What is Chip Seal?

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Chip Seal Is

Chip seal is a pavement surface treatment that combines a layer of asphalt cement with a layer of uniformly sized small stone chips. A Tar and chip driveway is very similar to an asphalt driveway. It is a combination of asphalt cement as a binder and gravel. This combination in the chip seal is the main structural component of the drive.

These driveway chip seals are produced by evenly distributing the proper thickness of the base of hot asphalt on the area to be paved. After the binder is sprayed on the existing pavement the finely graded stone is pressed into the liquid asphalt before it cools. The aggregate is evenly distributed over the seal spray, then rolled to create a smooth pavement surface.

The chips of stone or as it called the aggregate forms the decorative driving surface of the driveway. Creating a decorative driveway is what chip seal does. So factors of shape, grading, stone embedment and amount of binder are all critical parts of the project. As are application conditions and stone cleanliness.

The chip seal cross section below

We put together a graphic to show a magnified cross-section of what a close up of a chip seal surface would look like.

Creating a good bond between the base pavement and the stone is what we are trying to show.  The asphalt cement has to be uniformly spread so that it is roughly 3/4 of the way up the stone and does not cover the stone chips.

How is Chip Sealing done?

Chip Sealing is a four stage process. First, the area is repaired and prepared for chip sealing. If there is no base for the driveway that is installed. The surface has to be prepared by patching, crack filling and any structural repairs needed. All of the area to be treated is then cleaned of sand and debris that could prevent a good bond with the base asphalt.

Second application of the asphalt cement. Care has to be taken since hot black asphalt has to be sprayed on the driveway, not the stone curbing or landscaping or walkways. The binder is applied via a computer controlled calibrated spray unit for large areas and then with a hand wand for the tight places and edges.

The third step is to apply a layer of chippings is often by using a computer controlled and calibrated self-propelled chip spreader. Custom stone buggies are used for narrow places and a high capacity flow boy dump truck is used so that a controlled amount of stone is taken out of the truck without raising the body.

The final operation is several passes from a roller to embed into the asphalt binder. The sealed driveway is usually opened to the customer to drive on it by the end of the day. Some cars can cross over the chip seal almost immediately.

What does chip seal do?

Chip Sealing protects and preserves. It provides a decorative and durable surface that also extends the pavements life. Chip sealing results in a pavement that is better to drive on, better to look at and will stand up over time.

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