Asphalt pavement is an economical way to cover a parking lot, but it is not the most durable covering. The problem with asphalt is that the surface it creates will be uneven. The little divots between the bits of gravel can hold water. When the water in these divots freezes, it expands and pushes the bits of gravel apart. When this happens, it can create cracks. Then more and more water can seep into the cracks and push the bits of gravel further and further apart.
As these cracks form, they can destroy the gravel, leading to the need to replace the gravel. If you want to give new life to a parking lot paving that is full of cracks, you can give it a sealcoating.
Advantages of a Seal-coat
A seal coat is a layer of asphalt that you paint right onto the top of your pavement. This layer of asphalt will protect the asphalt from further damage by repelling water before it can work its way down into the pavement. The asphalt will also protect the pavement from UV damage. If you don't take steps to fix damage in pavement and to prevent further damage, you will end up replacing your pavement, which is a much larger expense than simply repairing your pavement with a seal coat.
How to Prepare for Seal Coating
Before you can lay down a layer of seal coat, you need to make sure that the asphalt is ready. For one thing, you need to make sure that you have filled all of the holes in your parking lot. For small cracks, you can use a rubberized crack-filling compound. The rubber here is key because it will flex, allowing for the asphalt to expand and contract. If the crack compound doesn't flex, it can fail as the asphalt expands and contracts.
For larger holes, you will have to fill the holes with asphalt filling compound. You will have to scrape out loose material before you put the compound into the hole. You will also need to tamp down the asphalt filling compound to make a solid patch.
While you can do much of the preparation for a sealcoat on your own, you should definitely hire a paving company to apply the sealcoat to save time and labor and to make sure that the job is done right. With a good sealcoat in place, you should be able to get several more years of wear out of your parking lot, and because sealcoating is cheaper than the replacing your asphalt, you will save money by going with the sealcoat.