Asphalt is widely used to construct outdoor basketball courts for residential and commercial properties, and for good reason. A well-constructed asphalt basketball court is durable, low-maintenance, and costs less to construct than courts made of other materials.
However, while asphalt is generally very hard-wearing, it can be vulnerable to damage caused by the elements. When exposed to rainwater and intense UV sunlight for long periods, asphalt can become cracked and brittle. Fortunately, you can protect your asphalt basketball court from weather damage by having it professionally seal-coated.
What Is Asphalt Seal Coating?
Asphalt sealants consist of silica particles, void fillers, and UV-resistant chemicals, which are suspended in a quick-drying liquid solution. They are brushed or sprayed onto asphalt surfaces, where they bond chemically with the asphalt. They are then allowed to dry and cure, forming a durable, protective layer.
Two main types of seal coating are used by most professional asphalt seal coating contractors. Coal tar-based sealants have been in use for decades, and are a cost-effective, tried-and-tested solution. Asphalt emulation (AE) sealants are a more recent invention. AE sealants can be more expensive than coal tar-based sealants but are generally more durable and long-lasting.
How Can Seal Coating Protect Asphalt Basketball Courts?
Seal coating helps to prevent two major causes of asphalt damage:
Prevents Water Damage
Asphalt is made from solid aggregates, which are held together with bitumen-based binders. Unfortunately, these binders are vulnerable to prolonged exposure to moisture, which causes them to break down and lose their structural stability.
Once the binders in your asphalt become destabilized, the solid aggregates within the asphalt are loosened, and the asphalt will start to crack and crumble. Water-damaged asphalt can also develop potholes that will make your basketball court dangerous to use. Puddles of standing water are particularly likely to cause water damage.
A water-resistant layer of seal coating prevents moisture from seeping into an asphalt surface, protecting its all-important binders. This helps to prevent cracking and crumbling and can prolong the lifespan of your court by many years.
Protects Against UV Damage
Exposure to direct sunlight can also seriously damage any outdoor asphalt surface. The UV rays in sunlight cause asphalt binders to oxidize, transforming the bitumen contained within the binders into a brittle, powdery substance. A badly oxidized asphalt surface is more likely to suffer from cracks and potholes. Oxidized binders also become more absorbent, leaving the asphalt surface even more vulnerable to water damage.
Modern seal coating substances contain UV-resistant chemicals, which prevent binder degradation caused by sunlight exposure. Once dried, seal coating also takes on a shiny, glossy appearance. This makes the asphalt more reflective and will reduce the amount of sunlight absorbed by the asphalt.
For more information, contact a local company like Azzarelli Paving & Site Development.