Are You Curious About the Difference Between Asphalt Paving and Sealcoating?
A newly paved driveway’s smooth, black texture is great for curb appeal and always makes a fabulous first impression. But, just like everything else, asphalt pavement deteriorates over time due to vehicle traffic and extreme weather conditions such as intense sun, freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. Other environmental factors, such as road salt, engine oil, and gasoline, are also harmful to the pavement.
Eventually, your asphalt pavement will need to be repaired or replaced. That’s when homeowners typically begin looking for paving services like asphalt paving or sealcoating.
At Lyons & Hohl, we have seen homeowners who try to seal coat their driveway only to discover the real solution to their asphalt issues was paving all along. So, what’s the difference between asphalt paving and sealcoating, and which one is suitable for your driveway? In today’s post, we break down the differences and offer tips to help you decide.
WHAT IS ASPHALT PAVING?
Asphalt paving is a general term used to describe the application of hot asphalt to a driveway or parking lot surface. You may also hear this term used to describe the process of creating a new driveway or a method to repair existing asphalt pavement.
Asphalt paving is a common method to repair asphalt surfaces with significant cracks and potholes. Services for the asphalt can range from simple overlays to complete resurfacing. A simple overlay adds a thin layer of hot asphalt to existing layers, which can extend the life of your current driveway or parking lot. A complete resurfacing involves removing and replacing the old asphalt layers.
Asphalt overlays can address many minor and major defects, such as cracking or potholes. Resurfacing is often recommended for more serious issues such as pooling water, cracking edges, or other signs of aging.
How much does asphalt paving cost?
The cost of asphalt paving varies depending on the size of the paved area and the specific services involved. Generally, asphalt paving can cost up to 10 times more than an average sealcoating service. Still, it’s often necessary for older driveways or driveways with extreme damage.
It is well worth the investment when you choose asphalt paving, as professionally installed asphalt driveways can last 15 to 20 years with regular maintenance.
How long should I wait to drive on the new surface?
Depending on the weather, a newly paved asphalt surface can take more than 30 days to cure fully. Even though some sources say you can drive on your newly paved surface after 24 hours, you should wait to drive on the new surface for about three days to ensure it has been set correctly. When driving on newly paved surfaces, you should avoid turning the steering wheel when the car is not in motion to prevent scuff marks.
When should I consider asphalt paving?
Contractors will use asphalt paving to repair or resurface driveways at or near the end of their service life. The typical service life of a driveway is 15 to 20 years, depending on the wear and tear it presents. Asphalt resurfacing can correct serious issues such as sun damage due to UV rays, ponding water, deep cracks, or crumbling edges.
Who can help me with asphalt paving?
Here at Lyons & Hohl Paving, we specialize in asphalt paving, and you can count on us to get your residential, commercial, or industrial paving job done right. In our home service area around Lancaster, Berks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties in PA, you will be hard-pressed to find a more experienced paving resource.
WHAT IS SEALCOATING?
Sealcoating is the application of a specially-formulated liquid coating to asphalt pavement. As the liquid dries, it hardens to seal the pavement from water penetration, sun damage, and chemicals that can degrade asphalt surfaces over time. Typically made from refined tar or petroleum products, sealcoating also reduces friction, creating a smoother driving or parking surface.
Stop your search if you are looking up “sealcoating near me,” hoping to fix your asphalt cracks. Unlike asphalt paving, sealcoating is not a method used to repair asphalt surfaces. Think of sealcoating more like pavement maintenance instead of a repair service. Any defects under the surface will remain after the sealcoating is complete.
While sealcoating can effectively cover small cracks and blemishes, it is much more effective at protecting your driveway from damage than repairing existing defects.
What Are the different Types of asphalt sealcoating?
When working with a professional contractor, they should be able to tell you what types of asphalt sealcoating they use. While all can extend the life of your pavement to some degree, some will suit your asphalt’s needs better than others.
- Coal Tar Sealer: Water-resistant and able to protect your driveway from oil and gasoline spills, this sealer is made of refined coal and additives to extend the life of your driveway by protecting it from direct contact with UV rays. However, it is not very environmentally friendly as it lets off a volatile organic compound or VOC when applied.
- Asphalt Sealer: This type of sealer is also water-resistant, but it does not offer nearly as much protection against oil, gasoline, or the UV rays that will eventually degrade asphalt and cause cracking. Asphalt sealer is a more environmentally friendly option as it produces less VOC.
- Acrylic Polymer Sealer: A synthetic type of sealer provides the same protections against organic and non-organic materials as coal tar sealer but is often less cost-effective than the other sealer types. It also produces less VOC, meaning it’s better for the environment than the popular coal tar sealer.
It is best to leave the asphalt paving and sealcoating to the professionals, as they will be able to determine what is best for your specific needs.
How much does sealcoating cost?
The cost of sealcoating varies depending on the size of your driveway. When prepped correctly, sealcoating can make your driveway look brand new again for a fraction of the cost of asphalt paving and resurfacing. Regular sealcoating is also one of the best ways to extend the life of your driveway. Just be sure not to make these big DIY sealcoating mistakes!
How long does sealcoating last?
An application of sealcoating, which is typically two full coats, should last about three years if your asphalt pavement is in decent shape. Older asphalt driveways may require annual sealcoating to maintain their protection and appearance and extend their service years.
How long should I wait to drive on my seal-coated driveway?
It would be best if you did not drive on a newly seal-coated driveway for 24 to 48 hours after application. Drying time varies depending on relative humidity, temperature, and sun exposure. Giving it more time to dry is better than needing a new sealcoating sooner because you didn’t wait the appropriate amount of time before driving on it.
When should I consider sealcoating my driveway?
Regular sealcoating is recommended for all asphalt driveways at least six months old. Sealcoating can significantly extend your driveway’s lifespan by slowing the expected asphalt degradation that results from freeze-thaw cycles, road salt, oil, gasoline, and sun exposure.
While the terms asphalt paving and sealcoating are often confused, each service has a different purpose. Asphalt paving helps repair or replace damaged or aging asphalt driveways. Sealcoating can repair minor cracks or defects, though contractors typically use it to maintain and protect asphalt surfaces. You cannot put sealcoating over major defects like potholes and expect them to fill in because they will not, and you will damage your asphalt further, shortening the lifespan.
DOES YOUR DRIVEWAY NEED HELP?
While we are not a sealcoating contractor, Lyons & Hohl Paving provides high-quality paving services for residential homeowners and commercial and industrial clients throughout Lancaster, PA, and Berks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties.
If you are unsure what’s best for your asphalt and choosing between asphalt paving and sealcoating feels like it’s out of your wheelhouse, we can help determine the best route for repair. Contact us today for a free estimate to solve your most extreme asphalt surface challenges.