Best Blacktop Sealer
The term blacktop comes from the color of this ubiquitous surfacing material. The more common name is asphalt but it is also called tarmac. This is a very good material for roadways, driveways, parking lots and other areas such as play grounds that need a hard surface that is not affected by rain. Other materials are also now being used for school playgrounds but for decades when the kids went out to play they went to the “blacktop” or asphalt play area.
Coal Tar Blacktop Sealer
Historically, the most used sealer for blacktop was a coal tar solution. Coal tar is actually a byproduct when coal is formed into coke for the steel making industry. This thick, viscous liquid very thick and thus harder to apply and is very sticky which means it adheres to the surface well. One of the main downsides is the gassing off of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the curing process. Coal tar is very thick and when mixed with sand such as in the Henry product at right it works well as a filler along with being a sealer to protect the blacktop surface. If you need a very thick coating because the black top is very old and weathered then a product like this is well worth exploring.
What Is The Best Blacktop Sealer
If you just want to seal the surface and not a lot of filling is needed then an asphalt product will work well. Currently an asphalt emulsion product is considered the best sealer to be applied by the homeowner. Emulsion means that asphalt particles are suspended in a water base. This is done by agitating the asphalt and water along with adding suspension chemicals. This product is easy to apply because the water base allows for rolling or brushing. It also offers easy clean up. Once the product is applied on the surface it dries by evaporating the water and the asphalt particles then adhere to the top of the existing roadway or play area.
The Henry Driveway Asphalt Sealer at left is a very good asphalt emulsion product that is easy to apply and quick to dry. It only requires a ½” nap roller to roll the emulsion out on your surface and then is dries offering a coating that will protect your black top driveway or play area from water seeping into the structure of the material. This is the number reason for blacktop failure. Water seeps into tiny cracks and voids where the original asphalt cement has been separated due to weathering or traffic. The water then can freeze and expand which breaks out more of the structure. Eventually, if this is not taken care of, the area will turn into a pot hole which will continue to get bigger and bigger.
By sealing blacktop before this damage can occur, you will spend a little bit of time and money now and save a whole lot of pain later on. Once a pot hole forms it is very hard to get a blacktop patch to stay in place and, beside that, it makes the surface rough and it doesn’t look good.
Acrylic Blacktop Sealer
There is a new product on the market that is said to be the next step in blacktop sealing. This Rustoleum Epoxy Shield Black Top coating is a water based acrylic mixture. The sales literature claims that it will last up to four times longer than standard asphalt emulsion products. It is also said to offer a jet black color. The company also claims that the coverage will be better than the normal product. My concern with this would be that the coating would not be very thick so if you have a rough surface you may not get complete sealing. Either that, or the actual coverage would be less than advertised. I have not used this product so I can’t say for sure. There are a lot of good things being done with acrylics and polymers so it may be that this product will end up being the standard in years to come. For more information, click on the picture at right.
No matter what blacktop sealing product you decide on, the surface prep is very important. Be sure that all weeds and vegetation is removed. Also, if you have any large cracks or holes they should be patched before the sealer is rolled out. If not, you will have failures down the road. Lastly, before applying the sealer I recommend using a pressure washer to remove all dirt and grime and also to clean out any cracks. Then the surface must be left to dry before the blacktop sealant is applied.
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