top of page

What Is Sealcoating and Why Do You Need It?

Asphalt breaks down over time due to regular wear and tear. But regular maintenance can prevent deterioration and significantly prolong its life. Thankfully, sealcoating offers a quick and affordable way to maintain your asphalt pavement. But what exactly is sealcoating?

What Is Sealcoating?

Sealcoating is the process of applying a protective layer of sealant to an existing asphalt pavement. Because asphalt is porous, it can deteriorate over time due to exposure to water, chemicals, salt, and even ultraviolet rays.


The climate in Virginia can be particularly hard on asphalt. The freezing and thawing that occurs in winter wreaks havoc on paved surfaces, and the salt that is used for de-icing is also very corrosive. The heat and rain in summer also takes its toll.


Sealcoating acts as a barrier between the asphalt and these harmful elements and prolongs the life of an asphalt surface. Untreated asphalt can break down in just a few short years. But well-maintained asphalt can last up to thirty years.

The Sealcoating Process

Sealcoating is made of either tar pitch or asphalt cement, which is mixed with water and emulsificants. Before applying sealcoating, technicians will clean the pavement to ensure that it’s free of dust and debris.


The sealant is applied to the surface before being allowed to cure. After only four hours, it’s safe for foot traffic. Vehicular traffic can resume in 24-48 hours.


It’s recommended that asphalt be treated every few years as part of regular maintenance. This is especially true for high-traffic areas or for asphalt that’s frequently exposed to chemicals such as salt and oil.

Benefits of Sealcoating

1. Longevity

Constant exposure to the elements means that even expertly installed pavement will eventually start to show signs of wear and tear. The asphalt will need to be milled or even completely repaved if left untreated. However, regular sealcoating maintenance can prolong the life of your asphalt by decades.


2. Protection

Pavement is made up of a few different layers. Beneath the top layer of asphalt are functional base layers that help with drainage and weight distribution.


When water and chemicals penetrate into those base layers, it can effectively destroy the pavement, causing cracking, raveling, and potholes. Sealcoating acts as a protective layer over the asphalt, ensuring that those base layers of pavement remain intact.


3. Affordability

In the long run, it’s extremely expensive not to maintain your asphalt. And thankfully, sealcoating is quite affordable. Here in Virginia, it typically costs between 30 and 50 cents per square foot. By comparison, an asphalt overlay costs $3-$5 per square foot, which is ten times more expensive!


4. Beautification

Ultraviolet rays cause asphalt to fade over time. Combined with the cracking and deterioration that can occur with unmaintained asphalt, the area can end up looking run-down and neglected. Sealcoating prevents those signs of age, and also restores your asphalt to its nice black color.


At Gallaher Seamless Paving, our sealcoating experts will survey the area and come up with a treatment plan specific to your needs. Contact us today for a consultation.

bottom of page