Your Pavement Maintenance ProgramThis section is dedicated to property managers and project engineers who have the responsibility for maintaining their pavements, in the most cost-effective manner by taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies, and well-established products. Since pavements are a sizable investment, they have 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. There is no other alternative for stretching your dollars while enjoying the safety, property value, and the enhanced business image.
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.
A well planned pavement maintenance program should allow you to work within your budget for protecting and preserving your pavement.
- Professional evaluations done by an experienced seal coating contractor.
- Implementation of a detailed maintenance schedule.
- An evaluation that takes into consideration:
- Current and future pavement conditions.
- Maintenance and repair options.
- Budgetary concerns.
- Any other factors that assist in developing an effective maintenance and repair plan.
Individual maintenance options such as Asphalt Repairs, Sealcoating, Crack Sealing, and Line Striping all should be considered in your maintenance plan. Of these elements, Sealcoating is essentially the most important, slowing the inevitable degradation of the asphalt pavement will make the biggest difference in the long-term success of your plan. As a management tool, this program enables you to plan for maintaining your properties in the most cost-effective way. A pavement maintenance program should be a long-term approach that ties together all of the various maintenance options under one program so you will be able to get the most out of your pavement surfaces – one of the largest investments on your property.
Why Should I Sealcoat My Parking Lot?
It is a commonly asked question by property owners and managers. The answer is twofold:
To protect the pavement from accelerated deterioration. There is no question that your parking lot takes a beating day-in and day-out. Daily traffic, gasoline and oil leaks, rain, and freeze/thaw cycles all break down the chemical bonds in the asphalt. The sun has an especially harmful effect on the asphalt, its ultraviolet rays rapidly increase the rate of oxidation, causing the pavement to become dry and brittle. Sealer serves as a barrier coat for dramatically reducing the deteriorating effect of the elements. A high-quality sealer should be applied every 2 to 4 years depending on the type and frequency of traffic.
To enhance the curb appeal of the property. The saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is never truer than in real estate. The curb appeal of your property has a huge effect on the clientele and/or tenants that frequent your business. Just as a fresh coat of paint on an old building can offer new perspective, so can a freshly sealed parking lot. It tells your existing and potential customers that you care about the details.
STAR leads in the industry and are well known experts in this area, with its comprehensive range of pavement maintenance products. We take pride in the development of a hassle-free sealcoating and pavement maintenance system to our customers. We strive to get the job done in a manner that is least disruptive to your business. We can arrange for the work to be completed around your schedule. Nights, weekends, and even holidays, we will do whatever it takes to get the job done with as little impact on your business as possible.
Property Managers Knowledge Base
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 petro-chemicals.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE USE OF ADDITIVES, SAND, MIX DESIGNS, SPECIFICATIONS, ETC.
Why use an additive and what do they do?
Builds viscosity to suspend sand in the sealer mix design. Latex polymers improve chemicals and fuel resistance and help creates a more uniform charcoal black appearance.
Speeds up the drying of sealcoatings without increasing their viscosity. Handy to have on finishing coats where drying faster is key and opening up a parking facility as quickly as possible is important, but changing the basic mix design characteristics is not desirable.
Imparts aggressive drying surfactants, builds viscosity to suspend sand in the sealer and includes latex to improve performance/chemical resistance.
Includes the benefits of viscosity build for sand suspension, latex rubber for performance and chemical resistance, drying surfactants for faster dry times and carbon black to give an extra color boost to difficult weather applications – truly an all inclusive additive and a best seller.
What is a “mix design”?
Sealcoatings, both refined tar (RTS) and asphalt emulsion (AE) based, are traditionally supplied as concentrates (undiluted). Prior to application, sealcoatings must be mixed with water, silica sand and additives (as recommended) for proper application consistency according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Mix designs are simply the proportions in which the ingredients are mixed in the sealer for the desired performance properties. Water is added to give proper fluidity to the mix. It should have the right flow and leveling characteristics to evenly spread and coat the pavement surface. The water used in the mix shall be clean, potable (drinkable), low in hardness and iron, free of suspended solids and metal contaminants and between 7-8 pH.
A typical Mix Design will look like this:
Sealcaoting – 100 Gal.
Water – 25-30 Gal.
Sand – 200-300 Lbs.
Additive – 2-5 Gal.
Why use sand?
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 are ASTM Specifications?
ASTM is abbreviation for “American Society for Testing and Materials”, it changed its name to “ASTM International” in 2001. ASTM International is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services, including sealcoatings.
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 parking lot or 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 parking lot. Sealcoatings should last 2-3 years on pavements with average traffic frequency. The higher traffic lanes may show some wearing off from the top of the aggregate. It is a common observation, however with closer inspection you will find the sealer down in the profile intact and delivering the required protection from UV rays and water penetration.
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 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 new asphalt sealer, the contractor said I should stay off the driveway for TWO DAYS?!?
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.
Should I use hot or cold crack filler?
