Our mobile home park and homeowners association clients often ask for our engineering recommendation regarding the sealing of the asphalt pavement covering the roadways and parking areas in their projects. The primary reason that some private property owners seal asphalt pavement is so that it will look black. People tend to think that roads should be black. When new asphalt is laid down, it has a black color due to the abundance of asphalt emulsion in the mix. When sunlight and the elements hit the pavement, the emulsion begins to oxidize and the color of the pavement turns to a light gray. Thus the real color of asphalt pavement should be considered to be light gray. The only reason to apply a sealer to asphalt roads is for aesthetics. The sealing does not help the structural integrity of the pavement and actually does more harm than good. The sealer clogs the pores of the asphalt making the surface of the pavement less flexible. This will ultimately lead to extensive hairline cracks in the surface. The sealer will soon begin to oxidize and fade, and in one to two years the pavement will be light gray with streaks from where the sealing application overlapped. The surface cracks will become very visible. We do not recommend that private roadways be sealed. Sealing will make the roads black for a short time, however, the long term maintenance problems far outweigh the short term aesthetics. The Florida Department of Transportation has thousands of miles of asphalt pavement to maintain, and they never apply sealers. We have checked with several government agencies, and they agree that sealing of asphalt pavement is detrimental to its structural integrity and long term life. If you have any questions, please contact one of the engineers in our Clearwater office at 727-784-3965.