Pavement Coatings, Inc.
Sealcoating Products
Manufacturer and Supplier of Pavement Maintenance Products and Equipment


Coal Tar verses Asphalt Emulsions
Which is the Best?

To the Contractor, Property Manager, and Property Owner

Which is the Best?
Coal Tar vs. Asphalt Emulsions

As a manufacturer of both coal tar emulsion and asphalt emulsion pavement sealers, we have no preference which sealer the consumer chooses to protect their asphalt surfaces. However, in the selection process, consumers such as yourself should have the facts and make an educated decision.

Below is a tabulation of tests comparing coal tar emulsions and asphalt emulsions.


Test Coal Tar Emulsion Asphalt Emulsion
Gas Resistance Pass Failure
Motor Oil Resistance Pass Failure
Kerosene Resistance Pass Failure
Scrub Resistance
(Durability test)
4000 cycles 2400 cycles
Water re-absorption 1.00% 3.2%
(The Water re-absorption test is an indicator for durability since water attacks seal coatings causing re-emulsification, which can lead to tracking sealer into your place of business. Low numbers are better.)
Odor Some None
Skin Irritant yes yes
Photosensitive yes no
(This is what causes burning to some contractors but in no way affects the consumer)
OSHA Emission testing pass pass
(Both showed no detectable amounts or less than 2% of the permissible limits by OSHA of carcinogenic compounds including Benzene, CTPV’s, PNAH’s, or any other compounds of concern.)
Color retention pass fades
Flexibility pass pass
Drying time pass pass

Claims of environmental concerns of coal tar emulsions are unfounded with no factual data and are only a scare tactic. Both coal tar and asphalt are naturally occurring products: coal tar coming from plant matter, asphalt coming from animal matter.

Coal tar will always be more resistant to water, gas, oil, and other chemicals by its chemical make-up. Asphalt will always be less odorous and cause far less burning to the contractor. Asphalt is an advantage to the contractor, but as of this report has less advantage to the consumer when considering protection against UV radiation, gas, oil, chemicals, color retention, and water absorption.


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