If you're new to the sealcoating business or getting ready to purchase an Asphalt Sealing System, you are probably confused about the different choices and options that are available on the various systems. Depending on where you live and how much you've researched on the internet, you have probably seen several names for the same piece of sealing equipment and I know this can be rather confusing.
We will discuss all of your options here, outlining each system, how it works and what it's called. Keep in mind this is a very basic overview and not intended for the professional that's been in the business for awhile.
I do my share of research and reading and I've been amazed at the so-called "professionals" who chat in "open forums" and are glad to give you advise, but for the most part are very closed minded when discussing new products or processes. It seems it's their way or no way!
It's not that these guys don't know what they're talking about, some of them think that if you don't have the biggest and the best, then you need to stay out of the business. Let us put your worries at ease because this isn't true anymore. Sure, 15 years ago, many of the asphalt sealing systems that were available, were made for the professional contractors. But over the last 10 years and even the last few years, advances have been made to make the sealcoating sealing machines more compact, lighter and easier to use. We strive to help homeowners, small businesses and start-up contractors afford the equipment that will get the job done.
At Asphalt Sealcoating Direct, we specialize in supplying a product assortment that will fit nearly any budget, allowing the newest person to get into the business, begin making money and giving them the opportunity to purchase an asphalt sealing system that offers more options.
We are now going to look at some easy-to-understand asphalt sealing equipment differences to help aid you in your purchase, starting with the Agitation Process. There are three main ways to agitate your sealcoat sealer and they are: Circulation Agitation which can also be known as Transfer Systems or "Transfer Pumps", Manual Agitation which is... well, the manual labor "Hand Agitation" method, and finally the Hydraulic Agitation method also known as the Pneumatic Systems. These systems are typically "Medium Pressure" systems and we will finish up by discussing the benefits of a High Pressure sealing system.
Agitation of the sealcoat sealing liquid is necessary to keep it completely stirred so it is applied in a uniform coat. In addition, some sealcoat manufactures will not sell or warranty their sealcoat if you do not have some form of "Manual Agitation". (Check with your supplier) Emulsion sealers especially must be agitated because they are water based sealing material. Failure to mix up the sealer will result in the water separating to the top of the sealer and the heavier concentrate will settle to the bottom. In addition, sand can also be added to the sealer to aid in its consistency. Failure to mix the sand can... well, you get the idea.
CIRCULATION AGITATION / TRANSFER SYSTEMS
The most basic agitation process is the system using Bypass Circulation normally using a transfer pump which pulls sealcoat from the bottom of the tank and discharges it to the top of the tank. The pump impeller acts as a "Mixer" and breaks up clumps of sealcoat and sand (if you use sand) and actually blends the liquid. Strainer baskets are not normally used on these systems because the pump impeller does a good job of mixing.
Even though these systems are very basic and inexpensive, they are very effective sealing systems. Keep in mind though, that you need to know the limits of these systems. The smaller asphalt sealing systems will allow sand to mix in the sealer but it will shorten the overall life of the pump. It's also difficult to remove a "Sand Bar" from the bottom of the tank if you have sand and sealer remaining in the tank when you're finished with the job.
These systems do a great job and are easy to use, but you should remember that you need to keep your pump going all the time to achieve a good mix and the pump should have a cast iron impeller and also use a mechanical seal. If the impeller is plastic, it will wear down very quickly and this will cause low pump pressure.
You will achieve approximately 65PSI if you run the pump on high, and this is plenty of pressure to properly apply sealing liquid assuming you keep your hose length to 50'. Your pump pressure will drop as you add the hose and your pump will run hotter than normal as well. They get so hot, the plastic housing can actually melt.
The smaller sealing machines and portable sealing systems are perfect for those on a budget or those planing to use the system through out the course of a year like a home owner, small business, property maintenance professional or airport. If you plan on going into sealcoating full time, we recommend the larger sealcoating systems we offer.
