Asphalt sealers are a must-have product for homeowners or businesses with driveways, parking lots and walking paths. If you want to roll up your sleeves for a driveway DIY project, consider several types of driveway sealers on the market. Sealants come in several varieties, Here are four common pavement sealers, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Differences Between Types of Asphalt Sealers
Coal Tar Sealers
Coal tar is a byproduct of coal processing. Tar pitch resists deterioration and has been widely used for many years in pavement sealers. It has a smooth consistency and can be applied in humid environments. However, it is a carcinogen and contains high levels of dangerous chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs.
PAHs may be linked to developmental problems, skin irritation and cancer. In addition to the danger posed to humans, coal tar driveway sealers can also harm the environment when particles enter the surrounding waterways through erosion and rain runoff. If you opt for coal tar sealant, check your state’s laws and regulations—some states have banned the mixture.
Asphalt-based sealant is an environmentally friendly alternative to coal tar sealant. It emits lower levels of PAHs, so it’s safer for humans and the environment. Polymers are added to asphalt-based sealers for durability, adhesion and application. They’re also designed to have the same black finish as coal tar sealers, so your driveway will retain its sleek appearance.
Unlike coal tar, an asphalt driveway sealer such as INTEGRA-SEAL® asphalt sealer, is low odor. It’s safer to breathe and smell. It can be used straight from the container or extended with water and sand for even greater coverage. Typically, asphalt-based sealers last several years when maintained correctly. Asphalt emulsion sealers are a cost-effective and environmentally conscious choice.
While coal tar sealants and asphalt-based sealants are water-based, some pavement sealers are oil-based. They combine asphalt rejuvenators with petroleum. When you apply an oil-based product, it penetrates the surface and forms a flexible bond, or shield, against extreme weather. This shield decreases the likelihood of cracks that can lead to larger, more widespread problems.
However, oil-based sealants are less and less common. They aren’t as safe as asphalt driveway sealers because they are high in VOCs and harmful for the environment. Oil-based sealers also have a strong odor and long cure time—and can sometimes take up to a week to properly cure.
Acrylic sealers are often used on outdoor tennis and basketball courts. They are UV resistant and can be shaded in a variety of colors—from black, red and green to clear. While acrylic pavement sealer is durable, especially in harsh weather and extreme use, it is more expensive than an asphalt or coal tar sealant.
At UNIQUE Paving Materials, we recommend INTEGRA-SEAL® asphalt sealer because it is long-lasting and safe for the environment.