Chip seals are used everywhere and for good reason. They help to preserve and prolong the lifespan of asphalt surfaces. Sometimes called tar and chip or surface treatments, they are a coating that is applied to existing layers of pavement to prolong its life.
Applying a chip seal helps to seal and protect the pavement from oxidation and weathering from harsh elements. The bound layer of chip seal prevents water and air from getting through to the foundation. Chip seals also extend the lifetime of the pavement by improving the grade for drainage and improved slip resistance.
If the layer to be preserved has major flaws, best to prep the ground ahead of time. Chip seals work best when applied to asphalt that is still in reasonable condition. Large holes and cracks left unattended will make for a less uniform outcome. Expect to prolong the life of the existing pavement by six to eight years when applied to pavement in good condition. Half that if in poor condition.
Here are 6 tips for improving chip seal performance:
Conditions – Weather conditions directly impact the performance of the chip seal application. The most favorable weather is warm and dry for proper binding and curing. If possible, plan your project according to the forecast.
Clean the surface and make sure it’s free from debris and overgrowth. If there are any large potholes and cracks, be sure to fill them before applying your tar and chip seal.
Drive Slowly At First:
The surface does not completely cure for two to three weeks. During this time, take extra care to drive slowly and avoid subjecting it to heavy-duty use.
Clean The Chips:
The overall condition of the aggregate chips is crucial to the quality of your finished product. It is absolutely necessary to make sure the aggregate is not too dusty or too moist. Otherwise, the liquid hot asphalt will not properly adhere to the chips.
The chip spreader should follow the binder distributor as closely as possible, within a minute is ideal. The rolling procedure is vital to embed the chips in the liquid.
Remove Loose Aggregate – Warning:
The binder must be set first before you sweep up. Once it has, use a light broom to remove loose aggregate. Be sure to avoid dislodging embedded chips.
Chip seal parking lots and roadways are a great alternative to asphalt and offer an excellent way to extend the lifespan of existing asphalt surfaces. But the technique you use plays a significant role in the longevity of your chip seal resurfacing. And it pays to get it right. A chip seal application applied properly on quality asphalt can last twice as long as chip seal applications applied to low-quality asphalt and using poor methods. Make sure you hire the right team with the right expertise to get the most out of our investment.