With the urgent demand of things that leak, break, burst or explode, preventative maintenance can be the last thing on your mind. But sealcoating is one of those preventative jobs that pays dividends: it doubles as a property-refresher, making your building look well-cared for and giving it 'curb appeal'. For every dollar that you spend sealcoating, you are saving $6-$14 on resurfacing. Numbers like that add up quickly in your annual maintenance budgets. Read on to find out how taking preventative action now can save thousands in replacement costs, all while making your property look its best.
Knowing When It's Time To Sealcoat
Sun, ice, salt, oil – there are all kinds of things that damage an asphalt surface. Which ones are serious enough to do something about? There are a few indicators that it's time to sealcoat your pavement.
- Has the color changed from rich black to a pale grey? If so, the tar has dried out of the stone, leaving the paved area brittle and exposed to damage.
- Do a water test: pour a glass of water on the surface. Does it bead and roll away, or does it disappear into the surface? If it disappears, there's a good chance that you have hairline cracks on the surface that are ripe for damage.
- Are there weeds showing through? If you have to trim your pavement when you trim your lawn, you have a surface penetration problem.
- Has it been a few years? Sealcoating is not just a way of making your lot look prettier, it actually protects your lot, if done properly every 2-3 years.
Choosing Your Equipment
Some of the asphalt sealcoating equipment you need may already be in your storage area. To do the job right, you need a blower to clean the asphalt surface, an asphalt sprayer of some type to distribute the sealer evenly and efficiently, a squeegee for tricky edges, and a line striper to repaint parking lot lines once you're done. Of course, it goes without saying that you also need commercial-grade coal tar asphalt sealer to spray on your area.
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Of course, it goes without saying that before you start to sealcoat, you should fill any cracks or fissures in the surface. For that you need a hot pour crack fill machine and some rubberized crack filler.
Cordon off an area of your lot (or work on a day when your building is closed) and begin by clearing away any large debris by hand. Next, use your blower to clean the surface as thoroughly as you can to encourage better adhesion to the surface.
Now, begin by edging the area you're working in. If you angle the spray slightly towards your feet, you can get right to the edge without overspraying on the lawn or curb areas. Aim the spray at about the halfway point of the swath you have just sprayed on the return trip: in essence, you apply two thin coats of sealer at once this way and make a smoother, stronger surface that lasts.
The higher up you hold the spray wand, the more surface you can cover at once, but keep in mind that it also means more overspray. On a windy day it is definitely a bad idea to hold it up high – keep it low for best results in breezy weather.
Once the sealcoating is complete, leave the sealer for 2 hours if you're using our commercial-grade sealer. If you're using hardware-store sealer, 4 hours is recommended.
Restriping The Lot
Once the asphalt sealcoating is complete it's time to do restripe the lot. If the configuration you had previously was working, great! If not, now is the time to make any changes to stall width, traffic patterns and other special needs in your parking area. Remember that each municipality has different codes around handicapped parking areas and you need to check with them to ensure you are appropriately marked.
Use a chalk line and measuring tape to measure off the stalls, and then just follow those lines with your line striper to get a smooth, straight, perfect finish.
Allow the lines to dry overnight and your lot is ready to go for another two to three years.
Timing the Job
Sealcoating is best performed at temperatures exceeding 50°F during the day. Watch the forecast closely and try to perform the work on a sunny day so that the sealer and paint will cure more thoroughly and quickly. The best time of year to do the work is in the spring, when the lot is at its worst in terms of damage from snow removal equipment and harsh weather.
That's it – sealcoating in a timely manner saves money on resurfacing and improves the overall look of your building. For help with your sealcoating needs, contact us at www.asphaltkingdom.com or 1-866-399-5562.