For the price, my favorite asphalt sealing system is our 325 Gallon PolySkid-Pro which utilizes "Circulation Agitation" along with "Hand Agitation" which is also known as "Manual Agitation" in the industry.
Manual "Hand Agitation" is a "Paddle Crank" system that stirs the sealcoat as you turn the crank on one end of the tank. These are very effective if you are using sand in the sealcoat liquid.
Depending on the manufacturer, you can purchase an asphalt sealing system using between two paddles up to four paddles. Some of the systems use rubber wipers on the edge of the paddles as well, helping to clean the inside of the tank while some manufacturers use a "Rake Paddle" to claw and rake the sand, breaking up the sealer clumps. Our PolySkid-Pro utilizes the "Rake System"
Hand agitation is very useful as well as practical and keeps your sealcoat supplier happy particularly if they require some sort of manual agitation on your asphalt sealing equipment.
Combining a manual agitation system with a circulation pump on your system makes a very good asphalt sealing system because you get excellent mixing of the sealcoat liquid. These are also very affordable systems to purchase as well, usually not costing more that $3,000.00 for the entire system. With a Circulation system using manual hand agitation, it isn't necessary to continually turn the crank. Agitating the sealer is usually done before you begin and then every 10 to 15 minutes while you're sealcoating. This is normally enough to keep your sand in suspension.
You may also want to consider the use of a "Latex Additive" as this will also help keep the sand in suspension as well and reduces the frequency of cranking the paddle crank.
Hydraulic Agitation works the exact same way as Manual agitation, but utilizes a Hydraulic motor to turn the paddles automatically. Hydraulic Agitation systems typically allow both forward or reverse and can be run constantly while spraying. Hydraulic agitation systems are typically for the professional who has grown their business to the point of needing to save time from manually cranking the sealcoat sealer. Our 525 Gallon Polyskid Plus is a great example of a Hydraulic Agitation system.
This asphalt sealing system uses a variety of components ranging from an air compressor, hydraulic pump control valves, and hydraulic motors and will be used by sealcoating professional that have been in the business awhile.
Hydraulic / Pneumatic systems usually range in cost from approximately $7,500 to $18,000 or more, depending on the size of the system, trailer system or slide-in skid unit.
HIGH PRESSURE SPRAY SYSTEMS
Most of the "Circulation Agitation" asphalt sealing system we have mentioned above, are built as "Medium Pressure" sealing spray systems. Several manufacturers, including us, offer a "Pressurized" system, allowing you to spray more volume at higher pressures. Asphalt Sealing Equipment that use High Pressure pump systems are typically mounted on trailers or skids allowing for optimal applications.
Many commercial sealcoaters that apply sealcoat to highways, streets or large parking lots will use these types of asphalt sealing systems because they allow for an optional "Spray Bar" attachment that is capable of spraying 6' to 18' at once.
A diaphragm pump and air compressor are used to deliver up to 300PSI of pressure in the "high-pressure sealcoating systems" which allows for longer lengths of spray hose because of the ability to create higher spraying pressures. (The maximum recommended length for a medium pressure system is ~50')
These systems will range in cost from $10,000 to $18,000 and more, depending on the options you add to them. These are almost exclusively used by professionals that have been in business awhile or large municipalities who perform sealcoating on a large scale.
What it really comes down to, is that you need a way to spray sealcoat regardless of the system. If it performs as YOU need at the PRICE you can afford, that's all that matters. Asphalt Sealcoating Direct is one of the few manufacturers and suppliers of sealcoating systems that offers affordable systems to anyone needing to sealcoat.
Sealcoat can be applied a variety of ways including but not limited to the "Squeegee" method. If the pavement is properly prepared before the sealcoating application, then the results you get will be the same with your $30 squeegee as if you were spraying it with an $18,000.00 sealcoating machine. If you do decide to use the squeegee method, the only drawback is that you will use more material and your back will hurt ;-)
Regardless of the Asphalt Sealing System you decide on, just make sure you are making decisions based on credible information and remember that the "Biggest" is not always the "Best".