Types of seal coatings for driveways and when to use them

A high-quality seal coating provides your driveway with surface protection that will keep it from wearing down or suffering from erosion-related damage. However, there are many options from which you can choose when deciding on a sealing process.

The following sealers are among the most popular methods used to seal coat a driveway. In each section, the nature of the sealer will be discussed, as well as its benefits and drawbacks. Then, a recommendation will be given on how best to utilize it in a home or in a commercial or industrial area.

Asphalt sealer

This type of sealer is made largely out of asphalt, which provides a variety of different benefits. For example, this type of seal coating is very easy to apply and less expensive than other types. Just as importantly, it can match the look of an asphalt driveway more easily than different types of sealers and provides a handsome look that is hard to obtain in other ways.

However, there are a few downsides to using this type of sealer on your driveway. First of all, it is not as strong as other types of sealers. In fact, you can expect the sealant to start wearing away in as little as three to four years. And while the cost is typically quite low compared to other sealers, the more frequent application time may negate any savings in price.

That said, asphalt sealers are also filled with very few organic or chemical compounds, which means they are reasonably safe for the environment. Therefore, they can experience minor to severe runoff without causing significant environmental disasters. That said, you should still attempt to  manage potential contamination by not letting too much of this sealant run off the driveway.

Coal tar sealer

People who want a longer-lasting seal coating option for their asphalt driveways may appreciate the benefits of coal tear sealers. This type of sealant is made from a variety of natural elements, such as coal tar, clay, polymers and sands. To these natural elements, a multitude of polymers is added to make a very durable and reliable sealant that will last far longer than the three to four years of asphalt sealers.

As with all sealers, though, this one does have some drawbacks. For example, the many polymers and organic chemicals in its formula are very potent and could create serious issues with the environment if let loose. Just as problematically, they can cause real health problems when exposed to the skin and may be dangerous if ingested.

Thankfully, that risk is really quite low and typically only occurs in specific circumstances. And since these sealers are very resistant to sunlight, gasoline, and vehicle fluids, they probably make a good choice for parking lots or the work floors of mechanic centers. However, driveways in more rural areas should probably use an alternative to avoid causing environmental problems.

Oil-based sealer

Oil-based sealers are designed to provide a very long-lasting protective surface that beats compounds that are water-based. Many sealers use water to provide protection and are safe for the environment in ways that other sealers are not. By contrast, oil-based sealers are not good for the environment but provide a level of protection that beats almost every other type of sealant on the market.

And if the sealant is carefully maintained and doesn’t run off onto the ground, the environmental issue shouldn’t be a problem. However, many people may not take the time to apply an oil-based sealer properly or may make a mistake during the application process.

When this happens, there is a real risk for contamination that could result in legal and even financial ramifications for the person applying the compound. This risk may be minimized if the individual places protective guards around the edge of the driveway or parking lot.

Acrylic Sealer

Acrylic sealers provide a reliable alternative to many types of seal coating options on the market today. First of all, they are entirely synthetic and provide one of the longest-lasting options on the market. Just as importantly, they are colored in many different ways, offering maximum diversity for anyone looking to add a seal coat to a driveway or parking lot.

However, acrylic sealers do have downsides that limit their potential. First of all, they are often quite expensive when compared to other options. As a result, their value is somewhat decreased, particularly for people working with a limited budget. And their synthetic nature is not particularly suitable for the environment, which may be a massive issue for people who want to go green or protect the world.

That said, acrylic sealers provide one of the most robust and comprehensive protective surfaces of any sealant on this list. More durable than coal tar, asphalt and oil-based sealers, acrylic types will last so long that you may not need to add another application for up to 10 years. Some sealants—when properly maintained—may even last longer. However, the high price tag is a real deterrent when considering this option.

Let us help you seal coat your driveway

As you can see, a good seal coating provides many benefits that are worth the unique challenges that this process presents. Just as importantly, you understand what types of polymers and seal coat options are available for your driveway. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what kind of sealer you want to use.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about the many benefits of the seal coating process. We can help you better understand which of these seal coats is right for your needs and will work with you to apply a high-quality seal coat in a way that not only protects your driveway but helps it look beautiful.

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