Asphalt sealant helps protect your parking lot against serious sun damage such as breaking down of surfaces, decay, cracks, warping and deformities. When it’s 90°F outside, the asphalt is well above 100°F. In fact, on the hottest days, asphalt can reach 172°F —literally hot enough to cook an egg. Asphalt is pretty durable when it comes to heat, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to the burn. Thankfully, asphalt sealant can protect asphalt from serious sun damage.
The sun is incredibly hot, so hot that even after it travels millions of miles down to Earth it’s STILL hot enough to damage your skin. That’s why you wear sunscreen. Asphalt requires a similar form of sun protection. Asphalt seal is sort of like sunscreen for asphalt. You apply it over surfaces every so often in order to provide a barrier between asphalt and the hot heat radiating down from the sun.
How The Sun Impacts Asphalt
After asphalt is applied, the sun goes to work on it. As ultraviolet rays produced by the sun fuse with oxygen, the chemical bonds that strengthen asphalt instantly begin to break down. Thankfully, the process doesn’t happen overnight but given enough time it will successfully deteriorate asphalt lacking the proper sealant.
The sun’s ultra-violet rays cause your asphalt to break down and become brittle, making it all the more prone to damage. Even after the sun disappears for the winter, damages caused by the sun can continue to haunt asphalt. Freeze-thaw cycles can literally destroy brittle asphalt from the inside out in one brutal winter.
Common Signs Of Sun Damage On Asphalt
The sun can create all kinds of damage to asphalt surfaces, including:
–Breaking down of surfaces. Oxidation is especially harmful to asphalt that is not manufactured with essential oils and properly formulated asphalt binder. As a result, asphalt is quicker to deteriorate when exposed to oxidation from the weather.
–Cracking asphalt, the main causes of asphalt cracks are the sun, water and earth movements/shifting.
–Melting tar leads to disfigurement. The tar in asphalt will start to melt under very hot conditions, becoming sticky and even disfiguring surfaces.
Types Of Asphalt Sealant
Regularly sealing asphalt protects it against more than just sun damage. There are different types of sealants you can use; the best type may vary depending upon a number of factors. No need to worry, we can determine the best sealant for your asphalt.
The four main types of sealant include:
Seal Coat: Seal coat has an anti-oxidation additive that helps protect asphalt against the elements, including Mrs. Sunshine and Mr. Rain. Think of seal coat in the same way you look at anti-aging skin block. Basically, it helps slow down the ageing process, keeping your asphalt from looking worn out and old before its time. This is a cost-effective preservation method that should be included as part of your routine asphalt maintenance.
Slurry Seal: This type of sealant is very similar to a seal coat, although it has an added ingredient: aggregate. The addition of aggregate helps reduce the look of worn pavement surfaces. It’s fairly affordable while providing a newly drivable surface.
Microsurfacing: This seal is most comparable to slurry seal, although it includes a higher polymer and asphalt residual content. The aggregate included in this sealant is of higher quality and has fast-setting chemicals. Slurry seal generally takes around 24-hours to fully set before traffic can drive over it. Microsurfacing speeds up the process considerably, as it takes closer to an hour for this type of sealant to fully adhere and traffic to resume per usual.
Tire Rubber Modified Surface Sealer (TRMSS): TRMSS is added to protect and extend the lifeline of pavement. It reintroduces important surface oils that otherwise wear away over time. These oils are so important because they seal loose aggregates and prevent damage related to oxidation, traffic and weather. TRMSS is used for residential streets, airports and highway shoulders, among other locations.
It’s Not Just Sealant, Initial Asphalt Construction Is Important Too
Asphalt sealant plays an important role in preventing sun damage on asphalt, but the actual construction of asphalt is equally important. Properly mixed asphalt that is dense enough and correctly compacted will not oxidize as quickly as open, coarse pavement. Thicker pavement is going to stand up to challenges better than thinner pavement.
No matter if we are mixing and applying fresh asphalt or asphalt sealant, there’s no one more qualified for the job than Kleenco Construction. We get it right the first time around so that you get the most out of your asphalt.