Welcome to the future of driveway maintenance! In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the materials used for sealing and protecting driveways. Traditional oil-based driveway sealer is becoming a thing of the past, and for good reason. Enter emulsion sealer—the new standard in driveway care, especially right here in South Carolina.

In this blog, we’ll delve into why oil-based products are falling out of favor and how emulsion sealers are not only meeting but exceeding expectations. We’ll explore the environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness, and superior performance that emulsion sealers offer.

More than 40 institutions have determined the same thing: high PAH products are unsafe to humans and the environment.

It’s time to find out why more homeowners and contractors are making the switch and how this trend is setting a new standard in the industry.

Top 10 Reasons Oil-Based Driveway Sealers Are Out

1- Environmental Concerns

Oil-based sealers, often packed with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are not friendly to the environment. These harmful chemicals can leach into your garden and even enter water systems.

On the other hand, water-based emulsion products lack these hazardous ingredients, making them a safer choice for both you and the planet.

One good example of this type of unique formula is Pitch Black® Emulsion Sealer. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, and the perfect eco-friendly alternative to coal tar.

Pitch Black® = No Solvents. No Petroleum Distillates (i.e. Kerosene, Gasoline, Diesel). Lab tests prove that Pitch Black® has 0.00% PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). But don’t take just their word for it, check out the official USGS lab test results on CoalTarFreeUSA.com.

2- Health and Safety Risks

Handling oil-based products such as solvent-based sealers can be risky. A solvent-based sealer emits strong fumes that can cause headaches, dizziness, and other health issues.

“Coal tar–based sealers contain an average concentration of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) about 1,300 times greater than that found in asphalt-based sealers, and in 2003 coal tar–based sealers became a suspect contributor to the elevated concentrations of PAHs in metropolitan areas.6 PAHs are known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive problems, birth defects, genetic mutations, and damage to the liver, blood, skin, and immune system, although data for both people and animals are limited.” (1)

Asphalt emulsion sealers made without PAHs, however, are much less volatile. They offer a headache-free application process without sacrificing the integrity of your driveway.

3- Durability in Various Weather Conditions

You might think that coal-tar or oil-based products offer the best asphalt protection against the elements, but that’s not necessarily the case.

A water-based asphalt sealer formulated with asphalt binders adapts better to changing temperatures and resists cracking, ensuring your driveway stays in good shape longer. That’s because new asphalt binders strengthen refined bitumen.

4- Faster Drying Times

If you’ve ever waited around for an oil-based sealer to dry, you know it can take a while.

Emulsion sealers, on the other hand, dry much quicker. This means less downtime for your driveway and more convenience for you.

5- Easier Cleanup

Emulsion sealers make post-application cleanup easy. Unlike oil-based products that require mineral spirits for cleaning, water-based sealers only need soap and water.

This means you can wrap up your project faster and with less fuss.

6- Improved Aesthetics

Asphalt emulsion sealers help maintain the natural look of your driveway, leaving the asphalt a more natural color and less smelly than oil-based options.

This can keep your home’s curb appeal looking fresh and clean, reflecting better on the overall aesthetics of your property.

7- Better for Older Asphalt

Emulsion-based products are less harsh on surfaces, making them ideal for older, more delicate asphalt that might suffer from applying a harsher coal-tar oil-based product.

These more natural bitumen sealers can extend the life of aging pavements without causing further damage.

8- Reduced Surface Wear

Oil-based products can sometimes soften the asphalt, leading to more wear and tear.

Water-based emulsion sealers, however, help bind the particles in the asphalt together without softening, leading to a harder, stronger surface that can handle more traffic and last longer.

9- Compliance with Regulations

Many localities are moving away from allowing oil-based sealers due to their environmental and health impacts.

Emulsion-based products often meet these stricter regulations, so you won’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law when choosing to seal or reseal your driveway.

10- Cost-Effectiveness of Asphalt Emulsion Sealers

Initially, oil-based products might seem cheaper, but when you factor in their maintenance and the potential for earlier replacement of the driveway due to damage, emulsion sealers often come out as the more cost-effective option over time.

Choosing the right sealer for your driveway doesn’t just come down to cost—it’s about taking into consideration the longevity, safety, environmental impact, and overall effectiveness of the product. With so many compelling reasons to switch, it’s clear why the trend is moving away from oil-based driveway sealers and towards more sustainable and friendly alternatives like asphalt emulsion.

