The Benefits of Sealcoating Asphalt Surfaces

The Benefits of Sealcoating Asphalt Surfaces

Asphalt pavements, like other construction materials, have a service life, which can be extended through proper maintenance by protecting them from the damaging elements of weather, salts, chemicals, petrochemicals, etc.

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate the cost benefits, in real dollars, of a properly maintained asphalt surface versus an asphalt pavement which has been minimally maintained.


Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) is a process for evaluating the economic worth of a pavement segment by analyzing initial costs and discounted future costs such as preventive maintenance, resurfacing, rehabilitation and reconstruction cost, over a defined analysis period. LCCA is only a tool in decision making process, it does not dictate the decision.

All alternatives are to be included in the LCCA. For example, complete replacement is generally the most expensive alternative but it should not be disregarded simply because of the expectations of the high cost. The analysis may show replacement as the highest cost but the cost difference between replacement and the other alternatives may be small  enough to make the replacement a better choice.


The general consensus of the industry regarding the life expectancy of an asphalt pavement is approx. 7-8 years without any maintenance. Home driveways may last 10-15 years, without maintenance.

The life of an asphalt pavement depends on the following factors;

  • Pavement design i.e. base, sub-base, drainage,  asphalt mix, compaction, depth of the asphalt, etc.
  • The traffic bearing capacity
  • Traffic frequency
  • Exposure to damaging elements, e.g. de-icing salts, oil, grease, gasoline, fats, etc.
  • Maintenance e.g. sealcoating, crack filling, patching, etc.

For the sake of understanding, the life of an asphalt pavement is the period during which it will preserve its strength to bear the traffic loads for which it is designed. For example a commercial parking lot will need to be repaved after 7-8 years.

LCCA of a commercial parking lot (10,000 Sq. Yards) is tabulated below, both;

a. with a regular preventive maintenance program, using a sealcoating based on refined  tar emulsion.

  • The sealcoating and other repairs will be done at every 3 years.
  • The sealcoating is to be done during the first year of the installation. –
  • The pavement shall be allowed to cure to rid of the surface oils. The time period is minimum 90 days. 
  • After the first three years, some minimal repair (crack filling) may be required. Cracks may develop due to pavement distress.

b. Without seal coating, only the damaged areas are repaired as needed. The cost of repairs escalate with each passing year. It has been observed that fine hairline cracks appear during the first year of installation, which widen and multiply with time. Water seeps into the pavement through these cracks and damages the base courses. Generally, a parking lot will require an overlay after seven years.


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