It doesn’t matter where your business is located – the environment will take a toll on your pavement one way or another. Temperature changes, rain, snow, sunlight, wind, ground shifts, and several other factors contribute to cracks, divots, bumps, potholes, and other asphalt issues. As it would happen, a region like New England must contend with all of these environmental factors, enduring long, harsh winters, scorching summers, and everything in between. If you want to keep your industrial paving intact in such a variable climate, you must perform the proper maintenance. Blacktop sealcoating is one of the most important tasks in this regard.
Let’s explore why sealcoating is recommended for hot and cold climates alike, and when you should consider sealcoating your industrial asphalt.
What Cold Conditions Do to Asphalt
The evidence of winter’s wrath on pavement becomes crystal clear once spring arrives. Right now, commercial paving contractors are all over New England filling cracks, patching potholes, and resurfacing roadways to undue the damage done by the cold air, snow, and ice. As we go over in our blog, “How Does Cold, Snowy Weather Impact Your Asphalt?” the main culprit of winter-related asphalt damage is what’s known as the freeze/thaw cycle. This cycle refers to the expansion of water inside your asphalt’s cracks and pores when it freezes – as the water freezes and expands, it forces the asphalt to break apart from the inside, exacerbating existing cracks and forming new ones. These new openings allow more water to seep in and the cycle continues.
The Effects of High Temperatures on Asphalt
Of course, asphalt isn’t just threatened by cold conditions. Extreme heat and sunlight can do a number on pavement, too. Blacktop absorbs light and heat due to its dark coloration. When temperatures reach and exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, even well-established asphalt will begin to expand and weaken, forming cracks and divots. Just like cracks formed from extreme cold, these heat-related cracks allow additional moisture and debris to infiltrate the asphalt, causing further problems. Meanwhile, harsh sunlight gradually breaks down the binding particles that hold asphalt together and causes the blacktop to fade to a less appealing gray.
How Sealcoating Protects Your Pavement
So, whether it’s really hot or really cold, your pavement is in danger. Fortunately, proper sealcoating works to mitigate these harmful effects no matter the season. In many ways, sealcoating is like painting an exterior surface – it adds aesthetic value while also shielding the underlying material from environmental threats, namely moisture and UV rays (sunlight). A sealcoat is an additional layer of protection that’s placed on top of the asphalt at least six months after said asphalt was originally laid. This important form of asphalt maintenance makes it difficult for moisture or sunlight to break through the upper seal, mitigating the aforementioned freeze/thaw cycle and heat-related deterioration.
Finding the Right Time to Sealcoat
Sealcoating is a crucial step for any asphalt surface, but it’s best done at certain times. For starters, you don’t want to sealcoat pavement too soon after laying it down, as the fresh asphalt needs about six months to completely cure, compact, and settle. Moreover, outdoor conditions also affect the installation process and the sealcoat’s longevity. In other words, heat and cold must also be considered when sealcoating your asphalt. In New England, an experienced industrial paving company will typically tackle sealcoating during the spring or summer during a relatively hot (at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit), dry, sunny day, since the sealant requires significant sunlight to properly cure and must steer clear of mositure. When properly installed and maintained, you might not have to sealcoat your asphalt again for 3-4 years after initial application.
Hot or Cold, Sealcoating Is Just Right
While it’s best to sealcoat your asphalt on a relatively hot day, this process will protect your asphalt during all seasons and conditions – this is perfect in the variable climate found in New England. If you have any questions about the sealcoating process and its advantages, Cassidy Paving is here to help. Call us today at 866-978-9788 for a free estimate on your next asphalt project!