Gilsonite Sealer and Gilsonite Driveway Sealer

Gilsonite Sealer

For Asphalt Pavements, a Seal Coating material called pavement sealer is applied. Sealer is a protective liquid coating. Pavement Sealer is applied to asphalt pavements surface to protect it against environmental corrosion effects. Gilsonite can used to make asphalt pavement sealers as raw material liquidized into a bituminous soft material in a suspension mix. Gilsonite Sealer can be applied easily on asphalt same as paint on wooden surfaces. Gilsonite Sealer has unique characteristics which provides strong binding with the asphalt bituminous content and provides the essential protection against cracking, especially from freeze/thaw cycle.

Gilsonite Sealer usage in streets and highways

Gilsonite properties provides longevity to asphalt based and emulsion based pavements. The nature of Gilsonite Sealer results in regeneration of molecular bonds within the pavement surface and assist in coloring effects providing a shinier fresh black surface. For this unique properties Gilsonite Sealer is applied vastly in Driveways and also in streets and avenues in addition to high traffic road such as highways. It is tested that applying Gilsonite Seal Coating maintenance every 1-2 years could result in increasing the pavement shelf life to 25 years. Also Gilsonite sealer could be blended with asphaltic pavement waste to make new pavement.

Benefits of Gilsonite Sealer

To summarize applying Gilsonite Sealer to asphalt pavements has the below advantages:

  • Enhanced Visual Appearance
  • Increase in Weather Resistance properties (anti-oxidation effect)
  • Excellent Bonding with asphalt wearing course
  • Crack Filling Effects
  • Regeneration of Bonds on Wearing course
  • Increase in pavement longevity
  • Chemical Resistance (automotive leaks) and water resistance
  • Stronger Frost Resistance in Cold Weather
  • Easy to Apply
  • Supply availability on commercial scale and vast availability on consumer scale

Gilsonite Sealer Prices

Since Gilsonite Sealer is liquid, unlike Gilsonite which is sold by weight, Sealer is sold by liters. On consumer level each liter of Gilsonite Sealer is purchased at 3.5-5 USD depending on the manufacturer and packaging.  In USA, the largest market of Gilsonite Sealers in the world, the material is sold per Gallon around 15 USD and it is available in most of tool shops as driveways are an integral part of middle class Americans.

On Commercial level, Gilsonite Sealer Bulk price could be as low as 1.5 USD/Liter depending on the applied Gilsonite Supply and penetration bitumen prices in the manufacturing country.

Is Gilsonite Sealer Same as Liquid Gilsonite?

No, Gilsonite Sealer is a suspension blend of melted Gilsonite with another bituminous material while Liquid Gilsonite defines natural bitumen ores with very low softening point. Liquid Gilsonite could be used as pavement sealer, but the general application is in Oil Drilling. So Liquid Gilsonite is a natural resource while Gilsonite Sealer is a manufactured product.

Other Pavement Sealers

In addition to Gilsonite Sealer there are numerous sealers which are being applied internationally. Some are as below:

Gilsonite SealerAs mentioned AboveRelatively Expensive
Asphalt Emulsion SealersAnti-Oxidant Less Air Pollution Better SmellStaining Effects Needs Certain Temperature Unstable Pricing
Coal Tar SealersWeather Resistance Shiny Wearing Course Resistant to Petrol Based ChemicalsPossibility of Water Pollution, Health Damage and Environmental Damages
Fast Dry SealersQuick Drying Suitable for High Traffic RoadsRelatively Expensive Lack of Supply on Consumer Scale
Acrylic SealersMulti-Color Availability Weather Resistance High Traffic Spaces Application UV resistance Highly Durable Environment Friendly Low Maintenance Cost (reapplied every 7 years)Very Expensive  

Zista Gilsonite Sealer Products

As a high scale Gilsonite supplier with investment in mining operations, Zista Gilsonite has access to variety of natural bitumen deposits in order to make a blend of Bitumen and Gilsonite. Production of Gilsonite sealer is a customized job at Zista Gilsonite and it is arranged by blending 50% of Solid Gilsonite powder into a low softening point Bitumen plus certain fuel additives. At the moment the supply is only available in Bulk and for commercial purposes and we hope to provide our packaged consumer friendly products within near future in order to expand our market size.

