It never fails that every October we see a similar scenario play out. There is “use it or lose it” money budgeted for pavement maintenance that must be used in order to continue to receive future funds for pavement maintenance. Invariably, the pavement in question needs to be sealcoated, and a proactive decision is made to hire us here at ARM Pavement Services to perform a fall sealcoating.
Is Cool Weather Sealcoating A Bad Idea?
The fact of the matter is that a sealcoat done in October will not last as long as a sealcoat done earlier in the season. Warm ground temperatures and good positioning of the sun are essential for a quality sealcoat job. Sealcoat needs to be able to cure properly, and while we get a few hours of nice temps in the 70’s and 80’s on some days this time of year, it is just not enough. Once the temperature cools down at night, the curing process is put on hold, and the result is a sub-par sealcoat. Even though the sealcoating eventually dries, it doesn’t cure properly.
Sealcoat material contains water. When sealcoat is applied during the summer months, it cures quickly. The water gets sucked out, and the result is a dense and durable protective layer. The length of time it takes to cure is directly linked to the ground temperature and the angle of the sunlight. In October many sections of the parking lot don’t receive much sunlight and the pavement temperature never gets warm enough to properly cure the sealcoat.
When the sealer dries and cures too slowly, the water does not get adequately drawn out and the resulting sealant layer is less dense and subsequently less durable. In this scenario, much of the sealcoat actually wears off before it gets a chance to properly cure. Generally speaking, you’d get significantly better results waiting until April to sealcoat. In April you still have the entire warm season ahead of you and even cool temperatures cause slow curing, the warmer days will arrive to complete the curing process. In October it would be unusual to get one coat completely dry and very unlikely to get two coats applied in a single day. This also causes scheduling issues for the crews applying the striping and also the customers. The bottom line is that sealcoating in October is not going to get you the best value for your sealcoating dollar.
Now that we’ve addressed all of that, October is traditionally one of our biggest months for sealcoating. This seems to mostly be due to a desire to spend the available budget to maintain it without any consideration for getting the best possible value. Here at ARM Pavement Services, we can help. Contact us today.