Choosing a sealcoating contractor

When choosing a sealcoating contractors you may want to ask the contractor a few basic questions. There are unrepeatable contractors out there. In most cases when a parking lot is sealcoated it looks black and beautiful. The customer thinks they have paid for a great job. The property owner really won’t know if the job was done properly until a year or two has passed. Usually this will be when you see how much sealer is still on the pavement and this is when they will truly know if you got what you paid for.

Choosing the right sealcoating applicator is very important factor in having your sealcoating project last. Below is a list of a few questions you can ask that may help you weed out the less desirable sealcoating companies.

  1. The obvious-How long have they been in business, and a few nearby references you can go by to see and talk to someone. About these references should be at least a year or two old.
  2. Ask, for the name of the distributor-That sells them the sealer. They may be able to tell if the contractor is large enough or capable enough to do your size job.
  3. Ask, the dilution rate of the sealer- Most manufacturers recommend the dilution of concentrated material with water to be between 25% to 30%. ask for the specifications for the sealer they are using. It will tell you exactly what is specified for the particular brand the contractor is using.
  4. Ask, do you have sand in the sealer, and if so how much- The answer must be yes. Sealer applied without sand can become very slippery and increase liability and accidents. There should be somewhere between 4 to 6 pounds of clean, dry, silica sand, free of contaminants and mixed with each gallon of the sealer.
  5. Ask, how many coats of sealer will be applied-
  6. For a very light traffic area- one coat of sealer
  7. For low to moderate traffic- two coats is recommended.
  8. For heavy traffic- 2 coats over the entire area and a third coat in the travel lanes.
  9. Ask, what is the application rate of the sealer- The application rate per coat of diluted material should be between .015 to .019 gallons per square foot, depending on the porosity of the pavement.
  10. Ask, what type of sealer are you applying to pavement-
  11. A coal tar based sealer is the most commonly used in the New England area. If you really want to know if the contractor knows something, ask what the ASTM specification for the coal tar is. The answer should be ASTMD5727 of emulsified refined coal tar.
  12. A water based, petroleum resin sealer, this sealer is starting to be used more and more especially in the New England Area. It has only been used for a couple of years so the jury is still out for this area if it performs.
  13. Asphalt based sealers- these sealers are mainly used in warmer climates. The results in areas where plowing and sanding are needed, are very poor with this type of sealer.
  14. Ask, should my parking lot be primed first- You can see if your pavement needs a primer by looking at it. If you can actually see the aggregate of the pavement exposed it should be primed. What this means is, if you are looking at your pavement and can see the stones in it without being coated in black (AC) the pavement has become polished and needs priming.
  15. Ask, what type of equipment will be used- You want to make sure they have the equipment to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. You may even ask to see pictures. How the contractors equipment is maintained & its appearance sometimes can tell you about how the company will care about your pavement.
  16. Ask, are you doing anything to the cracks prior to sealcoating being done– If you have cracks ¼” or larger, you want to make sure they are being blown out with a compressor (not a leaf blower) and then pressure sealed with a hot rubberized asphalt (not a cold applied crack filler).
  17. Ask, what happens to my oil spots– Oil spots should be scrapped and primed with an oil spot primer. If they are severe oil spills, the sealer will not bond to those areas. The only solutions to these spots would be to cut out the asphalt area and repave it.
  18. Ask, do you add any additives to the sealer– Some applicators are believers in the additives and some are not. If applying, the rate is 2% of the additive will be added per gallon of concentrated material of the sealer. There are many additives on the market, some claim that they speed up the drying process; so you are able to get vehicles back on the pavement faster. There are others that claim to reduce power steering marks, increase fuel resistance and increase durability. In the end it is up to the contractor whether he is using an additive or not. It would be informative to see if the contractor has any thoughts on the additives.

These are a few questions to ask a sealcoating contractor quoting your sealcoating. It may give you some insight into whether a particular contractor is more knowledgeable in the industry over another. These questions may help you select the right sealcoating application contractor for you sealcoating project. In the sealcoating industry the application is one of the most important factors and you want to make sure you are selecting a very reputable one.

Spring has sprung!

Just about everything benefits from preventative maintenance. Your home, body, car and parking lot all require maintenance for it to last.

Due to the cost of replacing your asphalt is it very important to maintain it and extend it’s life. Most people wait until the pavement is seriously fatigued before they even think about their parking lot. The parking lot is just something you park on. Most people don’t even think too much about it until there are some problems. At this point there usually are more than one problem. Many times it is too late for anything to be done.

If your pavement is not too far gone, sealcoating your parking lot in the spring and summer months; maybe something you may want to consider. If constructed properly the major enemies of your asphalt are the sun, water and chemical spills.

The major benefits of sealcoating are:

  1. Protects the pavement from the sun. The UV rays from the sun dry out the binders or oxidize the pavement. When you see the color of asphalt going from black to gray, the oxidation process is happening. The pavement is being dried out and losing its flexibility. The result is it will begin to crack and unravel a lot easier. The sealer acts like a sunscreen for your asphalt. It is blocking out the harmful UV rays that will age your lot.
  2. Protects your pavement from harmful chemicals. Certain chemicals such as oil or gas and many other automotive products, if spilled or dripped on your pavement will soften and damage your asphalt. Sealer will protect the parking lot from these such spills, for a period of time. If the spills are not cleaned up or are continuous eventually the chemical may go through the sealer.
  3. Protects the pavement from water penetration. One of the major causes of parking lot problems, is water. Water in the sub base leads to major problems down the road.
  4. The black color helps melt snow and ice faster by absorbing the sun.
  5. Improves appearance. The new dark color of sealcoating improves the look of your aging pavement, your landscaping and building. First appearances are sometime important when people come to your property. The parking lot is usually one of the first things they see.

If done properly and under the correct conditions, sealcoating will last and protect one of the most valuable parts of your property.

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