Designed for use on off-highway pavements, sealcoating is the lowest-cost weapon in your pavement maintenance arsenal. When used properly and in a timely manner it can also be the most-effective option.
Pavements should be sealed as soon as possible after a new hot mix asphalt surface has been constructed. But “as soon as possible” means different things in different areas. That’s because newly placed asphalt mix must be allowed to cure – the asphalt’s oils must be allowed to dry out – before a sealcoat is placed on top. Sealer applied too soon will look good and will be effective in protecting the pavement, but it won’t last as long. The oils trapped beneath the sealcoat will eventually work their way out, and the sealcoat could fail prematurely. Time and weather have the greatest impact on how quickly your asphalt pavement cures, so your contractor will have the best insight into when newly sealed pavement should first be sealcoated.
Once it’s sealcoated the first time, it’s important to continue that process. Air, weather, sun and traffic all work to wear sealer away, so generally sealcoating every three years is recommended. But in some locations – high-traffic roads, exceptionally busy parking lots, bank and fast-food drive-thru lanes – sealer might wear more quickly and might need to be sealcoated more frequently. Applying an additional coat (or even two) of sealer to these heavily trafficked areas is one way to protect them longer, and your contractor can best make that recommendation for you.