Sealcoating, or pavement sealing, is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt-based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements: water, oils, and U.V. damage.
Not all pavement sealcoats are created equal. For example, refined tar-based sealer offers the best protection against water penetration and chemical resistance. Asphalt-based sealer typically offers poor protection against environmental chemicals and harsher climates (salt water). Petroleum-based sealer offers protection against water and chemicals somewhere between the other two sealers. Another difference between coatings is in terms of wear. Again, refined tar-based sealer offers the best wear characteristics (typically 3–5 years) while asphalt-based sealer may last 1–3 years. Petroleum-based sealer falls between refined tar and asphalt.
There are concerns about pavement sealer polluting the environment after it is abraded from the surface of the pavement. Some states in North America have banned the use of coal tar–based sealants primarily based on United States Geological Survey studies. The industry group that represents sealcoat manufacturers has performed numerous research and reviews of the USGS and have found it to be erroneous, biased (citation and white hat, to name a few) and too generalized in order to draw the conclusions that the United States Geological Survey claims.
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