What Are the Major Differences Between Sealcoat and Asphalt?

What Are the Major Differences Between Sealcoat and Asphalt Grand Rapids

Do you know the difference between sealcoating and asphalt? It’s similar to the difference between the coat of paint on your car and the metal structure underneath.

Without its protective layer of paint, the metal frame of your car would begin to rust and might even become structurally compromised from being exposed to the elements. The same concept can be applied to your asphalt driveway or parking lot. The asphalt pavement refers to the actual structure while sealcoating is a protective layer applied to the surface.


You may need to replace your asphalt surface if the foundation is compromised. Once water seeps into the foundation, it weakens the pavement and makes it more vulnerable to cracks and potholes. You’ll need to schedule asphalt paving if your parking lot or driveway is beyond repair.

Here are the main features of asphalt paving:

  • May be done for an entire parking lot, driveway, or an isolated section of road
  • Not considered routine maintenance
  • Considered a repair cost or capital expense
  • Disrupts traffic longer than sealcoating
  • 20 years of life expectancy with proper maintenance


Sealcoating helps to protect asphalt from UV rays, precipitation, and automobile fluids. Asphalt sealcoating is a preventive measure, which means you can’t use it to fill cracks and potholes.

Here are the main features of sealcoating:

  • Applied to the asphalt surface
  • Protects against UV rays, automobile fluid leaks, and water penetrations
  • Makes asphalt appear darker and more even
  • Considered to be routine or preventive maintenance
  • Least expensive maintenance service for asphalt
  • Extends asphalt pavement’s life expectancy (can sometimes double its life)
  • Can be given specific qualities, such as shorter drying time

When It’s Time to Replace Asphalt Pavement

Minor potholes and cracks in your asphalt surface can be filled and repaired. But you’ll need to replace your paved surface once you notice alligator cracks, standing water, and deep potholes. These are all signs that the foundation has been compromised, most likely due to water infiltration.

Also, keep an eye on the color of your asphalt driveway or parking lot. Over time, UV rays will damage and lighten the color of asphalt. If your paved surface has faded from black into gray, you may want to give us a call. We’ll be able to determine whether the damage is superficial or runs deep.

Beware of Dishonest Contractors

Some contractors would have you believe that replacing your entire paved surface is the only way to fix small cracks and shallow potholes. This simply isn’t true. Make sure you hire an asphalt contractor that has a reputation in your community for being honest with customers.

Related:5 Red Flags in an Asphalt Contractor

A reputable contractor will be licensed, insured, and trusted by your community. They’ll also conduct a thorough inspection of your paved surface so they can recommend the best course of action. Whether they recommend repair or replacement will depend on the extent of damage to the asphalt pavement.

Request a Free Estimate From A-1 Asphalt Inc.

A-1 Asphalt Inc. is a Grand Rapids asphalt company that offers sealcoating, paving, and many more services to customers. We offer superior results at competitive prices, whether you need your parking lot sealcoated or your driveway repaired. Feel free to request a free estimate by calling our asphalt paving contractors at (800) 871-4401.

This blog post has been updated.