Sealcoating Primers – Are They Worth It?

Understanding the types of sealcoat primers and their application will help determine if they are right for your asphalt maintenance plans.

As we work with our customers to make the best use of their asphalt maintenance budgets, one option often arises as a successful solution for extending the life of your parking lot. We will explore this solution so that you can decide if you would like to add it to your asphalt maintenance plans. If we are sealcoating a parking lot, we can add a primer coat.

What is the benefit of a sealcoat primer?

For our customers, the added primer serves like an extended warranty. Our sealcoat primer helps you maximize the wear life of your parking lot's sealcoat and adds additional protection. And The question I get most often about primers is “Are they worth it?” Before I answer that question, let me explain what a primer is and what it does.

Types of Sealcoat Primer

There are two basic types of primer – diluted emulsion and solvent based. A diluted emulsion basically uses the same material used to seal the parking lot but with a lot more water added to the mixture. This type of primer works by spreading out the emulsion molecules and providing “prongs” on a microscopic level for the sealcoat to stick to – Think of it as Velcro for sealcoating. This type of primer works well with new asphalt that still has some of the oils left it and is in relatively good condition. Using this in drive lanes and turning radii will make a big difference in how those areas wear.

The second type of primer is solvent based. This type of primer actually changes the top layer of asphalt giving it some of the characteristics it had when it was freshly laid. This type of primer is best used when the asphalt is older and more brittle or has a lot of polished aggregate showing through.

Is sealcoating primer worth the expense?

So are they worth it? Obviously it depends on several factors, the two most important being – pavement condition and length of time until the lot will be paved again. Using a primer can double the life of the sealcoat so if the lot is in good condition and is not scheduled for an overlay for more than 5 years – then it probably would make sense to include a primer coat in your sealcoating project.

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