What is the Difference Between Asphalt Paving and Sealcoating?

Nothing beats the shiny deep black, and perfect aesthetic of freshly done asphalt when it comes to driveway and parking lots. But like other outdoor installations, asphalt pavement is prone to wear and tear. The harsh elements, chemical and oil spills, heavy traffic, and extreme climates can take a toll on the asphalt. 

However, there are ways to maintain your asphalt’s aesthetic, durability, and lifespan. Asphalt paving and sealcoating are two methods to keep your driveway looking brand new. 

But while we tend to interchange these terms, asphalt paving and sealcoating are two unique processes involved in repairing an existing one. In most cases, these processes are used together to achieve specific objectives. 

What are the differences between asphalt paving and sealcoating? Let’s check out below.

Asphalt Paving

Asphalt paving refers to installing a new asphalt pavement, the repair and replacement of damaged asphalt, or the resurfacing of a driving surface. This process involves laying a fresh asphalt hot mix over a road surface. Asphalt concrete comprises stone, sand, gravel, and bitumen binder prepared through heating at 325 degrees.

While asphalt preparations and types differ, they all operate the same way. Typically, hot asphalt mix cures within 24 hours. Depending on the damage, asphalt paving, overlay, or repaving may be necessary to repair the surface. 

Asphalt paving is necessary to repair large cracks, fissures, or potholes or redo an existing asphalt surface due to a compromised foundation. Meanwhile, an asphalt overlay is done to fix minor cracks and potholes that don’t involve damage to the foundation. Whether it’s a simple asphalt overlay or a significant repaving project, hiring an asphalt paving contract is recommended to ensure proper assessment of damage and installation. In some cases, the problem could be worse than what they seem, so it pays to have professionals check your asphalt driveway before embarking on asphalt paving.

Key Features of Asphalt Paving

  • Requires longer process than sealcoating
  • Costly project
  • May be done on the entire surface or isolated sections
  • Not considered as a routine preventive maintenance
  • Can extend driveway life expectancy by up to 20 years


Sealcoating is a cost-effective preventive maintenance procedure to protect the asphalt surface from the elements. Sealcoat mixture comprises bituminous-based or acrylic liquid, silica sand, polymers, and water. It is applied by spray or squeegee over the asphalt surface to preserve its properties and extend its lifespan.

According to Orlando experts from CSG Sealcoating, exposure to extreme climate conditions, heavy traffic, UV rays, and chemical spills can make the asphalt brittle over time. Small cracks then start to form, water seeps into them, and the freeze-thaw cycle creates wider cracks. Eventually, the cracks turn into potholes, and water begins to degrade the foundation of the asphalt surface.

Sealcoating provides a barrier that prevents the untimely degradation of the asphalt binder. It replenishes the oil content of the surfactant layer, restores the deep black shiny finish, and extends its lifespan. 

Although sealcoating can crack-seal minor fissures, it cannot reverse the damage. Any problem with the foundation, deep cracks and potholes need to be repaired such as crack patching or filling, or asphalt paving. Sealcoating is mainly for preventive maintenance to delay significant damages from occurring. It is a proactive strategy to protect your investment and avoid significant costs associated with repairs.

Key Features of Sealcoating

  • Considered as a preventive maintenance strategy
  • Applied as a thin layer over the asphalt surface
  • Protects against water damage, automobile leaks, UV rays, and friction
  • Restores the aesthetic of asphalt
  • Cost-effective asphalt maintenance service
  • Regular sealcoating can double asphalt’s life expectancy
  • Additives can be used to achieve specific properties, such as the fast-dry effect

Final Thoughts

Asphalt paving and sealcoating are two distinct yet mutually dependent asphalt services that you need. At some point, you’ll need either of these strategies for your asphalt pavement. 

Ultimately, the best way to protect your investment is by doing both measures, emphasizing sealcoating as a proactive approach. With sealcoating, you can save significant money, effort, and time from asphalt repairs or replacement. Sealcoating every 1-2 years is the safest, fastest, and most cost-effective strategy you can implement to extend the longevity of your asphalt pavement.