The rule of thumb is to use hot pour crack fillers on cracks wider than ½ inch on most large and commercial applications. For smaller cracks cold pour crack fillers are preferred and convenient. Generally speaking Hot Pour Crack fillers deliver much better performance in terms of overall longevity and better value for the money.
My asphalt parking lot 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 parking lot that get fuel or chemicals spilled over it frequently, is there anything that can protect these areas?
STAR SEAL SUPREME Or STAR AVIATOR which have built in rubber compounds that resist attack by petro-chemicals.
Why is cleaning the asphalt before sealcoating so important and so expensive?
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. This is where a good deal of manpower and man-hours are spent in the time billable on a job site. It is common to see a crew cleaning for hours, and sealcoating for minutes. It is HARD work, and it is expensive, but it has to be done! Failing to do 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.
The sealer seems to wear off the entrance of my parking lot much sooner than in the drive lanes, why?
It is understandable that sealer will not last as long in high traffic areas as it does in low traffic areas. It has, however, been noticed that sealcoatings may wear out prematurely in some areas that handle steady traffic e.g. traffic lanes, exits, entrances, etc. Sealcoating may be gone from such areas, in a matter of months. Premature sealer failure has been observed as essentially an adhesion failure of the sealer from the top of the “Polished Aggregate”. Polishing can be created either by the nature of the aggregate or shear traffic volume. In either case the aggregate surface is too smooth to bond. The surface of such aggregates has to be rendered rough or suitable for bonding through priming.
One way to remedy this is to roughen the surface by sand blasting, grinding or extensive wire brushing. These remedies may be too expensive and time consuming though.
Priming can provide a highly cost-effective solution to the premature sealer failure problem. Prime the areas of high traffic (drive lanes, exits, entrances, etc) with a specialty primer that will soak into the aggregate and bond to the smooth surfaces. Priming provides a new surface for the sealcoating to bond to. Primers are generally water-based coatings, with built in polymers and surfactants that help them to penetrate into the polished aggregates to create an improved adhesive surface for the sealcoating.
Should I ask for one coating or two, or more of the sealer?
Plan on Applying Two Coats of Sealer – This is necessary to maintain the sealers’ protective quality as well as its’ longevity. Understanding that sealer applied in two thin coats dries and cures much better than one thick coat. Sealers are water-based coatings, which cure through the process of water release (evaporation). A thin coat will release water faster than a thick coat. If applied in one thick coat, sealer will have a tendency to hold water longer and will likely cause tracking before it properly cures. MOST IMPORTANT TO THE DURABILITY OF THE COATING IS THE DRYING TIME BETWEEN COATINGS AND ALLOWING PROPER CURE TIME BEFORE TRAFFIC IS ALLOWED ON THE SURFACE!
I am seeing tire marks where the cars are turning on my parking lot, 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.
Sometimes I see brown scuff marks inside my store’s front door on the tile floor, is this from the sealer?
It is possible that the sealer was tracked, especially when the parking lot was opened too soon to traffic. In most of the instances, however, the tracking is of the dirt and grime by the traffic of the shopping carts. This problem may seem to be aggravated after sealcoating. On the old, unsealed parking lot used to let all oil dripping, grease etc., used to go through the asphalt and damage it. After sealcoating, these elements stay on the top of the sealcoating and tracked into the stores. Sealcoating as a barrier coat for protecting the asphalt pavement.
I had my parking lot sealed and painted two months ago, and now the paint lines are hard to see because they are so dirty, what can I do?
Contact the contractor and have them remedy the problem. Possibly parking lot was opened way too soon for traffic to allow time for the sealer to fully sure and set up.
It is now springtime, and there are long lines on the parking lot where it looks like the sealer has washed off, why did this happen?
Look carefully, these may the snow plough scare marks. If you see sealcoating failure, like peeing or completely washed out, contact your contractor. Such problems have also been seen to occur when a chemical snow melt (Calcium Chloride type) is uses. Such ice melter generate excessive (localized) heat that damages the sealer.
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.
Our Comprehensive System Works with You!
The first step is to conduct a physical assessment of each parking lot. We note the details of the condition of the pavement including dips, rutting, potholes, all cracks by type, location, and severity, existing patchwork, etc…
#2 Condition Analysis
The condition of each parking lot is analyzed by various methods. During this step a plan is developed to address every problem area on the parking lot. Once this analysis is completed, we document each problem area and correlate it with a diagram of your parking lot. Condition Analysis are generally completed annually to monitor the performance of the pavement.
#3 Identify Maintenance Options
Next we rank the problem areas and recommend specific repairs. Rather than rank the problem areas from worst to best, we rank them from most important repair to least important. Sometimes it’s more important to prevent an area from getting worse than to repair an already deteriorated area.
With the assessment and condition analysis in hand it is time to sit down with you and determine the best course of action for your parking lot. When the time comes to execute the plan, we get the work done in a manner that is least disruptive to your business.