Understanding the Different Types of Asphalt Sealcoats

Benefits of Asphalt Sealcoats

Asphalt sealcoats are an essential component of maintaining and prolonging the lifespan of asphalt surfaces. They provide a protective coating that helps to prevent damage caused by UV rays, water, and chemicals. Sealcoats also enhance the appearance of asphalt surfaces, giving them a fresh and polished look. Additionally, sealcoats can help to fill in small cracks and imperfections, preventing them from turning into costly repairs or replacements.

The Different Types of Asphalt Sealcoats

There are two main types of asphalt sealcoats: coal tar-based sealcoats and asphalt-based sealcoats. Each type has its own unique properties and benefits.

Understanding the Different Types of Asphalt Sealcoats 1

Coal Tar-Based Sealcoats

Coal tar-based sealcoats are made from coal tar, a byproduct of the coal industry. They are known for their durability and resistance to chemicals and UV rays. Coal tar-based sealcoats have a deep black color and provide excellent protection against water and oil-based substances. They are commonly used in high-traffic areas such as parking lots and driveways.

Asphalt-Based Sealcoats

Asphalt-based sealcoats, also known as asphalt emulsion sealcoats, are made from asphalt combined with water and an emulsifying agent. They are environmentally friendly and offer good protection against UV rays and water. Asphalt-based sealcoats have a dark brown color and are more flexible compared to coal tar-based sealcoats. They are often used on residential driveways and low-traffic areas.

Choosing the Right Sealcoat for Your Needs

When it comes to choosing the right sealcoat for your asphalt surface, several factors should be taken into consideration.

Traffic Volume

If your asphalt surface experiences heavy traffic, such as a commercial parking lot, a coal tar-based sealcoat may be the better choice. Its superior durability and resistance to chemicals make it more suitable for high-traffic areas. On the other hand, if your asphalt surface is in a residential area with lower traffic volume, an asphalt-based sealcoat would be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.


The climate in your region is another important factor to consider. If you live in an area with extreme temperature variations and frequent freeze-thaw cycles, an asphalt-based sealcoat would be more flexible and better able to withstand the effects of these weather conditions. However, if you live in an area with hot summers and mild winters, a coal tar-based sealcoat could provide the necessary protection against UV rays and heat.


The visual appeal of your asphalt surface is another consideration. Coal tar-based sealcoats provide a deep black color that enhances the overall appearance of the asphalt. If aesthetics are a priority, especially for high-visibility areas like shopping centers or business entrances, a coal tar-based sealcoat would be the better choice. However, if appearance is not a significant factor, an asphalt-based sealcoat can still provide adequate protection at a lower cost.

The Application Process

The application process for both types of sealcoats is similar, but there are a few differences to note.

Clean and Prepare the Surface

Before applying the sealcoat, the surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned and prepared. Any debris, dirt, or vegetation should be removed. Cracks and potholes should be repaired, and oil stains should be treated.

Apply the Sealcoat

An asphalt sealcoat can be applied using a squeegee or a spray system. The sealcoat should be spread evenly across the surface, taking care to avoid pooling. It is recommended to apply two coats for optimal protection.

Cure Time

Both coal tar-based and asphalt-based sealcoats require adequate curing time before allowing traffic. While cure times can vary depending on weather conditions and the type of sealcoat used, it is generally advised to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before reopening the surface to vehicle or foot traffic.

Maintaining Your Sealcoated Asphalt Surface

Once the sealcoat is applied, it is crucial to maintain it properly to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Regular sweeping and cleaning will help to remove debris and prevent the build-up of dirt and pollutants. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials when cleaning, as they can damage the sealcoat. Additionally, periodic inspections should be conducted to identify any cracks or damage that may require repairs. Interested in learning more about the topic discussed? Access this informative article, where you’ll find extra information and interesting perspectives to further enhance your learning experience.


Understanding the different types of asphalt sealcoats is essential for making an informed decision when it comes to protecting and maintaining your asphalt surfaces. Whether you choose a coal tar-based sealcoat or an asphalt-based sealcoat, the benefits they provide in terms of protection, durability, and aesthetics are undeniable. By selecting the right sealcoat for your needs and following proper application and maintenance procedures, you can extend the lifespan of your asphalt surfaces and enjoy their beauty and functionality for years to come.

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