Tire Scuffing on a New Sealcoat is OKAY

…it’s Actually a Good Thing!

Asphalt Sealcoat is a mixture fine crushed rock (looks like sand), additives, and liquid asphalt. The crushed rock in asphalt sealcoat move in the mixture with heavy turning by vehicles. Most asphalt sealcoats are made to be flexible and should show some type of tire scuffing. The lack of scuffing could be an indication that the sealcoat is too hard. Tire scuffing on a good sealcoat project is minimized or goes away after approximately three to six months.

The following conditions will cause varying degrees of scuffing:

The newer the pavement is – the softer the asphalt binder (which holds the aggregate together) will be. As the pavement ages with time (generally within two years) the asphalt binder near the surface becomes harder and practically resists all tire scuffing about two years after being placed. The initial softness (within limits) aids in the overall durability of the pavement.

Pavement cures more slowly or faster depending on the temperatures and weather conditions. Pavement placed in the fall will cure during the colder or wetter season while pavement placed in the early spring will cure during the hot summer season. All seasons impact the curing process which, in turns, affects the probability of scuffing.

Under sustained periods of sunshine, which heats the pavement to a range of 140 to 160 degrees, combined with very humid weather, the asphalt cement in a new pavement will become almost fluid. As this pavement hardens with age, the condition will decrease.

The weight of a vehicle will determine how much weight is on each tire. This weight distribution can be substantial whether considering small cars with small tires or big trucks with big tires. These combinations can sometimes develop very high-pressure intensity on the pavement.

The type of tire and tread design can significantly affect the scuffing. Steel belted radial tires will scuff more than standard bias ply tires. A coarse cleat design in the tire tread with significant spaces between tread lines can provide the opportunity to get a firm grip on a new pavement. Aggressive tire tread patterns (off road tires) on trucks, SUV’s and other heavy vehicles will make significant marks.

Probably the most significant factor affecting tire scuffing is the mode of operation that the vehicle user places on the pavement. Stationary 180 degree turns with a heavy or light vehicle that has power steering, can make a substantial scuff on a new pavement; whereas, a wide slower turn would have less of an impact on the sealcoat.