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showing what sealcoating is made of

What Is Sealcoating Made Of?

Erickson AsphaltSeptember 8, 2020

No matter how good your asphalt is, it’s still vulnerable to cracks and holes. In fact, it can even look dull, faded, and really old in just a few months.
That’s where Sealcoating comes in.
Sealcoat is a mixture of liquids and small particles like sand which acts as a protective film for the asphalt pavement. It is used to protect the asphalt from being exposed to damage-causing elements such as air, water, chemical spills, and even excessive UV rays from the sun. This keeps the risk of developing cracks and holes to a minimum.
At the same time, sealcoat can also give your pavement a stunning dark black appearance, while keeping it from being slippery.

4 Major Sealcoat Ingredient

There are two types of sealcoats that are being used in today’s pavements. But before we get to that, let’s first take a look at the four major ingredients used in producing sealcoats.


It is the key ingredient of any sealcoating compositions and is responsible for binding all the other ingredients together, providing asphalt surface protection, the deep black appearance, and binding the sealcoat mix to the asphalt pavement.

Clay, Fillers, and Aggregates

These ingredients provide toughness, tensile strength, and dimensional stability to the mix. It also serves in reducing the tackiness of the binder so that the surface will be functional even with elevated surface temperature.


Water is the medium in which all the other ingredients stay dispersed. It satisfies the “water demand” of the fillers/aggregate such as sand. It’s also responsible for the sealcoat’s fluidity resulting in easy application, storage, and handling.


There are a variety of additives that can be used in a sealcoat mix, and they serve different purposes. Some additives may help in drying the sealcoat fast, altering sand suspension, increasing water repellency, improving flexibility, or adding resistance to salts and petrochemicals.

Two Types of Sealcoat

There are two main types of sealcoat, and they differ in the type of binder they use.

Refined Coal Tar Based Sealcoating

Refined Coal Tar (RTS) is the thick black liquid that is a byproduct of the distillation of bituminous coal.
This type of binder is composed of thousands of chemicals and has a different molecular structure than asphalt. It is not affected by the destructive elements of weather, the sun’s UV rays, salts, oil, gasoline, fats, and other petrochemicals.
Refined Coal Tar was introduced in the 1950s and has been the industry’s most commonly used sealcoating binder until recently.

Asphalt Emulsion Based Sealcoating

The main ingredient of Asphalt Emulsion Based Sealcoating (AE) is asphalt cement which is derived from the same oils and materials used in producing asphalt.
AE is known to lack resistance to petrochemicals such as gasoline and oil due to being a petroleum derivative and having a natural tendency to be dissolved with them.
However, it has gained popularity due to its superiority in maintaining surface integrity to asphalt pavement, preventing cracks from occurring. Since its inception, AE’s overall performance has been improved by adding chemicals and specialty rubber polymers.

Which Type Of Sealcoat Should I Choose?

Choosing the appropriate sealcoat for your specific needs is crucial in prolonging the life of your asphalt pavement. When done right, it can prolong the lifespan of your asphalt at a fraction of the cost of new pavement. Otherwise, it can be a wasted expense that can do more harm than good.
That’s why if you’re planning to have your asphalt sealcoated, get help from the experts.
We at Erickson Asphalt Services have been the leading asphalt contractor in MN for 30 years, and we have helped countless customers pick and apply the best sealcoat option for their unique needs.
We can help you, too!
Contact us at 1-800-ASPHALT or (763)-389-5267 Local for a quote today!