Asphalt Seal Coating: What Actually Takes Place?

When you signed up to be a homeowner, you probably didn’t realize all of the different maintenance requirements you’d be dealing with, and all the various aspects of homeownership you’d have to learn about. Nobody is really prepared to be a homeowner until they buy a home and start learning hands-on. There’s also something new to be aware of, and new maintenance concerns or challenges can come up from any angle.

Asphalt seal coating is definitely one such requirement. Prior to being a homeowner, most people have absolutely no idea what seal coating is, what the process entails, or why it’s necessary. And yet, failing to meet this basic maintenance requirement can result in a very expensive situation over time. In some cases, asphalt may even need to be removed (a process called asphalt milling) so that a new, trouble-free surface can be installed. And when that happens, seal coating will be all the more important.

So what is asphalt seal coating, and what actually takes place? Let’s take a closer look at this frequently misunderstood asphalt maintenance requirement.

What is seal coating?

Asphalt seal coating is exactly what it sounds like — a special sealant is used to coat the surface of the asphalt. This prevents environmental and chemical damages, and helps the asphalt remain strong and “fool proof” as the weeks, months and years pass. The first seal coating is normally done several months after the asphalt has been installed. No professional will seal coat asphalt immediately upon installation, as this will lead to structural problems.

The “special sealant” can have a base of tar, oil or asphalt. In other words, difference types of seal coating are used depending on your local environment and climate considerations.

Depending on the type of seal coating you have, professionals will normally recommend a fresh seal coating every 1-2 years. For best results, seal coasting is always best left to a trained professional.

How is it applied?

The surface must be extremely dry and clean before seal coating is applied, in order to create maximum adhesion. Professionals achieve this with special sweepers and blowers. The actual seal coating is either applied by mechanized equipment, pressure spray, or by hand with a squeegee. Two coats are typically applied, and the asphalt must then “rest” with no activity for a day or two.

Where do I turn for asphalt seal coating?

The next question people often have, once they learn about seal coating and suspect their driveway is past due, is obvious: Where can I find a dependable, affordable asphalt seal coating service for my driveway?

If you know who installed your driveway, and are happy with the workmanship and customer service, it’s worth exploring whether this company also performs seal coating. Chances are, they’ll be happy to provide this vital service. But if you’re not sure who installed your driveway, and don’t know who to call, focus your efforts on asphalt installation and asphalt maintenance specialists who have many positive reviews, and years of solid experience in the community. You’re more likely to get sound advice and quality seal coating from a company who fits this description.