Key Takeaways –
- Coal tar has been a popular surface crack sealing choice for property owners.
- However, contractors and property owners are shifting to asphalt emulsion sealers for various economic and environmental reasons.
- Asphalt emulsion is better for the environment and adds a natural shine to the pavement.
- However, you must consider a few crucial factors before opting for an asphalt emulsion sealer.
- Occasionally, pavement damage goes beyond what an emulsion sealer can handle.
- Regardless, you need an experienced professional, like Scorpion Construction LLC, to handle pavement maintenance.
Coal tar sealer has been the go-to choice for paving and seal coating projects for years. It’s used on everything from driveways to parking lots and is known for its durability and weather resistance. However, in recent years, there’s been a growing movement to switch from coal tar to asphalt emulsion sealer. This blog post lists a few reasons for the shift and explains why asphalt emulsion sealer is not a bad idea either.
Before presenting the case for asphalt emulsion, let’s discuss why coal tar’s dwindling in popularity.
The Coal Tar Debate
Coal tar has been the go-to choice for pavement seal coating for years. It’s a durable product that protects asphalt from weather and typical deterioration. But lately, coal tar has been falling out of favor. Here’s a look at why this once-popular product is losing ground.
Political and Economic Reasons
The coal tar supply fluctuates owing to the shortage of raw materials necessary to make the product. The components and raw materials required to make coal tar are imported from overseas. Russia is one of the top suppliers of the raw materials necessary to produce coal tar. The economic embargoes imposed on the country due to the war in Ukraine mean the raw material is unavailable.
Coal Tar Poses Environmental and Health Hazards
Coal tar also threatens the environment and people’s health. It contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs, and these compounds are renowned for causing certain cancers. PAHs are also toxic for fish and wildlife, so many contractors are hesitant to use the material.
The Many Benefits of Asphalt Emulsion
Here’s why asphalt emulsion is all the rage
Raw Materials Are Available Locally
If you’re looking for a green option for pavement maintenance, look no further than asphalt emulsion! Asphalt is a naturally occurring substance, so you won’t have to worry about shipping it in from halfway around the world. That’s good news for the environment AND your bottom line!
Better for the Environment
As we mentioned before, asphalt is a natural substance. And what’s more natural than not filling landfills with toxic coal tar? Coal tar is full of chemicals that are bad for the environment, so by choosing asphalt emulsion, you’re doing your part to help keep our planet clean.
Not as Toxic as Coal Tar Sealer
Coal tar is also harmful to people. It can cause skin irritation and even cancer. So, if you’re looking for a pavement maintenance option that won’t risk your family’s health, an asphalt emulsion is the way to go.
Asphalt Emulsion Finish is Darker Than Coal Tar Sealer
If you’re looking for a pavement maintenance option that will make your property look its best, Asphalt emulsion is also the way to go. Coal tar sealer dries light brown, while Asphalt emulsion dries black. That means your asphalt will have a darker color, making it look new again. Plus, it will be easier to see in the dark when coming home late at night!
The Cons of Using Asphalt Emulsion
- It needs frequent application. If you want your asphalt emulsion to last, you must reapply it every couple of years. And we all know that annual maintenance can be a pain (and a wallet drainer).
- You can only maximize results from asphalt emulsion when applying it at temperatures above 55°F. That means that if you live in a climate where the temperatures dip below freezing in the winter, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to wait until springtime to get those perfect results.
A Few Things to Consider Before Switching to Asphalt Emulsion from Coal Tar
Here’s a quick rundown of what to consider before making the switch.
- You need to spray asphalt emulsion cautiously – Coal tar can be forgiving regarding dilution; however, you need to be precise with asphalt emulsion. That being said, it is possible to thin out asphalt emulsion by adding kerosene; however, this will affect the solids content and performance of the product.
- You can enhance asphalt emulsion curing and drying time with the help of additives. Adding things like limestone dust or hydrated lime can speed up the process. However, too much of either can result in a weak seal.
- Temperature and conditions play a significant role in how well asphalt emulsions perform. In cold weather, for example, it’s essential to use a slower-setting emulsion so that it doesn’t freeze before it has a chance to cure.
- The pavement itself must be taken into account when choosing an asphalt emulsion. A more durable sealant is necessary if the pavement is old and worn. Conversely, if the pavement is new or in good condition, you can use a less durable sealant.
Pavement Damage That Needs Repair Beyond Asphalt Emulsion Sealer
Asphalt emulsion sealer protects the pavement from the elements and prevents further damage. However, it can only do so much. Certain types of damage require more than a simple sealant. Here are some examples:
Alligator Cracking – This type of cracking is characterized by interconnected cracks resembling an alligator’s hide. Alligator cracking is caused by excessive pavement stress, such as heavy traffic or inadequate drainage. Once alligator cracking starts, it will worsen until pavement replacement.
Potholes – A pothole is a depression in the pavement that forms when water seeps into the pavement and then freezes, causing the pavement to crack and break away. Potholes can range in size from a few inches to several feet across, and they can be treacherous for drivers, damaging tires and even causing accidents. You should repair potholes as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Edge Cracks – Edge cracks form along the edges of pavements, where the pavement meets curbs or other objects. They are caused by poor drainage or settlement (foundation movement). Edge cracks can eventually lead to alligator cracking or potholes if they are not repaired.
Now that you know the many benefits of using asphalt emulsion sealer and a few tips on making the switch from coal tar, it’s time to call Scorpion Construction LLC in St. Petersburg, FL, for your free estimate. Our expert team is ready and waiting to help you take your property’s appearance to the next level without breaking the bank. So, what are you waiting for? Get your free estimate today!