar) with mineral fillers, clay and water. Once applied to the surface, the water evaporates and the emulsion hardens into a protective coating. When mixed and applied correctly, the sealant becomes a smooth black surface that boosts the curb appeal of the residential or commercial property. Expert asphalt sealers will tell you that asphalt driveways and parking lots without sealant generally last only five to six years before they begin to break down.

Ideally, a first sealcoating layer should be applied six to 12 months after a fresh asphalt application. This should be enough time for the pavement to cure so oils can escape and the surface can be truly ready for the sealer. The first sealant application creates a barrier to keep water from seeping in and prevents deterioration of the asphalt binder. Reseal the surface every two to three years as a form of preventative maintenance. Hire a professional sealcoating contractor to apply it.

Repaving surfaces

Parking lots and driveways suffering from severe deterioration, big cracks and numerous potholes must be repaved. Repaving is the only viable option to make such large-scale repairs. An asphalt overlay is a compacted layer of up to two inches of hot mix asphalt placed over the existing asphalt surface. The process basically gives the driveway a new surface, and it repairs existing pavement just like sealcoating. Without maintenance, an asphalt overlay can start to deteriorate in five to six years, but it could last up to 25 years with regular care.

When it comes to choosing between sealcoating and repaving, as long as the paved surface is not too damaged, go with sealcoating. Repaving is more expensive and requires a lot more preparation.

The best solution and the ideal frequency of surface maintenance depends on the climate where you live. Contact Maryland Asphalt LLC for more information about asphalt sealcoating in Montgomery County, MD.

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