A newly installed asphalt pavement needs to cure before it can be used. This curing time is also called the “curing period” or the “drying process.” When newly laid, freshly mixed asphalt starts out very wet and sticky. It takes a significant amount of time for this moisture to evaporate from the surface, allowing it to become strong enough for use. The drying process will depend on many factors such as weather conditions, temperature, humidity, and geographic location.
How Long Does a Newly Installed Asphalt Pavement Take to Dry?
Asphalt pavements are typically made of three layers: a base layer, a middle layer, and an uppermost surface. The newly installed asphalt pavement is considered ‘green’ or newly laid up until the moisture in it has been drained out to form a hard crust on top. This process takes about two weeks when natural conditions such as high temperature and low humidity prevail. In humid or rainy climates, the newly installed asphalt pavement takes about four weeks to dry.
So as you can see, it will take two to four weeks for newly installed asphalt pavements to be cured before they are safe to drive on without any risk of accident due to lack of stability. However, it would help if you gave newly laid asphalt much longer than a month to cure properly before sealcoating.
Sealcoating Prolongs the Life of Your Newly Installed Asphalt Surface
If you just installed new asphalt, sealcoating your pavement can be a great way to protect it. Despite what many people think, sealcoating does not seal and waterproof the surface of a new asphalt pavement; it simply provides an additional layer of protection over the top. Sealcoating is a sealant that you apply to new asphalt surfaces to help seal the pores in the material, creating a barrier between your pavement and any potential contaminants.
Sealcoated surfaces will last longer than untreated surfaces because sealants help prevent water from entering and damaging the underlying material. The seal will also provide and shiny, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
When is it Safe to Sealcoat Your Newly Installed Asphalt Surface?
Sealcoating too early can lead to premature wear and tear on newly laid asphalt, which will result in costly repairs down the road. This is because sealcoat bonds best with asphalt that has been left long enough for all materials to dry and cure.
So, it is best to allow the asphalt to cure and harden before sealcoating, then you should be good to go; this may take as long as six months. In fact, the best practice is to wait for six months to a year because newly installed asphalt pavement doesn’t deteriorate so quickly.
So, to conclude, you may be itching to sealcoat your newly installed pavement; however, it is important to wait before sealing so that the newly laid layer of asphalt has time to cure fully and settle in place. For best results, the standard guideline is to wait at least six months from the time of installation to sealcoat.
If you’ve been thinking of giving your asphalt pavement a boost with some fresh sealcoating, we can help! Reach out to Sweeney’s Pavement Maintenance, LLC in Salina for more information about our asphalt maintenance and sealcoating services.