Asphalt Sealcoating: Spraying vs. Brushing

     It is a common question among home owners and property managers alike: “Should my asphalt sealing company spay or brush the sealing material ?” This informative collection of information will answer this age old question.

Asphalt sealcoating can be performed in a variety of ways. Some companies brush, some squeegee and others spray the material. Most of the companies stand behind their chosen method and can attempt to build a case as to why their asphalt sealing method is the best. The following information will add factual clarity to the on-going debate.

The vast majority of sealcoating companies use the brushing method. You see their ads that tout “hand brushed” or “we never spray”. These companies inform the customer that brushing the sealcoat is the only way to seal asphalt. The fact that the asphalt is covered with a thicker application of sealer is the main reason that supports their claim.

They are 100% correct in their claim that more sealcoat material is used. However, applying sealcoating material thicker is almost never better. A thicker asphalt sealing application has a hard time curing correctly. This extended curing time leads to the degradation of the sealer, which in turn, drastically reduces the expected life cycle of the sealcoating job.

Another drawback from brushing the asphalt sealcoat material is the fact that the natural porous state of the pavement is compromised. A thicker application will fill in the natural grooves of the pavement, which leads to a “slick” and “slippery” surface after the sealcoating application is completed. If a contractor uses sand, this helps to restore the traction that is compromised. Unfortunately, the vast majority of brushing contractors do not ever attempt to put sand into their material. You might ask: “Why doesn’t every asphalt sealing contractor place sand into their sealcoating material ?”

The answer to that question will give you a little insight to the typical brushing contractor. The number one reason most brushing contractors do not add sand to their sealcoat material is that they do not own the proper equipment. They know that it is the right thing to do, but they refuse to purchase the proper sealcoating equipment that will keep the sand suspended into the sealcoat material. To compensate for the inability to do the right thing, which is to use sand, they will tell the consumer that sand is not needed. If you hear this claim, just know that you are dealing with either a not so honest (lying) contractor or an uneducated contractor. Remember, any person with a bucket of asphalt sealer and brush can enter the business. So buyer beware of the “fly by night” contractors misrepresenting themselves as professional asphalt maintenance contractors.

Sorry for delving off onto a tangent, back to another reason brushing is inferior to spray asphalt sealcoating material. When a brush job starts to fade, the asphalt is left with very unsightly brush marks. Also the asphalt takes on a checkered look. This checkered appearance is the direct result of the way that the sealer is applied. The brushing contractor applies the asphalt sealer with side to side sweeps from one edge to the other. The results are the same as the appearance of a lawn that was just mowed. Although the same grass was cut, it takes on a checkered appearance because the grass was cut into separate directions. The next time you drive through your neighborhood take notice to the driveways or parking lots that were sealed with a brush. You will see the checkered pattern brush mark appearance.

Another factor to consider is too much sealer on your asphalt will lead to surface cracks. Don’t ever have your asphalt sealed more than every 3 years. Many brushing contractors will attempt to have you seal every year or every two years. This practice is not in your best interest, it only helps the asphalt sealcoating contractor.

The only reason anyone should have their asphalt seal coated by a brush is if their asphalt has a lot of surface cracks. By brushing the sealcoat material into the cracks, it will perform a better job at hiding the small surface cracks (spider cracks). Usually these spider cracks are a direct result from brushing the asphalt sealer to begin with. Let me distinguish at this point the difference between a spider crack and a regular crack.

A spider crack is a crack that is less than 1/8″ in width and a regular crack is 1/8″ or wider. Never try to fill your regular cracks with asphalt sealcoating material. Instead, these cracks should be treated with a rubberized crack sealing material. Which leads to another point, beware of the contractor that does not provide asphalt crack sealing as one of their asphalt maintenance services. Crack sealing is imperative to a quality asphalt maintenance service, as it prevents water from penetrating to under the surface of the asphalt. This water penetration is what leads to the deterioration of the asphalt.

Now that many reasons have been discussed about why not to brush asphalt sealcoating material, let’s take a look at spraying sealer. The following attributes are why we recommend that asphalt be sealed by the spraying method:

1. Spray jobs last longer. Period!!!!
2. Spray jobs apply the sealer evenly which helps with proper curing.
3. No unsightly brush marks.
4. Does not reduce the traction of the asphalt.
5. It is the method used by the reputable contractors.

One of the main concerns that I hear from customers is that they fear that the spray method will get asphalt sealer on their property. This is a well founded concern, as we always say “the sealer goes on faster than it comes off.” With this being said, the asphalt contractor must be very careful to “cut in” the areas that are adjacent to any surface that should be avoided. Just Seal It LLC will only use a brush for the “cut in” process. Then we spray away from any structure into the “cut in” area. This method ensures that the sealer is applied where it is supposed to be, “THE ASPHALT.”

If after reading this article and you are still not convinced that spraying is not superior to brushing, we would be glad to come out to brush your asphalt any way. Our company does have experience with brushing sealer, but we do not recommend it. Putting all of the technicalities aside, being an experienced reputable asphalt sealcoating contractor, I have seen spray jobs last years longer than brush jobs.

All we ask is that you gather all of the facts and form an opinion based on experience and facts rather than becoming a victim of the “we never spray” propaganda that is being spread by less than reputable brushing contractors that aren’t willing to invest the money on spraying equipment. If you should have any questions regarding asphalt sealcoating or other asphalt related questions, please contact us at 717-855-7775

     Just Seal It LLC is the recognized Asphalt Sealcoating and Pavement Marking leader in the York, PA. – Harrisburg, PA. – Lancaster, PA. –  Baltimore, MD. to Washington D.C. areas. Our great attention to detail combined with our commitment to superior customer service assures that your asphalt will be sealed correctly. For a free quote click here or give us a call @ 717-855-7775.

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