Maintaining your asphalt is very important as it is exposed to many environmental extremes such as: UV rays, Oxidation, and Moisture. On top of that in the Midwest, we deal with harsh Freeze/Thaw periods and the harsh scraping of plows on the pavement. Asphalt is also exposed to Oil, Gasoline, Diesel, Antifreeze, Etc. All of these factors can shorten the life of your asphalt.
Think of Asphalt Sealer like Paint on your car. If no paint was applied to your car, it would rust out immediately. Not only does sealer keep harmful exposures out, it also keeps the tar oils in. It prevents against UV rays and seals out water which is especially important for freeze/ thaw cycles and also helps with erosion on the surface. Eventually cracks start to appear in the pavement. Some are so hairline thin that you would not even notice them until they became wider. Sealer helps fill in hairline cracks and small voids.
Cracking is caused by many different factors such as: Heavy Traffic, Asphalt Shrinkage, Asphalt Overlays, Failing Base Layers, Frost, etc. These need to be filled in to prevent water from penetrating the asphalt. Water can erode the base layer and cause the pavement to start breaking. Water that is trapped inside the crack can also freeze and further expand the crack. We recommend filling cracks with hot crack fill annually to lengthen the life of your asphalt.
Sealcoating not only helps with the life of the asphalt, it also gives you great curb appeal! This is especially good on Parking lots as it makes it easier to see the line striping. Having Sealer on your driveway in the winter is quite pleasant because it helps melt the snow faster as it retains heat from the sun. Sealed Asphalt is a lot easier to clean whether you're just blowing grass clippings off, Hosing it off, and for commercial lots; this will benefit the sweepers when they come in to clean the lots due to a nice smooth surface.
As we stated above, Cracks should be addresses annually, or at least every couple years. There is many factors to assess when is comes to the sealcoat. Residential drives should be done every 2 to 3 years and this depends on surface wear. Plowing and shoveling can shorten that time as the sealer layer can get scraped off a little at a time. It is more difficult to get sealer to stick the older the asphalt gets without sealcoat on it. However, it is recommended to wait 1 year before sealing any new asphalt. Due to excessive traffic, we recommend sealcoating commercial parking lots every other year. We always recommend that commercial lots get two coats of sealer.