6 Big Mistakes Most People Make with Asphalt Sealcoating
For homeowners looking to save money on routine maintenance of paved surfaces around their homes, and 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 driveway sealing and application of sealcoat to asphalt in your parking lots can cause a lot of headaches—and waste your valuable time and money—when not done correctly.
What are the biggest mistakes that non-professionals make when attempting to renew the paved surfaces in their care?
Applying Too Much Sealer
While slathering sealcoat over asphalt in a thick layer can be tempting, a “more is more” approach is actually detrimental for the pavement beneath. Too much sealer can lead to premature cracking.
So, should you water down your sealant to thin it out a little bit 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—and always question any professional contractor you hire for application of sealcoat 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 sealing product they plan to use, as well as who their supplier is.
Using the Wrong Application Tools
Another big reason to hire professionals to sealcoat your business’s parking lot or your residential driveway at home is that they have the right specialized tools—such as pressurized spray equipment—for a quick and effective application of sealcoat, regardless of a product manufacturer’s unique instructions on how to apply the sealer.
If you find yourself shopping for squeegees online to spread sealcoat on your driveway, do not complete that purchase! You will most likely save money by hiring a professional to do the work instead—using their much higher quality tools.
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 is a lazy approach that does not work!
The truth is, you must properly address problems before applying sealcoat. This could include filling in potholes and patching with new asphalt, as well as using specialized crack repair products to create a more uniform surface for sealing.
Not Properly Cleaning Your Asphalt Before Application of Sealcoat
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, if your asphalt isn’t fully dry—which can take some time depending on the pavement’s thickness and weather conditions—applying sealcoat will need to wait.
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 sealcoat is fully dry in just 4-8 hours, you should not drive or park on a freshly sealcoated surface for at least 24 hours.
Not Waiting for Ideal Weather Conditions to Apply Sealer
While you may feel like waiting to sealcoat 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, it is imperative that weather conditions and temperatures are just right for the job.
Late spring, summer (though not during scorching heat waves), and early fall—when temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and above for 24 hours—are prime time for sealcoating. Unfortunately, these materials will not set correctly in lower 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’re a homeowner with a single driveway to care for, your best bet for application of sealcoat 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 attempting to apply these messy substances yourself is not a good idea.
While Lyons & Hohl does not currently offer sealcoating services, we invite you to get in contact with us for advice on improving your asphalt surfaces. Often, repaving is actually a better bet for bringing cracked and pothole-ridden driveways and parking lots back to life.
Give us a call here at Lyons & Hohl Paving to get a free estimate on your asphalt installation or maintenance project.