Protect Your Investment
This section is dedicated to homeowners like yourselves for protecting your asphalt pavement in the most cost-effective manner by taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies, and well-established products. Since pavement is a sizable investment, it has to be protected, through a regular maintenance program, using products that have a proven performance record and installed by reputable contractors. Over the decades, sealcoatings and allied pavement maintenance products, in Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) studies, have proven to extend the life of the pavement, at a fractional cost, spent with a regular maintenance program. The value of sealcoatings has been well recognized over the years and it has been established that the life of the pavement can be extended more than three (3) times, by spending only 1/3rd of the cost of the total asphalt replacement. There is no other alternative for stretching your dollars while enjoying the safety, property value, and curb appeal.
Asphalt begins to deteriorate in a very short period of time, therefore, it needs to be protected against the element of weather, sun’s ultraviolet rays, chemicals, de-icing salts, etc., for delivering years of service while maintaining its integrity. It is, therefore, prudent to have a regular maintenance program for your pavements.
Sealcoatings are specialty coatings which were introduced in the late 50’s, expressly for the protection and preservation of asphalt pavements. Asphalt pavements are composed of asphalt binder (AC), aggregate, and silica and specialty chemicals. Asphalt binder has an outstanding capability to hold the aggregate together in a firm structure (pavements) and keep the water out of the sub-base and base of the pavement. Asphalt, however, breaks down by sun’s ultraviolet rays and is easily attacked by salt, gasoline, oils and other petrochemicals. Sealcoatings act as a barrier coat to stop all the damaging elements to preserve the properties of the asphalt binder.
To serve you, STAR has an extensive network, of plants, distributors and contractor, which will be glad to assist you in selecting the right products and contractors, at various locations, throughout the contiguous United States. Ever since the inception over 35 years, STAR has strived to serve you to the very best in technical support, product performance and sterling customer service.
What Type Of Sealcoating Should be Used
The primary recommendation will be from one of our experienced contactors who is quite familiar with our product. We make a comprehensive range of sealcoatings and other allied products, ranging from the use on residential to commercial and governmental properties. In most cases, our standard products will suit your requirements, still we defer the final recommendation to the contractor.
Types of sealcoating options
Five Major Types of Sealers; RTS, AE, Acrylic, Petroleum Resin and Rejuvenators.
Refined Tar Based sealcoatings (RTS) are based on RT-12, a highly refined grade of coal tar, which, in turn is generated during the conversion of coal into coke for steel metallurgy. RT-12 is composed of numerous very stable chemicals that are not affected by the destructive elements of weather, sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV), salts, and most importantly, gasoline, oils, fats and other petrochemicals.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the use of sand, additives, water of dilution and many more...
Select grades of clean angular, quartz sand or aggregate are commonly added to sealcoatings for the following benefits: Improved traction and skid resistance, improved longevity and durability, hiding minor surface defects and filling hairline cracks, uniform textured appearance, reduction in sun glare and a streak-free appearance.
Sand has a certain degree of porosity, therefore, its own need to absorb liquids. When added to the sealer in a mix design, it absorbs the binder (refined tar or asphalt) and water from the sealer. The amount of sand in the sealer must be limited to about 5 lbs. of sand per gallon of sealer. At this level, binder and filler in the sealer system are still in balance to expect optimum performance. Sand loading exceeding 5 lbs. will rob the binder from the sealer, thus rendering the sealer film, porous, potentially brittle, with poor adhesion and resistance to chemicals, salts, fuel, etc.
Boiler slag or coal slag, which is an amorphous mixture of Iron, Aluminum and Calcium Silicates, is available under the brand name Black Beauty and is also commonly used with sealcoatings.
How can I tell if a sealer is over diluted?
Too much water in the mix will result in a thin cured sealer film that will wear out prematurely, result in inferior performance, the sealer not covering the aggregates properly and have a tendency to flow into the valleys of the profile rather than uniformly covering the entire surface. Sealer should appear thick like molasses and not runny or water-like. An over diluted sealer will have the viscosity similar to that of milk and spread out quickly across a pavement running downhill easily, while a properly mixed sealer will roll out onto the pavement surface slowly and tend to stay in one blob, but as it is moved by a brush or squeegee will begin to flow more readily onto the pavement. Conversely, too little water and the mix will be too heavy, will not spread uniformly and can result in wasted material. Sealer that is too thick can cause tracking under hot ambient conditions, an uneven appearance; ridges and brush marks with squeegee and brush applications, and an orange peel type of appearance with spray application.
What am I looking for in a good sealer?
A brand that is well established in the industry;
– For its consistent performance over the years
– Is certified to meet and or exceed all applicable standards, e.g. ASTM, FAA, GSA, etc.
– Has full technical and customer support from the manufacturer for Quality Control, Quality Assurance.
What weather conditions are best for seal coating?
