As seen in USA Today, MSNBC, Dr. Oz, and the Chicago Tribune.

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2016 Coal Tar vs. Asphalt Sealer Price Comparison Reveals the True Value of the Survey

For several years now, we have done an annual survey of the costs of pavement sealers. Primarily we do this to demonstrate the small, if an...

For several years now, we have done an annual survey of the costs of pavement sealers. Primarily we do this to demonstrate the small, if any, price and performance difference between asphalt-based and coal tar based products and to monitor how the market is changing.

Commercial Pricing

Decision-makers often rightly want to know regulating coal tar sealers will affect consumers. Below is a manager for one national firm that says there is no price difference between their coal tar product and their asphalt based products.


Pricing of Different Grades

But even within product lines using the same base formula, there is a difference. The above graph does show that just like so many products on the market, you get what you pay for. Quality ingredients lead to quality products, greater warranties, but at a higher cost.

Retail Surprise

While the market reveals few coal tar products sold at retail, this year had its surprises. Just like in previous years, it appears that in the US, the Sakrete line of coal tar sealers may be the last of the retail line of coal tar sealers.

But this annual survey was also a lesson in "trust and verify." It has often been said that the nation's top home improvement chains have stopped selling coal tar sealer. However it appears that True Value has begun to sell them again. We have reached out to True Value for clarification, but have not heard anything yet. Below is a screen shot of their website:

We hope to report back soon from True Value on this.

While we celebrate that weekend warriors may rarely be exposed to applying coal tar sealers themselves, it still represents a drop in the bucket of the overall sealer use in the US. It has been estimated that only 10% of the overall sealer use in North America is from retail sales. However it may represent a shifting of the marketplace as well.

For several years all of the major commercial suppliers have offered non-coal tar sealers. There is a sense that the substitutes are improving in marginal curing conditions like high humidity and cooler temperatures.

Asphalt-based products costs flat or fall

The average cost of 14 retail products went up  6% from 2015 to 2016 after dropping about the same amount in the previous year. With the price of oil very low at this point, it is surprising that the costs went up all.

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Coal Tar Free America: 2016 Coal Tar vs. Asphalt Sealer Price Comparison Reveals the True Value of the Survey
2016 Coal Tar vs. Asphalt Sealer Price Comparison Reveals the True Value of the Survey
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