Well, the shortest answer is - it's expensive to repave! But in all seriousness the purpose of this short article is to explain blacktop sealing ('sealcoating') and its role in protecting and preserving your blacktop. Though often forgotten, blacktop is an investment, just like your yard, and should be maintained so a costly replacement doesn't creep up on you.
Blacktop sealants are water-based emulsions with a base stock usually made of asphalt combined with fillers and other additives that provide added strength and flexibility. Blacktop sealant can be considered a 'shield' designed to prevent damage from things such as water penetration, UV rays, weather and chemicals. Please remember: not all sealers are equal and we pride ourselves on having THE highest quality products on the market.
Before understanding why blacktop needs to be maintained it's important to understand the composition of blacktop. Blacktop, which is sometimes referred to as asphalt concrete, is made up of mixture of stone aggregate and liquid asphalt. The liquid asphalt, also referred to as binder, has excellent 'gluing' properties with the aggregate. The liquid asphalt binds the conglomeration together and allows the hardened result to conform to the contours of the surface underneath. The larger aggregates are used for the base and smaller aggregates for the sub-base courses.
As time goes by, that blacktop is exposed to many factors that do their best to dry out and damage blacktop: sun, rain, freeze/thaw cycles, de-icing salts, gas, oil, traffic, etc. All of these elements will gradually break down the asphalt binder or 'glue' that holds the aggregate together. With the continuous loss of this 'glue', the aggregates in the top layer begins to ravel and will show surface cracks. If these cracks are not properly filled, and the pavement is not sealed…in time water will penetrate the sub-base causing more cracks, ruts, potholes and eventual failure of the blacktop.
Just like a high quality paint job, prepping the blacktop is crucial -- edging, cleaning and repairing all damage first before applying the protective layer or 'shield' of sealer is critical to ensuring a longer lasting and aesthetically pleasing blacktop!
The goal of our products are ultimately to sustain and extend the life of the pavement. As such, our company’s Green Care program encompasses both the processes we use in the manufacturing of our products as well as the products themselves.
Paving is not only expensive but uses a lot of our natural resources – another reason it is important to sustain your blacktop investment. It is important to note that all of Dalton Enterprises’ products are designed to be of the highest quality while using environmentally sound ingredients. Our patch products and sealers use ingredients that are low VOC, contain no solvents, are water based and some even use recycled ingredients. We do not use coal tar in our products. From a manufacturing standpoint, Dalton is committed to it’s Green Care program as we embrace the latest low energy usage equipment and processes while sourcing locally.
According to home improvement expert Danny Lipford: “Asphalt driveways can develop cracks and deteriorate over time. To keep your driveway in good shape, it’s important to clean, repair, and seal it every few years. It’s best to work on an asphalt driveway during warm weather so the repair material and sealer will set faster. Be sure to fill all cracks and holes to keep rainwater from penetrating through the asphalt.”
According to Consumer Reports:"Sealcoating helps protect the underlying pavement from air, sunlight, salts and petroleum products. It also prevents water from turning hairline cracks into bigger ones. The aggregate in the mix enhances traction, acts as a wear layer, and fills small cracks. Also, sealcoating gives the driveway a uniform black color."
According to This Old House: Crack sealing was a number one project for homeowners. "Check for cracks in asphalt or concrete on driveway, sidewalks and paths. These can be a tripping hazard, and can invite water that will do more damage during the colder months."
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