Asphalt Overlay Vs. Sealcoat

Cracked asphalt with white line, paved street background or overlay

Many people don’t quite understand the difference between asphalt overlay and asphalt sealcoat, which is understandable; they have similar processes that are both used to upgrade and maintain your asphalt.

Asphalt Overlay

So what is asphalt overlay? Basically, it is a patch job done on your asphalt. An overlay is typically done when you start seeing cracking or potholes forming on your asphalt, but not damaged enough to need a full replacement. This process is done by coming through with a paver and laying a thin layer of hot asphalt on the current surface. This, however, is not a permanent fix for underlying issues. Any cracks you have on your asphalt now will eventually show through the overlay in a year or two.


Sealcoating, on the other hand, fills shallow cracks and should be done on larger cracks in order to prevent water from penetrating the underlying asphalt. You get a shiny surface and it discourages wear and tear, keeps water or spills out of the interior, and protects against harsh weather. However, sealcoating wears out quickly. If you invest in an easy crackfill and sealcoat about every 2-4 years, you can typically prevent other maintenance for a period of time.

Which is Better?

The answer is, it depends. For some situations, an asphalt overlay is a better option even though it doesn't last quite as long as a seal coat. Generally, though, seal coating is the preferred repair and maintenance technique. A pavement expert can let you know your options and find one that fits your budget and your asphalt needs. 

We can help you determine the best method for asphalt repair! To learn more about the differences in sealcoating and overlays contact the professionals at Pavement Specialties of Idaho Inc. today.

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