FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What exactly is asphalt seal coating?
Asphalt seal coating is a process not unlike painting your house. The asphalt in your driveway can deteriorate due to exposure from the sun, heavy traffic or oil spills. The asphalt seal coating process involves spray applying Safe Seal® asphalt Emulsion or coal tar emulsion to help protect the asphalt from the elements.
What Asphalt seal coating is NOT
The important thing to remember about asphalt seal coating is that it is a layer of jet black Safe Seal® protection for your asphalt investment from the natural elements. Secondary blacktop sealing gives that cosmetic curb appeal, but is not a structural repair. Sealcoating is not a filler or a leveling material. If your property requires any asphalt patching or hot rubber crack sealing, these must be done first prior to the asphalt seal coating takes place.
How often should I asphalt sealcoat my property?
We do not believe in asphalt sealcoating a surface too often unless it gets a lot of traffic or exposure to the weather. New asphalt should not be sealed sooner than 30 days. What this generally means is that a property should be asphalt seal coated every 2 or 3 years or when it starts to look ‘dry’ or gray. You should NOT go beyond 3 year reseal period if you are trying to achieve a proper asphalt maintenance schedule to extend structural life of the blacktop.
My asphalt driveway has a lot of cracks. Will you crack fill these?
As part of the production process, we will use a hot rubber crack fill to fill ¼" or larger cracks. In general, if the asphalt has extensive 'alligatoring', or spider web cracking, you will still be able to see the random cracks through the asphalt seal coat. Aligatoring cracking or sometimes referred to as spider web cracking which is normally due to a sub base issue caused at the time of new asphalt install. Toxic coal tar sealants sometimes cause this cracking in the surface of asphalt from improper application. These type cracks do not get or should not be crack sealed. Crack sealing these areas will cause a whole new problem with your pavement.
What will the finished product look like?
Seal coating with NON coal tar sealant, it gives your property a uniformly JET black color that many people find very attractive when using Safe Seal® non coal tar sealer. When you examine the surface, however, you will still be able to see areas that have been crack filled or patched due to the different texture or contour of the asphalt. Worn asphalt that has been previously sealcoated has a thicker appearance than new asphalt that is just seal coated the first time.
Do you have any suggestions for making the production process run smoother?
Yes. If you have a lawn sprinkler system, please make sure to cut it off 24 hours in advance sooner if it has been raining. While we will barricade areas that we have asphalt sealcoated, you should advise your lawn service and trash pick-up to stay OFF of the surface for at least two or three days to prevent scuffing. Fertilizing should not be done at least 5 days prior to driveway or parking lot sealing. Heavy dirt and debris should be removed prior to sealing. Any heavy encroached edge sod should be removed several days prior to sealing by owner to allow for drying or the asphalt; we do not dig sod back. However we will properly clean and run edger with special designed wheels giving that edged rich appearance as we feel needed.
When can I drive on my newly asphalt seal coated surface?
Every situation varies due to the weather, but as a rule of thumb you should stay off the drive for at least 2 to 3 days (24-36 hrs) to allow the seal coating time to properly cure so that it doesn't track onto adjoining areas or scuff. Rainy days cause the product even longer to cure.
Are there any adverse effects to applying seal coating too often?
To draw on the painting analogy again, if you asphalt seal coat the drive every year unless the property gets a lot of traffic, the asphalt seal coating will build up. The biggest drawback we find is that the surface begins crack (the sealer) and flake off.
Can you asphalt sealcoat in any type of weather?
No. asphalt seal coating should only be done when the ground temperature is at least 50 degrees and rising. Colder than this and the asphalt seal coating tends not to adhere to the asphalt surface very well. Obviously we do not schedule asphalt seal coating projects when rain is imminent, but if the product is down for 2 or 3 hours before a sudden summer rain shower, the surface has generally set adequately to prevent washing out of the asphalt seal coating.
Are different types of asphalt sealer available?
Yes. The traditional asphalt sealcoat that has been in use since before WWII which is a coal tar-based sealer. This creates a toxic hard, durable film, has a deep, dark color and has increased resistance to petroleum spills. However, Coal Tar has been linked to causing cancer and is very bad for our ecosystem, health, children and animals.
