Does it save any money to seal asphalt?

Research has demonstrated that properly applied (and properly timed) sealcoat can save the owner of a property $100,000 or more — over the life of a hot mix asphalt pavement. But what does sealcoat actually do that results in this substantial savings?

To understand how sealcoating works, it is necessary to understand the nature of the asphalt pavement itself. Because of its excellent waterproofing, flexibility, and adhesive properties to bind and hold the aggregates in the pavement, asphalt has been used extensively for paving and road construction.

Sealcoating can save real dollars for pavement owners. Unsealed pavements will require repairs starting with the second year and could require a one-inch overlay as often as every seven years. Cost savings will be a substantial 65% if the pavement is maintained regularly. Estimated savings for a 10,000-sq.-yd. asphalt pavement are $127,000 over15 years.

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Why bother sealing asphalt driveways?

As water permeates cracks in the material and settles down at the base, the strength of the base is compromised, resulting in the formation of pot-holes. Cracks filled with water are also an open invitation in the North to damage from freezing. Even in warm climates, grass can begin to grow up through cracks on the edges of the surface. Damage from ultraviolet rays and oil/gas spills are other good reasons for sealing asphalt driveways.

Why aren’t highways sealed?

There are several reasons why you don't see highway maintenance departments using traditional sealers on roadways. The heavy volume of traffic on the average road would rapidly wear away a surface coating of asphalt sealer. Roadways are also built differently than the average residential driveway. The engineers and government officials responsible for the design and maintenance of public roads plan for re-paving. In other words, since they know they can't seal, they plan ahead knowing the road must be re-paved more often than a residential drive.