7 Chip Seal Facts You Need To Know

Chip Seal Facts.  When it comes to new surfacing parking lots or roadways, many people often overlook an excellent alternative to asphalt. A chip seal roadway, also known as tar & chip roadways, is low maintenance and an economical way to meet the needs of your municipality or business, without adding pressure to budgetary constraints.

If you’re in the midst of researching the options available to you, this article will help.

Here are the top 7 facts you need to know about chip seal.

FACT – Low cost.

Chip seal allows businesses and municipalities the ability to maintain roadways and parking lots for a fraction of the cost of conventional asphalt overlay. Often less than half the cost!

FACT – No crack sealing necessary.

The great thing about chip seal is it heals itself. Well, sort of. If cracking occurs, oftentimes cracks will disappear or get smaller. Especially in warmer weather, chip seals re-seal cracks by flowing back together.

FACT – Safer roads and parking lots.

Due to the slightly rougher surface than traditional asphalt, roadways, and parking lots offer excellent skid resistance in the rain, sleet, and snow. For businesses, you’ve got to ensure the safety of your patrons. What better way than to have a high-traction chip seal parking lot?

FACT – Moisture barrier.

Chip seals provide an effective moisture barrier for the underlying pavement against water intrusion by sealing cracks in the pavement. Given that it is economical to add a new layer every 5-7 years, you can ensure that the integrity of the underlying pavement remains sound.

FACT – Prevents ageing and oxidation.

Chip seals prevent deterioration of the asphalt surface from the effects of ageing and oxidation due to harsh elements including water and sun. Since chip seal is simply stone pushed into hot tar, it’s far more resilient in the harsh elements.

FACT – Better maintained.

Due to the relatively low cost, many proponents of chip seal are inclined to add a new layer sooner than they would with an asphalt overlay. As a result, those who use the roadway or parking lot will benefit from better conditions overall.

FACT – You choose the look.

Depending on the local quarries, you can select from a variety of colors for your chip seal parking lot. Make sure to ask your contractor ahead of time what your options are.

Now that you know some of the major benefits of chip seal, let’s see how it all works.

Step 1 – Prepare the roadway.

Over the course of time weeds and vegetation will overgrow the edges of the roadway or parking lot. Plant material and contaminants can affect the finished product, so the first step is crucial — clean the shoulder of the road.

Step 2 – Fix foundation issues.

If there are large areas that indicate base failure, a process of grinding and mixing the surface material with the base material and adding concrete will work to create a more uniform surface. Curing can take 2-3 weeks.

Step 3 – Level.

Where needed, the roadway is pre-levelled with asphalt to improve drainage by correcting cross slopes.

Step 4 – Apply hot liquid asphalt and stone chip.

An asphalt distributor truck starts by spraying the chip seal parking lot with hot liquid asphalt to create the base layer for the surface. Time is of the essence, within minutes of the hot asphalt being laid, the rock chip needs to be applied on top so that the asphalt is fluid enough to allow the rocks to be embedded.

Step 5 – Roll it in.

Large rollers set the rock into the liquid asphalt. In doing so, the roller pushes the flat sides of the rock down and produces a tighter chip seal and a relatively smooth parking lot surface. It can take several passes of the rollers to set the rock to its optimum orientation.

Step 6 – Finishing touches.

The roadway or parking lot will be watered, excess rock is swept from the surface and it is ready to use.

At this point, you should have a much better idea as to whether or not chip seal roadways or a chip seal parking lot is right for you. If you’re interested, here’s another article on how to increase chip seal performance. If you’ve got questions, the team here at Elite Asphalt is ready to help.

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