A chip seal is an asphalt maintenance process that extends the life of blacktop, helping to fill in small holes and other minor surface damage. Chip sealing also creates a smooth and vibrant surface, restoring the appearance of asphalt and creating a dark background needed for new parking lines and markings.
A chip seal starts with a spray of hot liquid asphalt, followed by the addition of aggregates. These materials are then pressed and rolled so that they dry and harden, creating a fresh, thin layer of asphalt over the existing pavement.
While not meant to fill in deep potholes or severe cracks, a chip seal is an excellent option for repairing minor damage to an asphalt driveway or roadway. This process also adds a protective barrier over your property’s pavement, extending its expected lifespan. The fresh color of a chip sealant provides a crisp background for new parking stripes and other such lines, as said, ensuring those markings are clearly visible while also reducing glare for drivers.
If you have an asphalt driveway or commercial parking lot, it’s vital that you understand all your options for keeping that pavement maintained and in good repair. To ensure your property’s asphalt is always in good condition, note some information about a chip seal and then discuss this process with an asphalt paving contractor as needed, so your pavement is always safe and looking its best!
First note some vital differences between a chip seal and fresh asphalt, so you know why a chip sealing is a good option for protecting the asphalt in place, as opposed to removing that asphalt or adding new layers over the old:
Because a chip sealing is applied in layers and not mixed offsite, this process is often much more affordable than adding a new layer of asphalt.
Note the purpose of a chip sealing for your asphalt pavement:
A tar and chip driveway is installed in the same manner as a chip sealant, starting with liquid asphalt followed by a layer of aggregate. However, a chip seal is applied over a layer of asphalt and acts as a sealant or barrier for that paving material. A tar and chip driveway is installed over a layer of gravel or aggregate or a prepared and leveled surface.
A tar and chip driveway is more durable than a loose gravel driveway but more affordable than asphalt or concrete. The visible aggregate of a tar and chip driveway also provides a very attractive, somewhat rustic appearance, as well as lots of added traction against snow, ice, and rainwater!
The aggregate used for a tar and chip driveway is also available in various colors, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to create a personalized look for your property versus standard concrete or plain asphalt. The materials lasts some 7 to 10 years before it begins to break down and a new layer of chip sealing is required.
Fog sealing is the application of a thin liquid oil or emulsion over asphalt. This application gets its name from how the liquid is sprayed over the pavement, as it resembles a fog or mist when applied. As the fog seal dries, the asphalt appears as if it’s been painted.
A fog seal is an excellent choice for restoring the appearance of asphalt and adding a layer of protection between the pavement and damaging elements. A fog seal also provides a fresh appearance for asphalt, especially useful for when your pavement needs new markings and lines or is extremely faded due to age and everyday wear and tear.
While it offers many advantages for your property’s asphalt, note that a fog seal is not quite as effective as a chip sealant for needed asphalt repairs. A fog seal doesn’t fill in chips, cracks, and potholes as does a chip seal. A fog seal might be considered preventative asphalt maintenance but doesn’t provide the same asphalt repair as a chip seal. Be sure you understand these differences when considering the best way to repair and maintain asphalt on your property.
A chip seal is very durable and typically lasts some 7 to 10 years, but note that the installation process and everyday wear and tear affect its longevity to a great extent. To ensure your new chip sealant is strong and durable and lasts as long as possible, note some vital information about the installation process and some tips on caring for this material over the years:
While chip sealing is not appropriate for all asphalt driveways and parking lots, it does offer many advantages for property owners:
There are many other advantages to a chip sealant as well as fog sealing for your property. If you’re curious as to what is a chip sealant and if it’s right for your driveway or parking lot, talk to an asphalt paving contractor about your choices for asphalt maintenance and repair.