Asphalt is a common material used to make roads and driveways. If it is not well maintained and sealed, it can wear away and degenerate over time. Sun exposure, air, temperature changes and harsh weather all wear down asphalt. Using a seal coating protects the surface and improves the look.
Asphalt sealers are made from asphalt or coal tar. They are sold at home improvement stores, and you can get them through a contractor. A high-quality sealer will generally come with a company warranty that guarantees quality when applied correctly.
Prior to applying seal coating, the asphalt must have a smooth and even surface. If the asphalt was poorly maintained, there may be large chunks missing from the surface. You can find asphalt patch material at home improvement stores. When you are applying the patch, you will generally mix the dry patch material with water to reach a spreadable consistency. Apply the patch according to manufacturer directions, using a trowel to get the surface smooth.
Cracks in asphalt can be repaired using patching material the same way that you would repair a patch. You can also purchase special crack-filling asphalt that is sold by home improvement stores in a bottle with a nozzle. Some brands of crack filler require the use of a heat gun to set the filled asphalt.
Seal coating functions in several ways to protect asphalt. The top coating repels water from the surface, which keeps the asphalt from breaking down. Water exposure without a seal coating can erode the asphalt and also seep into the material and freeze, which results in large cracks. Seal coating also protects against sun exposure since sealers are made with UV protection. Sun exposure on unprotected asphalt causes wear and fading.
Seal coatings over asphalt require maintenance. The coating will wear away over the course of approximately three years. After this time, you should reapply seal coating. Applying seal coating too frequently can result in the asphalt not absorbing the it. If it doesn't absorb, the sealer will come off easily on tires and shoes.
- Photo Credit asphalt image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com
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