A Look into Sealcoating, with McDonald Paving of Spokane

October 24, 2011

While paving and other roadwork remain a primary form of business for us at McDonald Paving of Spokane, we also help businesses and homes in preserving their pavement with sealcoating. Sealcoating serves as barrier coat for asphalt concrete surfaces, a minor yet useful measure in maintaining a strong, lasting driveway or parking lot. It protects pavement from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and the oxidizing effects of wind and water by providing a membrane that limits asphalt oxidation and water seepage. Pavement also benefits from sealcoating by gaining increased texture and thus surface friction, making it less slippery, especially in the rain.

Sealcoating primarily uses two different emulsifiers. The most common emulsion material is refined coal tar, which contains very stable closed-ring aromatic compounds as its chemical base. Refined coal tar’s popularity comes from its resilience to destructive elements like the weather and oily substances. In recent years, another acceptable option for sealcoating has come from using asphalt as an emulsion material. While not resistant to oily substances, asphalt emulsion sealcoating still helps maintain the pavement’s surface integrity and carries the benefits of easier application, a weaker odor, and less skin irritation than refined coal tar sealcoating.

Because sealcoating best serves pavements in sound condition, the ideal candidate to benefit from the process possesses low to moderate cracking and raveling as well as low friction numbers. Before sealcoating can begin, the coater must clear the area of debris, fill and repair any cracks as necessary, and clean any oily substances from the pavement to be coated. Then, the coater must mix the sealant, supplied in concentrates, with water, silica sand, and additives to dilute it and ensure proper consistency during application, keeping in mind humidity and the amount of future traffic the pavement will face. Finally, the coater can spray the sealcoating over the pavement, preferably in two coats to maintain a high level of protection. After undergoing a drying period of 8 to 24 hours, the pavement will be ready for use.

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