An asphalt-based sealer was developed in the 1980s and is considered to be more environmentally-friendly as it has lower PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) levels. These products do not smell as much and can dry faster. As coal tar and high PAH sealer bans pop up around the country it tells me it is important to seal with Safe Seal® or a true Asphalt Emulsion sealant. Coal tar free American is a great place to research these important hazards. Sealing just isn’t sealing like we would be led to believe.
Asphalt-based sealers have been found to cost the same and have the near same durability as TOXIC coal-tar sealers. Asphalt sealers are blacker, less odor, 1000 times less harmful PAHs.
How is asphalt sealer applied?
Pavement or blacktop sealer can be applied by brush, squeegee, or specialized spray equipment. Equipment shall be capable of spraying sealer with sand added. Safe Seal ® eco-friendly NON coal tar asphalt sealer applied by B & E Coating Services, LLC always has additives and sand added for the best possible sealcoat project. The company will deem whether your driveway should be sprayed or hand applied on. B & E offers self propelled squeegee system of application available for those spec’d and heavily used private road and parking lot projects. Ask about our Iron Road application in these cases.
What are the coverage rates for Safe Seal® eco-friendly asphalt sealer?
Coverage rates will vary due to surface condition. B & E always uses a 7 gallon per minute spray tip for spray method of applying sealcoating material , residential or commercial. Follow the specification sheets for application rates. Apply two coats of sealer to commercial lots. A self propelled squeegee method is also available for sealing of commercial properties as well.
What are the benefits to using additives in blacktop sealer?
Additives will assist in color, hardness, speeding up the dry time and help in overall toughening up the asphalt sealer. Type of additive/additives used is determined by B&E taking in regard what the client is trying to achieve, unless otherwise specified pre job. B & E Coating Services, LLC always uses additives in their seal coat for your asphalt/blacktop’s benefit.
Is sand required for application?
NO, but is recommended clean silica sand should be included in the mix design. Sand provides slip resistance, helps with drying, and adds to the durability of the asphalt seal coating material. Sand can be felt on the sealed surface once the sealant dries, many contractors say they use sand, but do not. B&E always uses sand, unless requested not to use.
Why should I Asphalt Sealcoat my blacktop driveway?
Simple, to make your asphalt investment last 25-30 years. Properly installed asphalt and B&E maintained will last many years.
How often should I seal my Asphalt?
Asphalt should typically be sealed every 2-3 years. However, it depends on the traffic volume of the asphalt. When the asphalt sealcoat begins to break down and the faded asphalt appears, it is time to be sealed again.
Should the asphalt seal coat material be sprayed or brushed?
We have experienced that spraying the blacktop sealer performs a better job that last longer. With spraying you do not experience the unsightly brush marks leaving a more even coat when the asphalt sealer starts to fade. In some circumstances hand applied is a better choice determined by B&E , unless requested by client.
Will the Asphalt Sealer harm my grass?
Absolutely not. Sometimes in the spraying process the edge of the grass will have traces of asphalt seal coat material. After the grass is trimmed or cut it no longer shows any signs of asphalt sealer and it continues to grow. B & E Coating Services, LLC uses Safe Seal® eco-friendly sealer which is safer for you, your children, and your pets health along with the environment.
Will the asphalt Seal coat material get on my building or sidewalk?
All building structures and sidewalks areas are cut in with a broom prior to asphalt sealing. Then skilled sealcoating operators spray the seal coat material away from the structure blending into the hand cut in areas near asphalt /concrete joints.
What should I do if it rains immediately after the Sealcoating application?
B&E watches the weather close, but in the event, It is essential for the homeowner to water down the siding or anywhere that the eves may drip or have run off, with their hose after the rain has stopped. Then call us to come out to spray the affected asphalt again. B&E can’t be responsible for rain or random pop up showers.
Should my asphalt cracks be sealed?
All cracks 1/4 inch or larger should be hot rubber sealed with hot rubber crack sealant. This prevents water from flowing into the crack and settling. When water settles into cracks it causes the base stone to settle as well. This is what causes further cracking in the asphalt. Please note: small surface cracks should not be sealed because there is not a width enough pocket for the viscosity of hot rubber crack sealant material to flow in and the material will diminish rather quickly. Crack filling should be done with a pressurized crafco pumping machine. Be sure to compare apples to apples so that your cracks aren’t just being sealed with the asphalt sealer!
