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Asphalt Sealcoating machine

Why Should You Sealcoat Your Asphalt?

There are several ways to extend the life of your asphalt, and sealcoating is one of the best. Sealcoating is when you cover the surface of your asphalt with a sealer that fills in small cracks and prevents future wear and tear. This type of maintenance can help any asphalt installation—whether a driveway, or parking lot—last for 30 years or more. And not only does it help your asphalt last longer, it makes it look more attractive by giving it a new blacktop sheen.

 

What is an Asphalt Sealcoat?

An asphalt sealcoat is a solution that covers the top of pavement in order to protect it. Asphalt is made of aggregate (rocks and small stones) and binder (the glue that holds it all together). The sealcoat enables the binder to continue doing what it does by preventing the elements from getting at it. Think about it like “finishing” a piece of wood with enamel/surface sealant. 

The sealcoat is essentially a protector for the asphalt itself. It provides a weatherproof barrier that is the first line of defense against the elements. As time goes on and damage is accrued, the seal is what takes that damage rather than the asphalt.

There are different types of asphalt sealcoat available, and some older solutions are in fact banned due to the danger they pose. Make sure to get the right paving contractor so that you don’t wind up with dangerous chemicals on your property.

 

When is a Good Time to Sealcoat your Asphalt?

It’s smart to sealcoat your asphalt as soon as you see signs that it’s showing damage. It can also be done as a preventative measure before damage takes hold so that the life of the asphalt is prolonged. 

Here’s how you know when to sealcoat:

  1. If your pavement is showing early signs of damage.
  2. If your asphalt is installed in a place with strong weather that will invariably damage it.
  3. If you wish to extend your asphalt’s life.
  4. If you want the asphalt to look new while also preventing signs of decay.
  5. Your asphalt is six months to one-year-old.

 

How Does Asphalt get Damaged?

Asphalt gets damaged in all kinds of different ways, mostly by extreme weather. Asphalt is also damaged by the heavy vehicles that drive over it, making weather damage worse.

Sun Damage

UV (ultraviolet) light from the sun destroys all things over time. People and animals get this damage in the form of sunburn and skin cancer. Plants are damaged by overexposure to the sun and become dried-up and withered. Objects and inorganic things also get sun damage; bleaching and general decomposition happen over time. Asphalt is no exception.

Water Damage

Water damage is one of the main ways that small problems in asphalt become big problems. Little cracks frequently open up over time due to UV and automobile traffic. These small cracks let water in, and as water expands and contracts with temperature changes, the cracks become bigger. Water that seeps into cracks and freezes is one of the main ways that erosion happens. The water in tiny cracks in rock expands when it freezes, and that can even break boulders off of mountains with time. Asphalt receives the same kind of damage from water.

Another type of water damage is oxidation. This is more commonly called rust. When water interacts with iron over a long period, the iron starts to break down and cause rust. This can even happen with the small rocks and pebbles in asphalt, which contain trace amounts of iron. 

Chemical Damage

It may sound unlikely, but most asphalt will get some chemical damage over time. Driveways and parking lots will get especially damaged because parked cars will sometimes leak diesel, gasoline, and oil. These compounds are even more solvent than water and can cause more damage in shorter time. Sealcoating guards against these spills, preventing staining and damage to the top pavement layer.

Read more about how sealcoating works and what it protects against here.

 

What Other Reasons Are There to Sealcoat?

It Saves Money

A well-maintained asphalt road, driveway, or parking lot costs less over time. This is because extensive repair isn’t required. Filling small cracks with a sealer prevents things from getting in them and making those cracks worse. Weatherproofing pavement makes it last longer and take less damage over time. 

Simply put, if you sealcoat, you will have fewer big problems down the road.

 

It Prevents Plant Growth

As pavement cracks apart, weeds like dandelions and grass can start to grow through it. This might not do too much harm to the asphalt, but it is an eyesore, especially for asphalt paving in commercial spaces. Sealcoating doesn’t just make the driveway look shiny and new, it also stops sure signs of decay in their tracks.

 

It is Easier to Clean

The protective layer of a sealcoating makes the surface of asphalt less craggy and porous. This means it’s easier to clean because material doesn’t get into the little holes and cracks that develop on asphalt’s surface. The coating’s surface protection also means that, if you need to do a vigorous clean of the pavement with pressurized water or a cleaning solution, you don’t have to worry about damaging the pavement, as the sealcoat will be the first line of defense.

 

Should You Sealcoat Your Pavement?

If you answered yes to any of the questions posed before, then the answer is that you probably should get your asphalt sealcoated. To prevent damage, extend the life of your asphalt, and save costs down the line, then sealcoating your asphalt is the right choice. 

