At first glance, asphalt paving and sealcoating may look like very similar processes, since both services produce a smooth, black texture.

However, despite working in tandem with one another, asphalt paving and sealcoating are exclusive processes that serve different functions. 

One is the basis for our driveways, highways, and parking lots, and the other works to protect installed asphalt from harm. 

Group of workings working on paving a road

Asphalt Paving: What It Is & Purpose It Serves

Asphalt paving is a process that refers to the application of either a hot or cold asphalt mixture to a road way, parking lot, or driveway.  The term is used to describe several functions including the following:

  1. The installation process of asphalt pavement: Asphalt paving may refer to an entire area like a parking lot being paved or it may be applied to just a small stretch of roadway that has been damaged.
  2. It can include the creation of a new construction, a simple overlay to repair cracks and potholes, or it can involve a complete resurfacing of the area to remove and replace existing asphalt.  Resurfacing is recommended if the asphalt has water pooling issues, signs of aging, or cracked edges. 
  3. It is considered an expense and is not categorized as routine maintenance.
  4. Asphalt paving takes considerable time to install, disrupting commercial and public areas for longer than the sealcoating process.
  5. If properly maintained and not subjected to extreme climate or damage, the life expectancy of new or repaired asphalt pavement is 15-20 years but is sometimes longer in lightly trafficked areas. 

Sealcoating: What It Is & Purpose It Serves

The sealcoating process applies a protective barrier to the asphalt through a specially-formulated liquid coating. It prevents harm to the asphalt pavement beneath by filtering out harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, shielding the pavement from chemicals that degrade the pavement, and preventing water from penetrating the asphalt’s surface.

  1. Unlike asphalt paving, sealcoating is not for repairing asphalt surfaces. If there are defects in the asphalt pavement, any sealcoating that goes on top will seal these in. 
  2. Sealcoating is considered routine maintenance. It is recommended as a preventative measure and should be completed every 2-3 years. 
  3. It can be used to extend the life of your asphalt pavement and is considerably less expensive than asphalt paving.
  4. It takes less time to install, so it doesn’t disrupt commercial and public areas for nearly as long as asphalt paving does. 
  5. On aged pavement, sealcoating can make the asphalt appear darker, newer, and more even. 
  6. While sealcoating can cover or fill in small cracks in your asphalt, it is more effective to use asphalt paving for repairs. 
  7. Additives may be added to the sealcoating formula to achieve certain benefits like shorter drying times. 

While asphalt paving and sealcoating serve different purposes, using these two processes together ensures that your asphalt pavement is protected, durable, attractive, and long-lasting in both residential and commercial settings. 

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