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Sealcoating is a protective coating applied to asphalt driveways and parking lots, which helps extend the service life. There are three commonly used types of sealcoats: refined tar-based, asphalt-based, and petroleum-based. Of these options, the most widely used is the tar-based sealer because it provides the best protection, can be purchased in small quantities, and is some of the longest-lasting.
When it comes to asphalt- or petroleum-based sealcoats, these do not provide the same protection as the tar-based ones. Asphalt-based emulsions are made of the same thing your driveway or parking lot, which mean s they do not provide any additional protection compared to the asphalt itself. Petroleum-based emulsions provide no protection against UV rays or petroleum products.
While there are differing opinions on how often you should sealcoat your driveway, the general consensus is about every three to five years, depending on the specific conditions and how much damage the driveway or parking lot sustains during winter maintenance.
When it is time to sealcoat the asphalt, there are three primary methods of application. The first is with pressurized spray equipment. Thera are also self-propelled squeegee machines, and then there is hand application with a squeegee. Whatever method is used, it is important the sealcoat mixture continues to be stirred throughout the process to ensure proper mixture of the components. Further, the entire process requires two coats to properly seal the asphalt.
Do exercise caution when thinking about trying to sealcoat pavement on your own. Most emulsions can cause skin and respiratory irritation. You should strongly consider hiring a professional to ensure no harm comes to you or those around you.