6 Big Mistakes Most People Make with Asphalt Sealcoating
Your asphalt has seen better days, and you can’t help but think about when it was freshly paved and had a beautiful finish. Now its color has faded, and there are other signs of aging you want to address, like cracks or small holes.
For homeowners looking to save money on routine maintenance of paved surfaces around their homes or commercial business owners and managers tasked with keeping vast parking lots and access driveways in shape, going the do-it-yourself route with asphalt sealcoating seems like a great idea at first.
The truth is that driveway sealing and applying seal coat to asphalt in your parking lots can cause many headaches—and waste your valuable time and money—when done poorly. There are some common, big mistakes non-professionals make when attempting to renew the paved surfaces in their care, and we want to help you prevent that from happening.
At Lyons & Hohl, we have seen many seal coat catastrophes that required repaving to fix them. So, we know how important it is to have a paving professional come and look at your asphalt before deciding how to repair it. Don’t let overconfidence with seal coat cost you more than you should be spending. Instead, speak with the professionals today to help you learn about your options for asphalt repairs before you encounter any of these issues with sealcoating!
1. APPLYING TOO MUCH SEALER OR THE WRONG KIND OF SEALER
While slathering seal coat over asphalt in a thick layer can be tempting, a “more is better” approach is detrimental to the pavement beneath. Too much sealer can lead to premature cracking, which will shorten the lifespan of your driveway. So, should you water down your sealant to thin it out before applying it? After all, some less reputable paving contractors do precisely this to increase their profit margins on certain types of sealcoating jobs.
The answer here is a resounding no; you should never do this yourself. Also, always be sure to question any professional contractor you hire for the application of seal coat to find out if they do this. You’re well within your rights to ask about any aspect of your contractor’s process, including what specific parking lot or driveway sealer they plan to use and who their supplier is.
There are three main types of sealer used on asphalt, and your contractor should be able to tell you if they are using coal tar-based sealer, asphalt sealer, or acrylic polymer sealer and why it’s best for the job at hand. Suppose you are concerned about being environmentally friendly as well. In that case, you may also want to discuss that with your contractor, since each sealer has different advantages and disadvantages regarding environmental friendliness.
2. USING THE WRONG APPLICATION TOOLS
Another big reason to hire professionals for asphalt sealcoating your business’s parking lot or your residential driveway is that they have the correct specialized tools—such as pressurized spray equipment—for a quick and effective seal coat application. They are also likely to be more knowledgeable of a product manufacturer’s individual instructions on applying their brand of sealer.
If you find yourself shopping for squeegees online to spread seal coat on your driveway, do not complete that purchase! You will most likely save money and headaches by hiring a professional to do the work instead, especially because they use their much higher quality tools for a more even, professional finish.
3. USING SEALCOAT PRODUCTS AS A GAP OR CRACK FILLER
Related to the first mistake above—applying too much sealer—inexperienced sealcoating technicians often believe that sealer applied thickly enough will simply fill cracks and breaks in asphalt surfaces, and they won’t have to think about patching. This approach does not work to fill gaps, and if you want to extend the life of your asphalt, you will do the exact opposite of trying to use a sealer to fill in holes or cracks.
The truth is, you must properly address problems before applying a seal coat. This process could include filling in potholes, patching with new asphalt, and using specialized crack repair products to create a more uniform surface for asphalt sealing.
4. NOT PROPERLY CLEANING YOUR ASPHALT BEFORE APPLICATION OF SEAL COAT
Asphalt must be clean and dry to ensure proper adhesion of sealcoating solutions. Effective cleaning techniques include blowing or sweeping away debris such as fallen leaves, loose dirt, and trash.
You may also have to break out the power washer to remove dirt and grime that’s not easily broom-swept. However, applying a seal coat will need to wait if your asphalt isn’t fully dry, which can take some time depending on the pavement’s thickness and weather conditions.
5. NOT ALLOWING THE SEALER TO DRY PROPERLY
As we mentioned, your asphalt must be thoroughly dry before sealing can begin. But another critical error that DIY-sealcoating enthusiasts make is not allowing the finished product to dry for an appropriate amount of time before reopening the driveway or parking lot to vehicle traffic.
While some resources suggest that the seal coat is fully dry in just four to eight hours, you should not drive or park on a freshly coated surface for at least 24 hours.
6. NOT WAITING FOR IDEAL WEATHER CONDITIONS TO APPLY SEALER
While you may feel like waiting to seal coat your driveway until just before a big family get-together at the end-of-year holidays, or you may want to wait until a slow period in your business to work on your parking lot. Weather conditions and temperatures must be just right for the job, or else the sealer will not dry correctly.
Late spring, summer, and early fall, when temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and above for 24 hours, are the best times for asphalt sealcoating. Unfortunately, these materials will not set correctly in lower temperatures or scorching temperatures. Weather must also be dry, as rain can easily damage freshly applied sealcoating.
DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY ON DIY SEALCOATING PROJECTS
Whether you own or manage a large commercial or industrial complex with acres of paved surfaces or you are a homeowner with a single driveway to care for, your best bet for applying seal coat is a reliable, professional asphalt paving contractor. As we’ve talked about here, purchasing subpar sealcoating materials off the shelf at your local big box home improvement store and spending too much valuable time applying these messy substances yourself is not a good idea.
While Lyons & Hohl does not currently offer asphalt sealcoating services, we invite you to contact us for advice on improving your asphalt surfaces. Repaving is often better for bringing cracked and pothole-ridden driveways and parking lots back to life than sealcoating. We offer repaving services for residential and commercial asphalt needs.
Give us a call here at Lyons & Hohl Paving to get a free estimate on your asphalt installation or maintenance project.