If you don’t know where to start, or if you don’t have the time to sealcoat your pavement yourself, contact Reliable Paving today. Our team is composed of experienced, professional paving contractors that can help you chose the right sealcoating job for your needs. Reliable Paving’s asphalt paving knowledge is second-to-none, and our services run the spectrum from sealcoating to repair to installation. Start the conversation today.

detour sign due to pothole

The Right and Wrong Way to Repair Potholes

Just about every road gets potholes at some point. Whether it’s from age, bad weather, or the road was paved poorly to begin with, potholes show up. But, how are they repaired? As with most things in life, they can be fixed the right way (and become lasting improvements on the road) or the wrong way, meaning they quickly open up again. Repairing potholes quickly and correctly is important because it prevents further degradation of the road.

How exactly do potholes form?

Potholes are caused by water. Water seeps into the areas underneath the road, and then it expands and contracts with changing temperatures, even in places with stable weather. In places with extreme weather, this problem is exacerbated.

As the water expands and contracts, vehicles continue to drive over the road. This eventually wears down the weak piece of road, causing it to open. Thus, a pothole is formed.

When can potholes not be repaired?

Small hairline cracks that are one-eighth an inch or less can’t be filled with asphalt, and they are usually safely ignored. However, if an area is covered in a large network of these cracks, then a surface seal can be used over the area. The surface seal must be fluid enough to seep into the cracks and securely bind them.

How can potholes be repaired?

The wrong way

It seems easy enough just fill in the open hole in the road or parking lot with new asphalt, right? This actually is just a temporary stopgap. The pothole will almost certainly reappear, and the area between the old asphalt and new asphalt will become the weakest part of the road.

The fast and easy way to fill in a pothole with asphalt is commonly used by less-experienced and less-professional workers. It’s common to see these types of repairs in developing areas or poverty-stricken regions that can’t afford proper workers, equipment, or training.

The right way

To properly repair a pothole, there are several steps that must be followed. And different procedures are followed depending on the size of the crack or pothole.

Clean The pothole

The pothole can easily be cleaned by hand with simple tools like shovels and rakes. First, small pieces of stone, asphalt, and other debris must be removed. Afterwards, high pressure water, high pressure air, sandblasting, or a wire cleaner can be used to clean out fine materials. The cleaning process ensures that the adhesive used will bind the filler to the road properly, and that the filler won’t simply break apart or come in the near future.

Measure the pothole

After cleaning, the crack or pothole must be measured for depth and length. This gives a good idea of how much material will be needed for the repair, and if other equipment besides asphalt can be used in the pothole.

Repairing cracks

In order to conserve sealant, a backer rod is often places in the cracks. The rod simply reinforces the structure and enables repairers to use less asphalt for filling in the crack. The backer rod should be non-compressible, non-shrinking, and non-absorbent, and have a higher melting temperature than the asphalt used to fill in the crack.

Filling in the crack

After the crack is cleaned and prepared, it’s sealed with liquid asphalt. Various types of equipment can be used for pouring the asphalt (depending on the size of the crack). The filler should fill the crack from the top to the bottom, but should be about one quarter to one eighth of an inch lower than the surface of the crack. Completely filling in the crack prevents air bubbles from forming and weakening the newly-filled crack.

Patching a large pothole

Quick repair

A quick repair is a surface-level patch that is often temporary. Asphalt is poured on the pothole and the surface is leveled. This prevents further destruction of the road, but will not last long.

Full repair

The full repair of a pothole is a much more intensive process. The entire surface area of the pavement must be removed before the patching process begins. Deep patching removes the top four inches or more of asphalt so the hole can be repaired, while full-depth patching removes the entire area of pavement to start from the ground up. Full depth patching can be used for concrete and pavement, while deep patching is used only on asphalt.

Full-depth patching may even require removal of the surface below the pavement (the sub-grade), and may require drainage. Full-depth patching requires not only repair equipment but also excavation tools, as the pavement is removed (about one foot deep or more) and is cut out in square shapes. So, if you have seen square or rectangular holes in the road, the pavement was probably undergoing a full-depth patch.

The full-depth patch should be filled with a dense, hot-mix asphalt. A well-filled full-depth patch will be slightly overfilled as there will be some compaction thanks to traffic.

For more in-depth information on pothole repair, check here.

If you are interested in U.S. government procedures and policies regarding repair of potholes in asphalt paved surfaces, look here.

Is it urgent?

When it comes to sealing cracks and patching potholes, it’s important to nip the problems in the bud. Once the paved area gets to a significantly poor condition, it’s no longer viable to repair, and it’s better to remove it and replace everything.

Getting potholes filled

If you have potholes on your property that you need filled, you probably want it done properly. This ensures one-time fixes that won’t require additional visits from contractors. Be sure to hire a professional paving contractor with a proven record. If you happen to be looking for one, look no further than Reliable Paving. Our high-quality asphalt paving work will ensure that you get the best service for your job.