Asphalt sealcoating is primarily a protective treatment that bonds with your pavement to prevent damage. Sealcoating blocks the damaging rays from the sun, and it helps prevent damage from vehicle fluids, water, and debris. A commercial property can obtain a longer life for its pavement, which means a better return on this capital asset. As a bonus, sealcoating also adds to the property’s curb appeal. Asphalt sealcoating rejuvenates the color of faded pavements, and it also gives the pavement a more uniform appearance.
You may have heard asphalt maintenance contractors talk about their sealcoating season as if it represented a definite calendar period. In reality, the starting and ending dates can vary by several weeks from one year to the next. Sealcoating is very picky about the weather, especially the temperature. The companies that manufacture sealcoats specify that contractors should never apply their products if the temperature is below a certain point. Depending on the manufacture, the minimum temperature for application is between 50 and 55 degrees. Typically, this means that sealcoating can begin in late March and continue throughout October. However, nature does not always cooperate, so the starting and ending dates can vary substantially.
If you are talking about tiny, almost invisible hairline cracks, the answer is yes. However, if you are talking about cracks wider or deeper than a quarter of an inch, the answer is no. Sealcoating is a maintenance treatment, not a repair product. Since it goes on as a liquid, if there are open breaks in the pavement, the sealcoating will drip into the break. It will not close the break, so it is a waste of product, time, and effort. Sometimes, it is best to repair any cracks or other breaks in advance so that the repair material has extra time to cure.
Oil and other petrochemicals can destroy the binder that holds your asphalt pavement together. If the binder deteriorates, the pavement softens and crumbles, and a pothole will generally follow very quickly. Once or twice a year, it is advisable to clean up any stains from automotive fluids. If the spots are still liquid, sop them up by applying cat litter or sand, then leaving it overnight. Next, apply a commercial degreaser, scrub the spot with a still brush, and rinse thoroughly. You may need to repeat the process to obtain satisfactory results. Do not use a brush with metal or wire bristles; a scrub brush with stiff nylon bristles will work fine. Furthermore, before you begin scrubbing vigorously, make sure that the pavement is still hard and firm. If it is soft or beginning to crumble, cease your efforts and call an asphalt professional.
Potholes pose the same problems as unrepaired cracks, but an unrepaired pothole is many times worse. You really should repair a pothole as soon as it forms. Potholes will continue to deepen, and they will also spawn cracks that can radiate out in all directions. Neglected potholes are a major contributor to a destabilized, weakened pavement foundation. Furthermore, potholes are potential hazards to motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Spider cracks are a common problem that are much more noticeable than hairline cracks. Very often, spider cracks are the result of a prior sealcoating in which the contractor used an inferior sealant. A high-quality sealant will typically contain a specific amount of rubberized latex so that it can expand and contract with the seasons. Spider cracks can also be the result of severe sun oxidation or poor paving practices. Sealcoating will not fix the problem, so the cracks will still be visible after a fresh application of sealcoating.
It depends on the nature and severity of the stains. There are some that you will not be able to see after sealcoating, but others will be visible. Certain types of stains can also prevent the sealcoating from bonding to the pavement. In some cases, applying a primer to the stains can enhance bonding and help conceal the stains.
Tire marks are common on fresh sealcoating. Sealcoating mixes contain sand to enhance traction and make the sealant last longer. Once traffic begins using the pavement again, vehicles will force out some of the sand, leaving tire marks. Typically, tire marks fade away in a matter of weeks. However, you want to be gentle with your pavement for a month or so. Do not turn your steering wheel while your vehicle is stationary, and try to avoid braking or accelerating rapidly.
The best source of information is your sealcoating contractor. However, there are a few common requests. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, turn it off at least 24 hours in advance. If feasible, remove palletized material, trash receptacles, and other objects. Relocate vehicles or equipment for the duration of your work.
In the Reno area, sealcoating usually lasts two to three years. Your preference for the aesthetics of your pavement, the traffic it receives, and the age of your pavement can influence your sealcoating frequency.
The pavement must be clean, so contractors remove oil spots, dirt, and other debris. They may use a combination of motorized sweepers, power and hand brooms, and blowers to clean your pavement.
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