Sealer should not be applied unless the pavement temperature is at least 50°F and the air temperature is 50°F and rising. The fusion of the binder particles (in the sealcoating) to form a uniform and continuous film depends on their ability to soften under the ambient and pavement temperatures. The process of fusion is greatly enhanced at higher temperatures; say 75°F to 85°F. Conversely it is significantly reduced at temperatures below 50°F. When sealcoating is applied below 50°F, tar or asphalt particles do not soften and form a continuous film. The color of the sealcoating cured under such conditions usually turns out grey and blotchy in appearance and never returns to its normal slate black appearance even at higher pavement temperatures. Needless to say sealcoating cured under cold weather conditions lack the integrity and sealcoating properties that are normally expected.
Humidity or Relative Humidity (R.H.) of the atmosphere plays a significant role in the cure mechanism as well. Humidity directly influences the rate of water evaporation from the sealcoating film. Relative Humidity (R.H.) is the ratio of the actual moisture content of the air, at a specified temperature, to its total capacity. For best results a R.H. below 70% is beneficial to the cure mechanism inherent in sealer. Higher R.H. means the atmosphere is unable to absorb additional moisture readily, thus drastically slowing down the release of water from the sealcoating film. Sealcoatings, understandably, will cure faster at lower humidity than at higher humidity. Under highly humid conditions, sealcoatings should be allowed longer drying time before finally opening to traffic.
There are a lot of trees shading my parking lot or driveway, will the shade or tree sap droppings be a problem?
Yes, if the lot is lined with trees or there are trees overhanging the asphalt surface then you might see problems down the road that are unexpected. Things like the sealcoating flaking off and general adhesion problems that are uncharacteristic of your normal applications. Tree sap is one of those things that gets overlooked. Trees like olive, maples or pines on the site can cause sap problems. Trees can leave a fine mist of little sap particles onto the asphalt surface. Sap will cause the sealer to release from the asphalt surface. If you have visible tree sap on the lot it will have to be power washed off, or primed much like an oil spot. This one has baffled more than a few people!
How can I tell if my driveway needs to be sealcoated?
The tell-tale signs are:
– The new asphalt has faded to gray color, due to the loss of asphalt binder; degraded by Sun’s ultraviolet rays.
– The aggregate are coming loose due to the loss of the binder as a progression of ageing.
– The development of surface cracks which will increase in size and number with further ageing. These crack will allow water to penetrate the pavement and cause damage to the base and sub-base.
How often can I seal my asphalt?
Have the property Sealcoated at regular intervals is an important step in protecting the investment you have made in your asphalt pavement. Recommend sealcoating every 3-5 yrs., compared to retail brands which are recommended to be used every year. With our sealer having the property sealcoated every year and with two coats can be too much of a good thing. Sealcoating is likely to build up an excessively thick film and produce unsightly surface checking, similar to the appearance of “potato chips”, over the years. You will be better served using a high-quality sealer, such as ours, and following your contractors’ recommendations for applications every 3-5 years. The better sealers last longer and will help you avoid more regular applications and potential sealer build-up.
Can I sealcoat new asphalt?
Newly installed asphalt pavements must be allowed to cure sufficiently so as to allow the oils in the new asphalt to oxidize and dissipate. In most cases waiting at least 90 days in warmer weather allows this process to take place. These oils in the new asphalt can cause a sealcoating to dis-bond from the asphalt surface if they are not given time to cure out. A simple way to check for oils on a recently installed asphalt pavement is to perform a “Water Break Free Test”. This test will help to confirm that the surface oils have dissipated, by observing how a gallon of clean water casts out across the pavement surface. The water should sheet out and uniformly wet the surface without beading (like on the hood of a freshly waxed car) or showing oil rings. Only time can properly cure out a freshly laid asphalt surface. It is not recommended to apply a sealcoating while significant oils are still present on the surface. There are several primers that work well on smaller patched areas and can act as adhesion promoters between the newly installed patch and the sealcoating that will be applied to this surface. Consult with your sealcoating contractor for advice on this subject and allow them the opportunity to help you make an educated decision on what will work the best for your situation.
How soon can I drive on my freshly sealcoated driveway?
As the manufacturer we recommend 24-48hrs. You will be able to walk on your driveway much sooner than this, but we recommend not driving on it for at least 36hrs if at all possible. In ideal weather conditions the drying will only take a few hours. However, just because it’s dry on top and dry to walk on does not mean it’s CURED. Curing is the evaporation of all liquid from the sealer. The dryer and hotter the weather the faster it will cure. You can drive on a driveway that is not fully cured but understand that you are risking leaving marks from turning tires (power steering marks) and tracking from heavy vehicles. 100% cure may take longer, but after 36 hours it will be cured to about 95% and you will not easily hurt your sealcoat. That last 5% of the cure takes the longest!
My new sealcoating job is not black, it looks bluish gray, why is that?
