If you’re looking for a way to breathe new life into your asphalt surfaces, you may have come across a slurry seal as an option. This product has been used for years as a way to protect and extend the life of asphalt surfaces. However, there are some drawbacks to using slurry seal. Learn what slurry seal is and when resurfacing or sealcoating might work best for your pavement surface.

What Are Slurry Seals?

Slurry seals are a type of pavement treatment made up of a special blend of emulsified asphalt, water, and aggregate (sand and stones). City officials often apply this coating to do the following:

  • Fill in road cracks
  • Lock in existing surface components
  • Protect the asphalt from further damage caused by weathering and oxidation

However, a slurry seal is not the usual treatment for parking lots or driveways. Because of the large size of the aggregate stones in this mixture, it will not look like the smooth blacktop you desire.

What is an Asphalt Emulsion?

Asphalt emulsion is a mixture of asphalt cement and water that contains a small amount of an emulsifying agent.

A fog seal or seal coat is a type of asphalt emulsion. However, it is a light application of liquid asphalt without heavy mineral aggregate. (Aggregate is the stone and sand part of the mix)

A seal coat is a light and environmentally friendly product that can prolong the life of tired-looking pavement with minor cracking. It can bring back the dark blacktop look of a faded asphalt surface and also protect your pavement from future cracks and damage from water, hot sun, and other environmental factors.

Problems with a Slurry Seal

According to a letter to the editor in the Kirkland Reporter, slurry seal can create more problems than it fixes.

“Three summers ago, the City of Kirkland notified residents that they would be applying slurry seal on our street, instead of a layer of new asphalt. Our street had not been overlayed in over 25 years. The surface of our street had cracks, dozens of cuts from previous construction and it was due for new asphalt.

Instead, the city sent out staff to seal hundreds of cracks… Ironically, less than two years after the initial application, we have large cracks and fissures up and down the street.” (1)

The problem with using a slurry seal comes when the cracks are deep, and asphalt needs resurfacing. With roads that have deep fissures, sealing cracks and adding slurry can’t fix the problem.

Instead, the city could have hired an experienced and qualified contractor. They could have resurfaced the asphalt by removing the top layer and then repaving with hot mix asphalt.

Slurry is a cold mix product that simply does not work for deep structural damage. Slurry seal application can’t seal and protect badly damaged asphalt, even when technicians fill deep cracks first.

Choosing the Best Treatment for Your Pavement

For parking lots and driveways, you’ll want to talk with an experienced contractor about the best treatment for your asphalt surface.

It’s crucial to choose products with the best binder for your climate. The binder in asphalt is what holds together the other ingredients. Asphalt companies rate asphalt based on the performance of its binder at different temperatures.

Some of the factors a professional contractor will consider include:

  • The condition of your existing pavement: Do you have deep fissures that can’t be corrected with crack sealing and a seal coat?
  • Weather conditions in your climate zone: Professionals can choose the best emulsion mix for your climate.
  • Traffic loading considerations: Whether you have heavy trucks, a broad range of traffic, or low-traffic areas is part of determining your solutions.
  • Whether you are looking for a mix to repair minor cracks, providing color and smooth surface, or you need extensive repairs.
  • The texture you’re looking for: Considering the aggregate portion of the asphalt mix is crucial to determine whether the pavement is coarse or smooth.

For a simple spruce-up, consider a seal coat as a maintenance preventive. A seal coat can prevent the cracks that result in needing extensive repairs. Choosing the correct seal coat, repair, crack sealing, or resurfacing treatment for your blacktop is best left to the professionals for an outcome that will last decades!

Our Experienced Asphalt Paving Technicians Can Help

Let us help bring life back into your asphalt and give it a much-needed refresh. If you are searching for an experienced commercial contractor to rejuvenate your parking lot, then look no further. At AMP Paving, we specialize in sealcoating projects of any size!

Prepare for the hot summer sun and drenching rains by protecting your pavement surface. Sealcoating maintenance works best in the spring and fall.

At AMP Paving, we are proud to use a product that is both innovative and environmentally friendly. Pitch Black Asphalt Emulsion Sealer gets the job done no matter the size of your project!

Give us a call today for a free quote at 803-237-4563. Or contact us online and get started with your asphalt project!