Chip Seal

One of the best ways to extend the life of asphalt pavement is the use of Chip Seal, a preservation treatment that supports the integrity of a road by protecting its surface.  The application of chip seal is comparable to using a layer of wax to protect one’s car from harsh elements that can rust the car’s exterior. Acting as a “waterproofing membrane,” chip seal shields the road’s surface from the damaging effects of sun and water and combats oxidation that causes asphalt to become brittle and more susceptible to fractures or cracks. It also helps the road shed water, which restricting water’s ability to seep into the road’s base material and compromise the road’s integrity.


During the chip seal application, liquid asphalt emulsion is sprayed onto the road’s surface, which is then covered with fine aggregate. Rollers follow to embed the crushed aggregate into the emulsion and sweepers then remove remaining loose aggregate.

After the Chip Seal cures a Fog Seal is typically applied. This application helps to significantly reduce tire noise, eliminate dust, and bind the remaining aggregate into a black, hard-wearing surface.

Where and When Applied

Chip seal is applied to roads with asphalt pavement surfaces throughout their life cycle:

  • Chip seal is applied one to three years after the completion of a reconstruction or resurfacing improvement project to preserve the investment and extend the life of the road
  • Chip seal is applied to roads showing signs of deterioration. The road first undergoes the appropriate maintenance treatment (Spot mill & fill, crack seal, etc.) to restore the integrity of the road. Chip seal is then applied to protect the road’s surface and prolong the road’s service life.   
Benefits of Chip Seal:

  • Shields the road from damaging effects of sun and water
  • Prolongs the service life of a road by at least 5 to 7 years
  • Increases the “friction factor” of the road’s surface, helping to reduce the number of wet and snow-related vehicle accidents
  • Is cost-effective, allowing KCRC to treat two-to-three times as many roads when compared to applying the next lowest-cost surface treatment