Deciding On The Best Type Of Sealer For Your Driveway

If your asphalt driveway is in a state of disrepair, you should invest in a sealant to make the surface of the driveway look new once again. If you'd like to seal the driveway yourself, you will have some different products to choose from. Oil-based and water-based sealers are both quite common. If you think you may have trouble choosing between these types of sealers, then keep reading to learn a little bit about each one.

Oil-Based Sealers

Oil-based or asphalt-based sealers are products that contain dark and oily bitumen materials. This bitumen is the part of the asphalt that binds the sand and aggregate together. In other words, the oily substance acts like a glue to make sure the driveway becomes both smooth and flexible after installation. Unfortunately, the asphalt will release some of its oils through evaporation. Also, heat and UV radiation cause the asphalt to dry out. 

If your driveway appears dry and dull in color, then an oil-based sealer will replenish the bitumen that has been lost over time. The sealer also forms a barrier over the asphalt that helps it resist gas and oil spills. Typically, gasoline and oil cause the asphalt to break down, but the oil-based sealer prevents those materials from seeping deep into the asphalt. However, the sealer will thin out if too much oil is added to it. Spills should always be cleaned up immediately to prevent the sealer from thinning. 

Oil-based sealers do contain some added polymers, and these materials can change the overall appearance of the sealer. In general, the sealer will appear a bit dull or matte after it has cured.

Water-Based Sealers

Water-based sealers do not replenish the asphalt surface. They instead create a barrier that sits on top of the asphalt. This barrier creates a smooth surface that is much more appealing and shiny than an oil-based sealer. This sealer is also quite flexible due to the latex, clay, and polymers that are added to it. The water-based sealer resists gas and oil spills by repelling them off the surface. These contaminants can then be rinsed from the driveway.

Water-based sealers create an ideal surface over an existing asphalt construction. The sealer can handle a great deal of wear. This is why water-based sealers are typically applied over the tops of roads and highways that have high traffic. However, the sealer may not last as long as it should if it is secured over asphalt that is excessively dry. Cracking may occur and cause the formation of alligator or spider cracks in the sealer soon after it is secured. 

If you have an asphalt driveway that you'd like to look new again, then consider placing a sealer over it. Make sure to consider your options carefully when deciding whether an oil or water-based material is best for your needs. If you'd like more information on sealants or other asphalt repair strategies, contact Pavement Maintenance Solutions Inc.