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July 06, 2020
Sealcoating in extreme heat has challenges that are unique. Sealcoating equipment is, by its very nature, hot, smelly, and sticky. Tanks filled with sealer are a hot mess that will make anyone sweat. There are some tips for sealcoating in extreme heat that every seal coating worker should know. When the sun is baking down, the temperatures on pavement can reach 120 degrees, causing flash curing, steering marks, and tracking. Flash curing is when it is so hot that the sealer dries upon contact with the pavement. The sealer dries so fast that it doesn’t have a chance to penetrate the pavement, rendering it ineffective. It traps a thin layer of wet sealer in between the dried top and the pavement. You can defeat these problems by doing the following.
A good way to defeat flash curing is by applying two coats of sealer. The first coat should be a light fog coat, kind of like a light primer. It should be just enough to cover the pavement. This will lower the temperature of the pavement and give the second coat something to adhere to. An added benefit is that it gives the pavement a deep black color, making it look clean and fresh.
If you are using a squeegee application, the best course of action is to fog the pavement before applying sealer. Fogging is spraying a mist of water on the pavement to cool it down. You must be careful not to create any puddles, though. Additionally, fogging the pavement will thin out the sealer just a tad, allowing it to penetrate down into the tiny cracks and pores and improve adherence.
The best tactic—and one that sealers don’t like—is to thin the sealer with water. Do a straight 50/50 ratio of sealer to water without aggregate. This application is for the first coat only. The thinned-out material, when applied at a normal rate, allows the sealer to soak down into the pavement better. The drawback is that most contractors only work out of one tank, making it difficult to do.
Extremely hot days are also dangerous to the workers, not just the materials. Forcing compliance on a hot day is tough but necessary. Workers should still wear eye protection, respirators, gloves, long sleeves, and pants. It might be hot in the short-term, but it beats long-term health problems from breathing noxious fumes. Stay hydrated and don’t overdo it on hot days.
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