While it is likely that most of us do not think twice about the ground we walk on throughout our daily lives, unless of course, you are driving on roads that are in complete disrepair, those who are in the asphalt maintenance and repair business, do. Asphalt is a popular choice for roads, driveways, parking lots, and roofs because it is durable, can be made to last, and it can be repaired. Unlike sidewalks, for example, which cannot be repaired as they must be completely dug up and replaced when cracks, holes, or defects occur. When an asphalt surface needs to be repaired, there are two methods that are often cited, sealcoating and resurfacing, but these two methods have vast differences from one another and are often misunderstood.
What Are The Differences Between Sealcoating & Resurfacing Asphalt?
The main difference between getting your parking lot or driveway sealcoated and resurfaced is that one provides routine maintenance for wear and tear like cracks, potholes, and sunlight damage, while the other, helps repair the entire top layer of the asphalt surface.
· What Is Sealcoating or Resealing?
The sealcoating process involves applying one or two layers of asphalt to the top of your parking lot or driveway. This is done by clearing the entire area of debris, closing off the area, priming oils and chemical spills, then applying a few coats of commercial-grade sealant. This sealant will cover up cracks, fill in holes, and make the asphalt look brand new with a nice black finish. It is recommended that you have your parking lot or driveway resealed every 2-5 years.
· What Is Resurfacing?
Resurfacing a parking lot or driveway, also called overlaying, involves a much more intensive process than sealcoating. The top few inches of the asphalt must be ripped up and brand-new asphalt must be placed back down. This basically, creates an entirely new surface and can be cost-effective if your asphalt surface is in complete disarray. However, it does require that the asphalt be installed properly in the first place and should be down every 15-20 years.
Why Is Sealcoating & Resurfacing Required for Asphalt Surfaces?
While asphalt looks like a completely solid surface, it is actually a semi-solid form of petroleum, is highly viscous, and is quite sticky. Essentially, it is a black binding agent that holds together the aggregate, or as we know it, the rocks, gravel, and grains of sand that make asphalt into a more solid compound. Due to how asphalt works and is held together, it is flexible and does a fantastic job of supporting heavier objects, but it must sit on a sturdy surface, which is why you always see gravel being placed down before asphalt in city street construction.
As the asphalt sits under the sun, the UV rays end up breaking it down which is what causes it to turn gray and become worn down and bumpy.
As it deteriorates, you get cracks which allow water to get inside and expand the cracks. Over a few years, this is how you get large potholes. To combat this deterioration, sealcoating and resurfacing are used to maintain and repair the asphalt.
When Is It Better to Reseal & When Is It Better to Resurface Your Asphalt Surface?
It is recommended that you reseal or go through the sealcoating process for your driveway or parking lot every 3-5 years as soon as it starts to show significant cracking. When you see cracks forming, if you leave these be and do not repair them, water will eventually get into them and cause them to expand. Resealing your parking lot or driveway every few years is a great way to add 10+ years of life.
It is recommended that you resurface your parking lot or driveway every 15-20 years, permitting that it does not have alligator or edge cracks. Cracks that resemble alligator scales or cracks along the edge of your asphalt surface indicate that there is a defect with how your asphalt was laid in the first place.
This means that you will need to have it completely rebuilt as resurfacing these will not stop them from showing up a few years later.
If you are a property manager, contractor, or business owner, contact us about our FREE annual parking lot walk thru and maintenance program. Once a year, we will send out one of our parking lot experts to discuss and address the needs of your parking lot. Our goal is to save you time and money by planning and budgeting for future needs. Contact us now to get started! You can give us a call today at (407) 618-9646 or fill out a contact form.