What is a sealcoat?

A sealcoat is a preventive maintenance surface treatment designed to preserve and extend the life of a street.  Like brushing your teeth or changing the oil in your car, preventative maintenance prolongs street conditions by preventing premature deterioration. 

Click here to watch a video of the sealcoat process.

What street will be paved next?

Use our Street Maintenance Map to see if your street is scheduled this year.

Why is sealcoat maintenance important?

Sealcoat is extremely effective, as well as inexpensive, creating better efficiency for our tax dollars. The City of Austin has been using sealcoat for several decades to keep streets in good condition and prolong their lifetime.

The street aging process is slow at first, but after nine to ten years, the process accelerates. Cracks widen and allow more water to enter, creating potholes and patches. Sealcoat is applied to streets to stop the oxidation and slow the cracking. This treatment can substantially extend the life of a street as much as 15 years.

My street is getting paved. When do I need to move my car?

Cars along streets scheduled for maintenance need to be moved during crew work time. This is from 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on weekdays and 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on weekends. If rain is in the forecast, the street will be rescheduled for the next clear workday.

Residents may call the Street Resurfacing Hotline at 512-974-9788 for the locations that will be sealcoated the next day. Residents can also call 3-1-1 if they have other questions about street maintenance.

How long does the sealcoat process take?

On most streets, the first pass of work is done very quickly, taking about 30 minutes per block and lane. (Note that some driveways may be closed off during this time.) The first sweeping, however, will not take place for 24 to 36 hours from this time.

It takes about a month after sealcoat maintenance for the new surface to completely cure and lock firmly into place. During this time, the road is open to regular traffic.

Why is there excess gravel left on my street?

Some gravel particles will break loose under hard braking or fast acceleration. Because we do not move parked cars during the sweeping phase, there may be some loose gravel left underneath. Additionally, spots may occasionally be missed by sweepers, particularly at intersections or corners. However, all of this typically amounts to less than a gallon of gravel per block. Please call 512-974-8777 if you need Street and Bridge to sweep up any excess gravel left on your street.

Is the material in sealcoat environmentally friendly?

Yes. Sealcoat is made up of a water-based asphaltic binder that does not contain any coal tar. Coal tar has been implicated as a contaminant in storm-water runoff. The asphaltic binder Austin uses in a completely different material. The sealcoat used to protect the aging street surface does not leach, crumble, or break down.

How can the sealcoat material be removed from...?

If the asphaltic binder is tracked onto shoes, carpets, or cars, WD-40 will soften the asphalt and allow it to be wiped off (but spot test carpets for color stability). If the material becomes stuck on people or pets, baby oil will dilute the material.

If the material is tracked onto a concrete driveway or sidewalk, do not dilute it, as it will soak into the concrete. If a large area is involved, sand blasting can remove the asphalt, but excessive blasting could damage the concrete finish. For smaller areas, it may be better to let the material wear off with normal traffic.

The sealcoat surface is too rough. My kids can't rollerblade and my dog can't walk in the street. What can be done to smooth it out?

The surface will smooth out over the first four to six weeks as the material cures and the gravel particles interlock and embed into a tighter surface. While this process is slow, it is happening. The street will look completely different in six to eight weeks with a darker, tighter, smoother surface. It will never be as slick as the old surface, but it will provide better wet weather traction and preserve the remaining life of the street. Dogs, cats, and squirrels are usually back on the street within 10 days!

Related Links

Street and Bridge Division
Public Works "The Jerk" Video