The smart choice for saving time and money

By Jeff Winke

In a way, adding additives to pavement sealcoating can be the magic that helps save time and money… at least that is what is said. How does it work? What is the magic? How can sealcoat additives be a smart choice for saving time and money?

Ben Franklin was brilliant. In his wise essay “Advice to a Young Tradesman,” Franklin wrote “Remember that time is money.” Franklin was warning that unproductive time spent was wasted non-money-making time. Clearly the idea can apply to any extra time that lengthens a task as being unproductive.

The successful asphalt paving contractor recognizes that any time saved on a project can be applied to a new income-producing project. Time is money.

Sealcoating creates a barrier protecting the asphalt pavement from the harmful sun’s UV rays, rain, snow, and damaging fluids from vehicles. Sealcoating will protect against fading, and can even improve the appearance of asphalt. It will restore the lustrous appearance of the asphalt, even if some natural fading has occurred. It will also fill minor surface flaws, giving the pavement a smooth and even appearance.

So where do sealcoat additives fit in? “Sealcoating additives, especially the ones which promote fast drying and cure enable contractors to move from one project on to another at a much faster pace or for larger projects, the application of multiple coats can be accomplished much faster,” stated Girish C. Dubey, President, STAR, Inc., Columbus, Ohio. “In addition, the sealcoated properties can be opened for business in a matter of hours, not days, thus benefiting the business owners.”

There are numerous sealcoat additives available. Some common additives and their benefits include:
• Fast Drying Agent — This technically-advanced formula is designed to enhance performance and handling characteristics of pavement sealers. It can be used with asphalt and coal tar emulsions and blends. Traditionally, sealers dry from the top exterior layer to the bottom. The fast-drying agent allows the sealer to dry from the bottom up which does not need a lot of sunlight to dry, this makes it ideal for nighttime sealcoating.
• Fast Sealer — This silicone fortified latex copolymer additive is designed to improve workability and handling of the sealer material and reduce the drying time. It is said to make the sealcoat work better, last longer, dry faster and blacker.
• Dual Action Additive — Intended for faster curing time and a viscosity modifier to thicken and gel up diluted sealer. This is a dual-action polymer/copolymer latex additive.
• Fast Sealing Additive for Asphalt Emulsion — Since coal tar sealers are restricted in some states, an asphalt emulsion mix can be an alternative to gain strength and stability.
• Rubberized Polymer Additive — Designed to improve the sealcoat performance by locking in sand for better dispersion. It is said help improve gas, fuel and oil resistance and reduce scuffing and power steering marks on the asphalt surface

Sealcoat additives can enhance the properties of asphalt sealcoating.

“Additives allow contractors to stay more competitive, by giving them the power to create flexible solutions, a more controlled job, a higher quality coating, and a better customer experience,” stated Rick Poole, president of Diamond Shield Fortifier, Alexander, Arkansas. “With sealcoat additives, a contractor can tailor the job for a customer in many ways. They can achieve quicker dry/cure time, a blacker appearance, and increased bonding or more petroleum resistance, all while having extra control over the environmental conditions that the coating will be placed in, reducing liability and damage to the coating integrity and appearance while greatly reducing wasted time and resources through fewer trips back to finish a job.”

Sealcoating additives have proven to be a real asset since the very inception of sealcoating. At the very onset, both governmental (e.g., FAA specifications) and commercial entities have determined that sealcoating additives boost the overall performance of sealcoating and have a marked effect on their overall durability of the paved surface.

“Additives are real assets for enabling the contractor to offer performance benefits at incremental cost increase to their customers, especially the ones who recognize the benefits for added cost,” Dubey said.

For some, the successful effectiveness of sealcoat additives can actually be a deficit as Zeke Adams, operations manager at STAR, Inc. explained: “Some contractors might see using sealcoating additives as a negative due to the increased product longevity and toughness decreasing the frequency in which they can sealcoat a property. But in our experience, using additives will put you a step ahead of the competition in terms of performance and will help lock in return business for continued success long term.”

The benefits of sealcoating need to be sold to the customer.

“The customer has to be assured that by spending more for a sealcoating job, with additives, will give them better overall durability, e.g., instead of sealcoating every 2-3 years they will be sealcoating every 4-5 years,” stated Dubey. “Another good selling point, especially to commercial property owner, is that the property can be opened sooner for business.”

Additives may not be the panacea for all the ills found with an asphalt paved surface, especially if over diluted or the sealer is improperly applied.

“Although not considered additives, primers are another great offering for contractors as it adds substantial benefits to jobs that are plagued with problem areas such as rust and oil spots,” Adams said. “Sealcoating alone will not clear up these issues as they will eventually bleed through, but by adding a primer to act as a barrier you’ll have a much greater success at keeping rust and oil spots at bay.”

Yet, with all considered, adding additives to pavement sealcoating can be the magic solution in many instances. They can provide the benefits of fast drying and curing, thickening for uniform sand suspension, rubberizing for improved flexibility and durability, and improved resistance to chemicals, such as de-icing salts used in winter climates.

Jeff Winke is a business and construction writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He can be reached through