What happens when they are neglected

By Shannon O’Donnell and Rick Poole

Sealcoating is a vital aspect of maintaining asphalt surfaces, be it driveways, parking lots, or roads. Its primary purpose is to protect the asphalt from degradation caused by various environmental factors such as sunlight, water, and chemicals. However, achieving optimal results in sealcoating requires more than just applying a layer of sealant. Good planning, proper job site cleaning and prep along with skillful application are all crucial. In the planning and application of pavement coatings, additives play a crucial role in enhancing the performance and longevity of sealcoating applications. Neglecting these additives can lead to many issues, compromising the effectiveness of the sealcoating process.

Additives in sealcoating formulations serve several essential functions:

1. Improved Adhesion: Additives like polymers enhance the adhesion of the sealant to the asphalt surface. This ensures the sealcoat remains firmly bonded to the pavement, preventing premature peeling and flaking.

2. Flexibility and Durability: Flexibility is crucial for sealcoating materials to withstand the constant stress and movement caused by vehicular traffic and temperature fluctuations. Additives such as latex or rubberized compounds impart flexibility to the sealant, making it more resilient against cracking and crumbling over time.

3. Resistance to UV Damage: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause asphalt surfaces to deteriorate rapidly. UV stabilizers present in sealcoating additives help protect the pavement from the harmful effects of sunlight, preventing premature aging and surface degradation.

4. Waterproofing Properties: Sealcoating serves as a protective barrier against moisture penetration, which is one of the leading causes of asphalt deterioration. Additives like acrylics or silanes enhance the waterproofing capabilities of sealants, forming a tight seal that repels water and prevents it from seeping into the pavement layers.

5. Improved Dry & Cure Time: Certain additives can help to mitigate environmental factors that may impede drying, such as humidity or temperature fluctuations, ensuring consistent and reliable performance even under challenging conditions. These optimize cure and dry time, enabling quicker turnaround and minimizing downtime, ultimately improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the sealing process

6. Enhanced Appearance: Certain additives, such as pigments and fillers such as sand, can improve the aesthetic appeal of sealcoating by providing color consistency and filling in minor surface imperfections, resulting in a smooth and uniform finish.

Failure to incorporate these additives into sealcoating mixtures can have negative consequences:

1. Reduced Longevity: Sealcoating without additives could, in many cases, cause a lack of the necessary adhesion, flexibility, and durability to withstand the rigors of everyday use. As a result, the protective layer may degrade more quickly, necessitating more frequent resealing and unnecessary, increased maintenance costs in the long run.

2. Cracking and Flaking: Without additives to enhance flexibility and adhesion, the sealcoat could become prone to cracking and flaking. Especially in regions with significant temperature fluctuations. Cracks and flakes not only compromise the aesthetic appeal but also expose the underlying asphalt to further damage.

3. Accelerated Deterioration: UV radiation accelerates the deterioration of untreated sealcoating projects faster, leading to the probability of premature fading, discoloration, and loss of protective properties. This can result in extensive pavement damage leading to premature maintenance costs for repairs or replacements.

4. Water Damage: Early pavement failure from water damage is one of the most important problems to solve for every pavement coating. When additives are overlooked while planning a sealcoating project, it can lead to early coating failure which could cause the film to become ineffective to repel water, allowing moisture to infiltrate the pavement layers. Over time, this moisture intrusion can weaken the asphalt structure, cause potholes, rutting, and even a need for early, total pavement replacement.

5. Less Aesthetic Appeal: Sealcoat applied without the proper additives to fit a projects needs may exhibit uneven color distribution, early surface imperfections, a lackluster off color appearance, and a diminishing of the overall curb appeal to the property.

Neglecting these additives can lead to a myriad of issues, including reduced longevity, cracking, flaking, accelerated deterioration, water damage, and poor aesthetic appeal. To ensure optimal performance and longevity of sealcoating applications, it is imperative to use high-quality sealants fortified with appropriate additives and adhere to recommended application procedures.

If you are unsure which additive is right for your project, simply reach out to your sealcoat and additive providers who will be happy to assist you with good selections for your specific sealcoating project.