Sealcoating your parking lot serves several aesthetic and practical purposes. In addition to improving the appearance of the lot, a complete sealcoating job will also help to fill in small cracks and protect against moisture. Because sealcoating serves so many important purposes, it should be a regular part of any asphalt maintenance program.
Although many business owners treat blacktop sealing products interchangeably, there are several distinct options available on the market. Each one has its own set of pros and cons, as well as specific applications where it may be most useful. Keep reading to learn a bit about some of the most common sealers available for commercial lots.
Coal Tar Sealers
If you picture an asphalt sealer, then you’re probably picturing a coal tar sealer. Coal tar sealer is one of the most widespread and popular options for both commercial and residential applications. Coal tar is an industrial byproduct used in a wide range of products, and it is the primary ingredient in any coal tar sealcoating product. Aside from the coal tar itself, the composition varies between manufacturers.
Coal tar-based sealers are suitable for nearly any application. These sealers produce the exceptionally dark color often associated with fresh blacktop, and they are generally easy to work with and forgiving. Unfortunately, they also create a strong odor as they off-gas. In some cases, this odor can persist for weeks or months.
Asphalt Emulsion Sealers
Asphalt emulsion sealers consist of asphalt particles suspended in water through the use of an emulsifying agent. The agent allows the two separate materials to form an easy-to-apply mixture. Once applied to a surface, the water “breaks” out of the emulsion and the asphalt sets. The result is a surface mostly indistinguishable from the underlying asphalt.
Although many contractors still prefer the finish produced by coal tar, asphalt emulsion sealers offer numerous advantages. Since these sealers are not petroleum or coal-based, they do not release hydrocarbons after application. Emulsion sealers also lack the strong smell associated with coal tar. Emulsion sealers can sometimes be more challenging to apply than coal tar, however.
Acrylic Asphalt Sealers
Acrylic sealers are a newer, entirely synthetic option. The primary purpose of this category of sealer is to provide the advantages of coal tar without the many drawbacks. From an environmental perspective, acrylic sealers do not produce the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) responsible for coal tar’s strong odor.
Sealers of this type offer significant advantages, as well. Most acrylic sealer are long-lasting, available in a variety of different colors, and flexible enough to prevent cracking. Unfortunately, these advantages come at a cost. Acrylic sealers can be up to twice as expensive to apply as cheaper coal tar or asphalt emulsion options.
Aside from these standard options, a variety of other specialized blacktop sealing products exist. Specialized products may not be suitable for all applications, but they can be lifesavers in certain situations. Fast-dry formulations can quickly support both foot and vehicle traffic, for example. These sealers are well-suited to commercial applications where extended downtime is unacceptable.
Additionally, some sealer products also provide improved filling capability. Fill sealers come in a variety of types, including asphalt – or coal tar-based formulas. In most cases, these sealers are thicker than traditional blends, allowing them to fill deeper cracks. Although they are not suitable for all repairs, they can help to beautify and protect parking lots with more severe damage.
Whatever your resealing needs, Pinnacle Paving & Sealing can help you achieve them. We can evaluate your situation and recommend the best option for your budget and parking requirements. Give us a call when you’re ready to give your lot a new lease on life.