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Top 8 Challenges of Sealcoating in the Fall

Top 8 Challenges of Sealcoating in the Fall

by Eric Humphries, Neal Mfg. Co.

    

One of the most rewarding times of year can be the most challenging as well. Fall of the year brings a very busy schedule for most seal coaters because a lot of property owners wait to release money they have been holding all year for various reasons.

The Sealcoating contractor ends up with many jobs to sealcoat in a very short weather window. Many times, when the customer decides to spend money, weather has gotten very questionable. Yet they need the job done within the current year.

Many contractors choose a “shut down date” This contractor has usually been in business for many years and has the built in business to be able to plan for this and still have operating capital or different winter related services that support the company during the winter months especially up north where the Sealcoating season is very short. 

In the south some contractors will work well into December and January. In extreme southern states sealcoaters work year round.

October and November. This is when you get a good idea of how to schedule the end of your season. Weather is the biggest factor you have when making plans for the fall. When the weather is favorable for sealcoating a few major factors should be taken into consideration

Hours of daylight: 
Start early in the morning, you should be on the job by daylight or before if possible. An early start gives the sealer ample time to dry in the critical afternoon hours. 

Sealcoating in the Shade:
You should plan to sealcoat in shaded areas just before the sun hits and have sunlight ideally for 2 or more hours preferably in the afternoon.

Areas that never see the sun:
Sealer not only needs the sun to dry and cure but it also needs warmth. Warm ground in the shade gives the sealer a much better chance at success. A cold ground hovering at or below 50 Degrees drastically reduces your chances of a good application.

Latex additive:
Latex additive should be used very frequently when Sealcoating in the fall. Even though latex is an additive for faster drying, it may not work as well in extreme conditions such as a cold night.

Traffic: 
Pay close attention before the job to traffic conditions. In the fall months with shorter days, a well laid out plan can significantly reduce time on the job. 

Temperature:
Should be 50 degrees and rising for effective Sealcoating. 

When sealing below 50 degrees or when the temperature is hovering at 50. The area should have sunlight for a minimum of 3 hrs. Depending on humidity levels it could need more or less.  Sealcoating in the shade is not recommended. Air temps in the lower 50s can cause sealer to not dry, cure or wear properly if sunlight is not present. 

Sealcoating on a Cloudy Day:
It is not recommended to seal on a cloudy chilly day. Check the humidity levels if possible. If the humidity is 90% only 10% of the air is available for evaporation. You should only sealcoat on a cloudy overcast day if the temperature is 50 degrees and rising and topping out in the 60s. This should provide enough warmth necessary to dry properly.

Sealcoating at night:
Sealcoating at night in the fall, Temperature should bottom out at around 65 degrees for a good application. If possible try to keep traffic off the seal coated area till 9 or 10 am for drying time in the morning sun.