As a property manager, keeping your parking lot in good condition is essential, and pavement sealcoating is one of the most crucial factors in its longevity. Unsealed, or poorly sealed, pavement oxidizes and fades, as well as allowing water to permeate and erode it. This creates cracks and potholes, making the parking lot unsightly and possibly unsafe. The question is: are you sealing properly? Here are some pointers on ensuring a quality sealer coat.
When to Apply a New Coat
Pavement sealer isn’t a permanent, “one and done” procedure. The seal wears down from traffic, heavy weather and the passage of time. Re-applying sealer regularly is a part of pavement maintenance. As a baseline, you should have the parking lot sealcoated every 24-36 months. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. In a geographic region prone to harsh weather, the coating wears away faster. Heavy traffic wears sealer more quickly, too.
When it comes time for a reapplication, make sure to choose a day with clear weather, not too humid and immediately following rain. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and avoid scheduling during rainy seasons.
Preparing for Coating
Sealcoating can’t take place immediately—the pavement must be prepared for it. First, any existing cracks and potholes must be repaired, and patches of moss or grass trimmed, to provide an even surface to work with. This surface also should be clean and free of dirt, mud, oil and debris—these substances can mix with the sealer and reduce its effectiveness. Finally, the parking lot must be dry so that water is not sealed in with the asphalt. Use a broom or blower to remove debris, and turn nearby sprinklers off for at least a day prior to coating.
Once sealer is applied, it must be allowed to dry and cure before the parking lot can be used. The wait time depends on how heavy a coat is applied, as well as the temperature, humidity and amount of sunlight, but you should wait at least 30 hours, after which traffic is safe. As a result, schedule the process for an off-peak day, ideally when the property is not open. If this is impossible or impractical, you may have the sealer applied in portions, leaving part of the lot open to traffic. This time limit doesn’t apply to walking across the asphalt—though you may want to avoid doing so to be sure, foot traffic is safe after about 2-4 hours of drying.
During the wait period, the pavement should not be exposed to liquids, as much as possible, to avoid delaying the drying process or diluting the sealer. Keep sprinklers off during this time and refrain from hosing off the lot.
Even after the sealer has cured, the seal is not completely stable. For a week or two afterward, you should be mindful of fuel, oil, transmission fluid or antifreeze stains, as harsh chemicals can damage the coating. If necessary, use a degreaser to remove oil stains, or soap and water for other fluids.
The best way to ensure a high-quality seal on their pavement is to hire experts. DRYCO provides outstanding sealcoating services to Northern California’s property managers, with specialized equipment and competitive pricing. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.