If you have a parking lot that is beginning to crack, it is important to know what your options are. You should first have the cracks filled to protect the integrity of the surrounding asphalt, and you should then have a sealcoat applied. The sealcoat will help to keep your parking lot in good working order by protecting it from environmental hazards for years to come.
The first thing that you can expect from a sealcoat is that it will seal out water. During the summer, water is not really an issue, but during the winter, frost wedging can begin to break down the asphalt that holds your driveway together. Water first will settle into the small cracks in your asphalt. It will then freeze and push the cracks apart. After repeated cycles of settling into cracks then pushing them apart, water and ice can create big cracks in your asphalt. A seal coat will keep water on the surface, so frost wedging is less of an issue.
Protection against Petroleum
A second concern is that petroleum products will spill on your asphalt. Whenever this happens, the solvents in the petroleum will dissolve the tar that holds your pavement together. Once the tar is compromised, the pebbles in your pavement will begin to separate out. This is how a pothole is born. A sealcoat will keep the petroleum products on the surface, so they never have a chance to break down your pavement.
UV rays present a third danger to your pavement. As your parking lot absorbs the sun's UV rays, the asphalt will heat up. As it does, any liquids left in the tar will begin to evaporate out. Once these liquids are gone, your driveway is left brittle and prone to cracking. Nothing more than the pressure of vehicles driving over your parking lot is enough to allow cracks to start to form. A sealcoat will absorb the sun's UV rays before they have a chance to cause problems for your driveway.
As a business owner, it is easy to get in the mindset that you must eliminate every "added" cost, so you can protect your profits. While installing a sealcoat is not strictly necessary, it makes good business sense. Installing a sealcoat will help forestall damage to your parking lot that would otherwise require you to pay for expensive repairs or even replacement. Thus, spending the money required to have your pavement treated with a sealcoat will help you to save money over the long run.