Possibly the sealcoating was applied when the surface or ambient temperatures (ideal 70-90° F) were too low as in early spring and late fall. Also, the sealer does not attain the full dark slate/black in shaded areas. Be assured that the color will darken with age and as the temperature rises. Consult the applicator or manufacturer if it does not.
My landscaper just applied fertilizer and now my seal coated asphalt looks blotchy, why?
Fertilizers and chemicals – Lawn fertilizers deposited on the sealed surface as a result of over-broadcasting should be collected and either disposed of properly or spread back on the grass. Fertilizers are chemicals that may produce blotchiness in the areas where they stay in contact with the sealcoating. Please remember that although sealcoatings have good resistance to a number of chemicals, the surface color may be affected if it is left in contact with a strong chemical for a length of time.
There are oil spots on my driveway/parking lot, will this be a problem for the sealcoating?
Regarding existing oil spots and oil drippings: It is a common practice to prime oil spots with a special asphalt priming product prior to applying sealcoating. Oil spot primers are quite effective at sealing oil spot contamination and will keep them from coming up through the cured film of a finished sealcoating job. If left untreated the oil will penetrate into and attack (soften & dissolve) the asphalt underneath. If nothing is done, these spots will still be visible through the sealcoated surface and it may be impossible to correct without actually digging out the damaged asphalt and then patching with fresh asphalt. It is a good maintenance practice to remove the oil spots as soon they are discovered using detergent and a good scrubbing.
I have cracks that run across my asphalt, why is that? What can be done?
Crack filling/sealing is a very important step in any pavement maintenance program. Cracks result from various factors including freeze/thaw cycles, differential pavement settlement, chemical spills, tree roots, etc. Once cracks form, they allow water into the foundation of your parking lot. Many foundations are made of limestone, which washes away easily when water is introduced to its normally sealed environment. Once the foundation erodes away, the pavement loses the support it needs to perform properly. This results in dips, “alligator/spiderweb” cracking and eventually potholes. With a proactive approach, and the help of an expert, you can prevent extensive damage. Crack sealing is designed to keep water out of the base layers of the asphalt where it is likely to cause the most damage and eventually failure of the asphalt above it.
My asphalt driveway has large areas that are cracked, like a spider web. What can be done to save that area?
Irregular cracks like a spider web are the indication of the base failure, which will require removal of the old asphalt, base and sub-base for proper remediation. Other methods, e.g. using a rubberized patching compound will offer only a temporary fix, at best. If not repaired, ground water will continue to pump through the base and lift any
I have several small to medium sized potholes, can they be successfully repaired?
Again, it may require full-depth removal of the old asphalt and re-paving. For a temporary fix, a good quality cold or hot patching compound may be found effective.
– There are areas on my driveway that get fuel or chemicals spilled over it frequently, is there anything that can protect these areas?
The contractor may suggest using a premium grade sealer which have built in rubber compounds that resist attack by petrochemicals. He may use specialty additives in his mix design.
Why is cleaning the asphalt before sealcoating so important?
For a successful sealcoating application ALL dirt must be removed from the asphalt pavement. Embedded dirt must be removed by a process of power washing, brushing, sweeping and/or mechanical blowing.
A reputable contractor will start with a hand-held edger, a weed eater, good high-powered blower and will spend the time to trim back the vegetation, power wash problem areas, broom and then blow off ALL of the dirt, sand and debris on the asphalt. Not just the stuff you can see on the top of the surface, but down into the profile of the asphalt where the dirt is stubborn and hides between the stone in the asphalt. They may have to get a metal wire broom out to hit the difficult spots. It is HARD work but has to be done! Failing this step properly can lead to disastrous results. Any sealcoating you lay down will stick to whatever it is applied to, and if that material is dust and dirt, not the asphalt surface itself, then it will lift right up as soon as it is disturbed. For proper adhesion it is essential that the asphalt surface be dry, clean, free of contaminants, and have adequate surface profile.
Should I ask for one coating or two, or more of the sealer?
New asphalt driveway are commonly sealcoated with two coats, for the first time. In the following years, the contractor may elect to apply only one coat to avoid build ups.
I am seeing tire marks where the cars are turning on my Driveway, why is this?
Nothing is wrong! This is a normal part of the process. The material used to seal your driveway is thermoplastic and the marks left by your tires will run themselves out and disappear. It’s just like freshly paved asphalt, those tire marks will disappear. Once your driveway has achieved a complete 100% cure, it will no longer mark.
Is there anything I can do to avoid marking the driveway before it is 100% cured? Yes. Try to avoid turning your tires very hard or turning the wheels while the vehicle is not moving. Again, if you do leave marks, they should eventually go away.
How can I tell if the contractor I want to use is a good one?
– Check references at least 3 property owners.
– Call the manufacturer whose product he/she is representing.
– Ask for product certification.
– What remedial procedure does he/she have if the coating does not perform as promise.
– Check with Better Business Bureau or Angies’s list.