So next time you’re considering a sealer, remember that the type you choose can significantly impact not only your driveway’s health but also its appearance and your overall satisfaction.

Why Emulsion Sealers Are A Better Option

Environmentally Friendly and Safer

When it comes to sealing your driveway or parking lot, choosing the right sealer can make all the difference. Emulsion sealers, unlike their oil-based counterparts, do not contain solvents or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known to be harmful to the environment and human health.

We care about your safety and the planet, so we recommend water-based sealers. They are free from the noxious fumes associated with solvent-based sealers and contribute to a healthier application environment.

Enhanced Performance with Modern Technology

One of the biggest benefits of asphalt emulsion sealers is their advanced formulation. These products are specially formulated with refined bitumen, mixed with emulsifying agents and water, creating a protective barrier that is more flexible and adheres better to the asphalt surface.

This flexibility helps the sealer absorb traffic and thermal movements better, reducing the risk of cracks.

Durability in Diverse Weather Conditions

Weather can be harsh on asphalt surfaces. Water-based emulsion sealers are engineered to withstand extreme weather conditions from the scorching summer sun to freezing winter temperatures.

They provide a shield against UV rays, which can cause oxidized layers in older asphalt to deteriorate faster. This durability ensures your asphalt stays in good shape longer, maintaining its integrity and curb appeal.

Cost-Effective Maintenance

Maintaining asphalt with emulsion-based sealers can be significantly more cost-effective over time. These sealers penetrate the top layers of asphalt more effectively, rejuvenating old asphalt binder and extending the pavement’s life.

This penetration ability helps prevent the formation of cracks and potholes, reducing the need for frequent repairs and saving you money in the long run.

Quick and Easy Application

The water-based nature of emulsion sealers means they are easier to mix, apply, and clean up. Unlike oil-based products that require specific conditions for optimal application, emulsion sealers can be applied under a wider range of temperatures and humidity levels.

Plus, cleanup is a breeze with just soap and water, avoiding the need for harsh chemical cleaners like mineral spirits.

Aesthetic Appeal

If you’re aiming for a refreshed look without altering the natural appearance of your pavement, emulsion sealers are the way to go.

They provide a clean, matte finish that enhances the asphalt’s natural color and texture without the excessive shine that oil-based sealers might produce. Your driveway or parking lot will not only be protected but also more visually appealing.

Choosing an asphalt emulsion sealer means opting for a product that aligns with modern environmental standards while providing a durable, aesthetically pleasing, and cost-effective solution for maintaining asphalt surfaces.

We understand the importance of using products that not only protect your investment but also contribute positively to the environment and your well-being.

We can help you make the best choice for your asphalt needs.

AMP Paving Can Help

At AMP Paving, we understand that your driveway or parking lot is a significant investment and the first thing people notice when they visit your property.

That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier asphalt paving and sealcoating services that not only protect your investment but also enhance its appearance and longevity.

Quality and Durability Guaranteed

Our experienced team uses only the best materials and the latest techniques in the industry. Whether you’re looking for repair services or a new installation, we ensure every project meets our high standards of quality and durability.

We handle everything from small repairs to new parking lot constructions with the same level of precision and expertise.

Eco-Friendly Asphalt Sealer

We’re proud to offer an eco-friendly sealcoating option, Pitch Black® emulsion sealer, which is not only safer for the environment but also provides superior protection against UV rays, water, and vehicle oils.

This innovative product helps maintain the asphalt’s flexibility, reducing the likelihood of cracks and damage over time.

Tailored Solutions

Every surface is different, and so are your needs. That’s why we offer customized solutions tailored to your pavement’s unique requirements.

From maximizing longevity with regular maintenance plans to improving curb appeal with a fresh sealcoat, our goal is to deliver solutions that not only meet but exceed your expectations.

Free Consultation and Quote

Understanding your needs and budget is our priority. Contact us today at (803) 237-4563 or through our website for a free, no-obligation quote. Our friendly team is ready to answer any questions you have and provide you with the best options for your asphalt paving needs.

With AMP Paving, you can trust that your asphalt surfaces are in good hands. We look forward to helping you achieve a durable, attractive, and long-lasting asphalt surface that reflects the quality and care you expect.

Let’s get started on protecting and enhancing your property today!


1: Weinhold, B. (2012). Studies Raise Questions about Pavement Sealers. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120(5), a192. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.120-a192a