We get this question many times during the season and besides the condition of the asphalt and the type of establishment, here are some of the factors to consider before you start sealcoating:
- Time of Season
- Amount of Sunlight
Why Is the Time of Season Important?
For our customers in New England, we usually have the crews ready to go in May and finish up sometime in October depending upon urgency of the customer and weather conditions. Why is the time of season important? Because it dictates the amount of light from the sun and whether the temperatures are rising or falling. In addition, since the sealer contains water and asphalt emulsions that need to bind to protect the asphalt, T&K aims for the best possible conditions to ensure long-lasting results. Protecting your asphalt investment and spending your maintenance budget wisely now can save your company a significant amount of money down the road.
Why Is the Amount of Sunlight Important for Drying Asphalt?
The sun is the key ingredient in determining how fast the sealer dries and when the curing process will begin. Please note that drying and curing are not the same process. Since the sealcoat material consists partly of water and asphalt emulsions, it is important for all the liquid to have evaporated before the curing can start. The sunlight actually “pulls” the water out of the sealer starting with the top layer and moving down to the bottom so if the sun is not hitting the newly sealed area, it is necessary to keep the cars off the asphalt until totally dry. The curing process ends with a strong film that contains bounded particles that act as a sealant. It is like baking a cake and pulling it out of the oven before it’s done, the crust might look ready, but the insides are still too moist to serve. In addition, if you have a cloudy day or a portion of the lot that does not receive much sunlight, the asphalt should be roped-off to allow for additional drying time.
What Is the Right Temperature for Sealcoating Asphalt?
According to Neyra, a major provider of commercial sealer, the best temperatures for sealcoating asphalt are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and higher for at least 8 hours and not dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the next 48 hours. Typically, New England will get hit with a shot of cold weather late spring or early fall which according to the Pavement Coatings Technology Council(PCTC), will slow the fusion process significantly. However, if the temperatures dip to 32 degrees or lower, the curing process will stop so keep an eye out for any changing weather patterns.
How Does Humidity Affect the Sealcoating Drying Time?
Since the drying of sealcoating depends on moisture leaving the sealer, there is a direct relationship between the drying time and percentage of humidity in the air. For instance, on a dry New England day with humidity below 50%, the drying time should be equal to dealer specs listed above. If the humidity doubles, the air turns sticky from the additional water particulars in the air and drying time will increase to compensate for the lower rate of evaporation. Be sure to notify customers of possible delays in re-opening the parking lot during humid conditions.
Sealcoating asphalt carries many benefits and applying a high-grade commercial sealer will not only protect your investment but will increase the curb appeal of your property.
As with any significant part of your property management responsibilities, be sure to work with a professional asphalt maintenance company. Contact T&K Asphalt at www.tkasphalt.com if looking for a plan to protect your asphalt and eliminate problem areas.