When should my asphalt be replaced instead of sealed?
The rule of thumb is when the cracked area square footage is more than 40% of the total SQ. Footage asphalt surface area. At this point it becomes cost prohibitive to fix the cracks. This money might be better spent towards a new asphalt resurfacing. It is ok to sealcoat your asphalt for curb appeal and to slow the deterioration process.
How many coatings of Asphalt Sealer should be applied?
B & E highly recommend one heavy coat of Safe Seal® NON coal tar asphalt sealer spray applied on residential properties. B&E highly recommend two coats of Safe Seal® NON coal tar asphalt sealer spray applied on commercial properties.
Do all asphalt Seal coating Contractors use the same material?
No. All contractors mix their own materials at the supply house. Some use only asphalt emulsion, while others use only toxic Coal Tar Emulsion since coal tar is only banned in certain areas of Michigan. Be sure and check these banned areas because it carries a 10,000 dollar fine even to the home owner. Many local contractors do not use sand or additive hardeners which enable them to quote jobs at a much lower cost. Another trick of the trade is to excessively water down their asphalt seal coating material. The average property owner or manager will never know the difference during or after the material has been applied prior to the check clearing. Unfortunately, the sealing job will only last several months or 1 year maximum and the contractor is long gone with the money. So beware of the "low ball" pricing scams because in the asphalt sealing business you almost always get what you pay for.
Is there sand in the sealer?
YES. All of our work both residential and commercial will have sand mixed into the sealer. Sand is very important as will give traction and durability to the sealer. Do not seal your driveway without sand!
What time will your crew arrive to seal my driveway?
Typically we ask to have your driveway clear of all cars, boats, equipment etc. by 7am. Our office will contact you the day before and give you a reminder to turn off sprinklers and have the driveway clear of all things. Ours crews usually have multiple driveways on their schedule each day and they try to run a certain route so they are not back tracking all day. Some jobs take longer than other. Our crew will perform the same quality job on your job as the next. Our office will call to let you know if our crew is having any troubles or if weather changes and we need to reschedule.
WE DO NOT SCHEUDLE OUT WEEKS IN ADVANCE. In this business we are at Mother Nature’s mercy. So if it rains we will have to reschedule. Thank you for understanding.
Do I have to be home when the driveway is sealed?
Not at all, as long as all vehicles have been moved, our professional crews will complete the job, rope off your driveway and leave additional information for you. We do ask that the 50% that is due upon completion be left taped to the door. We will leave a bill/receipt in the door as well.
What should I do to prepare for your crew?
We do ask that if you have any heavy debris at the end of your driveway (you live on a dirt road) or have heavy over growth that you remove that prior to sealing so that it is allowed to dry. All we ask is to have the driveway clear before the crew arrives. Our crews are very busy during the day and begin work as soon as they arrive at your home. We will blow and sweep all leaves and debris from the driveway.
Do you guarantee your work?
Absolutely, please see our warranty page.
Do you want your signs back?
Our signs are a key part to keeping people off fresh sealer and our marketing. We proudly display our name on every job we complete. Leaving these signs up helps us grow our company and will show everyone that you chose a quality company to work at your home. Please leave these signs up as long as you like. We certainly appreciate it.
Who will come to seal my driveway?
One of our in house trained and experienced crews will skillfully perform the work at your home or parking lot. If you happen to be at home when they arrive, please take a moment to watch them in action. We think you will be very impressed by their ability.
How do I pay for the driveway sealing?
If you are home you may pay our crew foreman they will have a copy of the invoice for you. If you are not going to be home please leave the remaining amount due in the form of a check or money order. We can’t be held responsible for cash being left on a door.
When is the best time of the year to seal my driveway?
The best time of the year to sealcoat your driveway is during the summer months when the temperatures are above 50 degrees (ground temp) and raising. Typically this ranges from May to the end of October. However, we suggest sealcoating as early as possible to ensure faster drying times and to avoid the cool nights in the late fall as the sealing material may take several days to completely dry and the weather is less predictable. If your project is in highly shaded areas, shoot for dry hot June or July.