Chip Seal, Slurry Seal, Seal Coating! What’s the Difference?

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Welcome back to another entry here at the Sunrise Asphalt blog! Last time we took a look at seven useful asphalt maintenance tips to keep your driveway looking brand new! This time we wanted to educate on a few of our services that may sound similar but are unique processes for unique goals. These three ‘seals,’ are they all the same? Different tactics for the same product? Let’s talk about chip seal, slurry seal, and seal coating! 

 

Chip Seal

Chip Seal has been used for over a hundred years. It is a process applied to your driveway or parking lot in which oil and pea gravel are placed separately. Oil is applied first to the base and heated by a distributor truck. Then the gravel is applied using a spreader box. Once the oil is completely covered with gravel, a roller is then used to compact the pea gravel into the hot oil.

Chip seal is an alternative to asphalt. Chip seal is a natural gray color and stays cooler in the desert heat. It also has the potential for customization, able to be personalized with colored stone. Chip seal is oftentimes less costly than paving and does not require maintenance like seal coating every few years. Chip seal typically lasts between 5-8 years depending on the slope and number of layers used. Generally, the parking lot or driveway cannot be used for 12-24 hours after being chip sealed.

Slurry Seal

Although there are many forms of slurry seal, the most common form used by us here at Sunrise Asphalt is a Type II Slurry Seal. Slurry seal is a cold-mixed paving process, mostly used on city streets, parking lots and industrial parks. Slurry seal is made from aggregate asphalt emulsions and fillers. Water is added in order to help with the workability of the material. Slurry seal is a commercial-grade treatment of the asphalt that has lost both sand and aggregate and now has a rough appearance also referred to as raveling. Slurry Sealing is a great alternative for asphalt with mild cracking as it helps fill in and hide the cracks. Sometimes we recommend prep work be done prior to the Slurry Seal such as asphalt repair or crack filling for another layer of protection and repair.

Seal Coating

Seal coating is a process of applying a protective coating over an existing driveway or parking lot. Seal coating is the best way to prevent damage from weather conditions, gas oil spills, oxidation, and normal wear and tear.

It will prolong the life of asphalt protecting your investment. Everyday use plus weather conditions will loosen up the top layer of asphalt leading to erosion. Moisture will then penetrate the asphalt breaking it up over time and cracks will occur, which will allow water to eventually break the asphalt. Seal coating gives the driveway a “jet black” finish. Seal coating will also prevent oxidation caused by the sun in Arizona. It is preventive, and will reduce the amount of maintenance needed but will need to be reapplied every 2-3 years. Seal coating preserves your investment by keeping your driveway looking new for years. Generally a driveway, parking lot cannot be used for 24-48 hours after being sealed.

To put it briefly, chip seal is an alternative to asphalt, while slurry seal is a method of repairing asphalt, while seal coating is a protective process for your asphalt. They may sound similar, but each has its own purpose and place in the world of pavement. 

Need a seal coat applied to your driveway? Looking to slurry seal a raveling road? Not sure what you need? Give us a call at Sunrise Asphalt. We use state of the art equipment, every job is supervised by the owner, and more – and we’ve been providing this excellent service to Tucson for over 30 years!