If your asphalt parking lot looks like it's seen better days, then you're probably thinking about rejuvenating it with a fresh coat. Sealcoating not only helps restore your parking surfaces to a like-new finish, but it also creates a protective barrier against water and other elements that could create cracks and corrosion. But with the winter season in full swing, you might not be sure whether you should have any sealcoating done now or if you should wait for warmer weather.
Early Winter Sealcoating May Offer Discounts
A couple of good reasons why some property owners and managers go ahead with early-winter sealcoating come down to lower rates and better scheduling for contractors. While most sealcoating companies are typically booked solid for last-minute work during the late-fall, demand for asphalt sealcoating usually falls off by early-winter.
To drum up business, some contractors may offer discounts on their usual rates. If you're budget-minded when it comes to parking lot maintenance, then the early weeks of winter may be your best bet to have sealcoating done at a significantly reduced cost.
Your Results May Vary
In spite of the potential discounts, there are a few drawbacks to having a sealcoat applied during the winter months. For instance, most sealcoats are water-based, with some formulations containing as much as 70 percent water by volume. The curing process releases this moisture starting at the topmost layer of the sealcoat. For this reason, outdoor ground and air temperatures must be above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the curing process to work properly. A sudden drop in temperatures or unexpected snowfall could freeze trapped moisture and subsequently ruin the newly-applied sealcoat.
The curing process also relies on exposure to UV radiation. With the sun set low to the horizon during the winter months, it's possible for some areas of your parking lot to not receive enough sunlight to facilitate the curing process. This often results in slower curing times, which could affect the overall appearance and performance of your parking lot.
There's also what could happen after the sealcoat cures. In areas with moderate to heavy snowfall and ice buildup, snow plows and de-icing chemicals can cause long-term damage to sealcoat that's already not as robust as it should be. If you're going to have your asphalt parking lot sealcoated during the early winter, it's important to keep these concerns in mind.
Consider the Alternatives
Instead of figuring out how to have your sealcoating done during the dead of winter, you may be better off waiting until spring rolls around. Not only will warmer spring temperatures offer a better environment for applying and curing coats, but you won't have to worry about the effects of snow removal on your freshly-sealed surfaces. In areas with heavy snowfall, you might want to wait for a complete thaw or snowmelt before having your pavement sealcoated.
You could also plan to have your sealcoating done during the fall months while temperatures are still warm enough. According to Eric Humphries, October and November are usually prime months for sealcoating jobs. By planning your sealcoating job during these months, you'll have enough time to protect and rejuvenate your parking lot before the brunt of winter weather sets in.
Keep in mind that in areas of the U.S. with relatively warm temperatures year-round, you won't have to worry about the effects that winter weather could have on your fresh sealcoat. These areas include extreme southern portions of the southeast and southwest U.S. As long as average temperatures remain well above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you can have your sealcoating done during the winter with few, if any, problems.
For more information and professional assistance, talk with concrete contractors and visit local business websites like http://armourpavement.com.
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