Every year around this time, we see the same scenario:
It’s October, there is “use it or lose it” money in your budget, and your lot needs a sealcoat.
We see this scenario year in and year out. The fact of the matter is that a sealcoat done in October will not last as long as a sealcoat done earlier in the season. Warm ground temperatures and good positioning of the sun are essential for a quality sealcoat job. Sealcoat needs to be able to cure properly, and while we get a few hours of nice 80 degree weather on some days this time of year, it is just not enough. Once the temperature cools down at night, the curing process is put on hold, and what you are left with is a sub-par sealcoat. Even though it dries, it doesn’t cure properly.
Sealcoat material contains a lot of water. When sealcoat is laid down during the warm weather months, it cures fast. The water gets sucked out, and the result is a nice dense sealcoat. The length of time it takes to cure is directly tied to the temperature of the ground and the position of the sun. In October many sections of the parking lot don’t even see the sun and the pavement temperature never gets out of the 50’s.
When the sealer dries slowly, the water does not get drawn out as much and the resulting product is less dense and won’t last. The sealcoat actually wears off before it gets a chance to cure. You’re much better off waiting until April to seal than doing it in October. In April you have the entire warm season ahead of you and even if it dries slowly that day the warmer days to come will cure it out. In October you’re lucky to get one coat to dry and unlikely to get two coats down in one day, this causes scheduling problems for the restriping crews and the customers. The bottom line is there not much value to be gained sealcoating in October.
Having said that, October is traditionally one of our biggest sealcoating months. Why is that? A lack of pavement knowledge… exactly what this blog is trying to address. Come to our seminar and learn enough to be dangerous about Pavement Maintenance. The February 21st seminar is open for registration.