Advantage of Zista Gilsonite Sealer is customized formulation for buyers as per commercial buyers needs and requirements and the blending is executed in-house in Zista Group Oxidized Bitumen Facility.

Gilsonite Vs. TLA

What is TLA

TLA stands for Trinidad Lake Asphalt which is one kind of natural bitumen deposits with relatively higher ash content and less bitumen content, mostly found in form of pitch lakes. Most famous Lake asphalt in the world is Trinidad Lake asphalt while deposits have been found in other countries including Iran. Unlike Gilsonite which has a wide range of applications, TLA has been found useful only in Pavement applications to mix with Penetration Bitumen to increase pavement qualities. This has caused international use of Lake asphalt in Bridges and Airport Runway pavements.

TLA natural characteristics provide an economical chance for blending with Hot Bitumen without further temperature insertion. The practice is based the softening point of TLA to be less than the softening point of the Hot Mix.

TLA exploitation is a Monopoly in Trinidad and Tobacco in the name of Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago limited and the rumor is ownership of this company belongs to American Entities providing an international sales network with enough control Not to affect the current Gilsonite market in the pavement sector.

Difference between Gilsonite and TLA

Difference between Gilsonite and TLA is by Nature. While both materials have originated from Crude Oil, the molecular structure are very different resulting in a very different specification. In the below table you can find a comparison between Gilsonite from 3 origins (Iran, Uzbekistan and USA) with 2 Lake asphalts (Iran and Trinidad):


American Gilsonite Iran Gilsonite Uzbek Natural Bitumen Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA)

Iran Lake Asphalt

Softening Point °©

140-170 160-220 140-180 90-100


Bitumen Content (wt%)

95-98 50-98 95-98 50-55


Ash Content (wt%)

0.5-1.5 3-30 0.5-2 35-40


Sulfur Content (wt%)

<1 6-10 4-8 2-4


Moisture Content (wt%)

<1 <1 <1 <5


Specific Gravity

1.04-1.06 1.05-1.1 1.04-1.08 1.3-1.5


Powder Supply

Yes Yes No No


Gilsonite Vs. TLA in Asphalt Pavements

For improving pavement characteristics, including strength, longevity and binding, the natural bitumen must be added to a penetration bitumen grade such as 60/70 or 40-50. Gilsonite Vs TLA needs less percentage of addition from 5-10% while TLA has to be mixed up to 30%. While low softening point of TLA makes an easier blending into the hot mix, Gilsonite high softening point requires the blender to apply a higher temperature to the mix in order to melt the Gilsonite fully.

In addition, lower ash content of Gilsonite provides a better resistance to cracking comparing to TLA. He high ash content of TLA will act as non-bituminous aggregate unless filtered. Therefore, Gilsonite Vs TLA has a better cracking resistance.

Another comparison aspect could be content of Bitumen. Gilsonite suitable for asphalt binder has minimum 90% Solubility in TCE (Bitumen content) while TLA bitumen content is below 60%. Therefore, the binding strength of the two materials have different effect on the courses of asphalt.

The basic advantage of TLA Vs Gilsonite is price. TLA costs roughly around penetration bitumen price delivered to most destinations while American Gilsonite is twice the Penetration Bitumen prices. Using high quality Iran Gilsonite could improve the economics, but still more expensive than TLA prices.

Trinidad Lake Asphalt

Description to Trinidad Lake Asphalt

Trinidad Lake Asphalt commonly called TLA is among the oldest resources of asphalt products going back to 100 years. The expression applies to Natural Bitumen Lake (pitch Lake) located in south west of Trinidad. The Lake is over 40 hectares which the Lake asphalt has surfaced and is ready to collect. The material is Semi-Solid and an emulsion of water and bituminous compound.

In order to reach a suitable material, the mined Trinidad Lake Asphalt has to be processed to some extent as the gravels and other impurities are pasted to the product within the Lake. The reason is the boiling out of the TLA from the ground causing its mixture with the earth and gravels. Separately from the outside impurity, Trinidad Lake Asphalt also contains a high ratio of Internal Impurities, scientifically called Ash Content which is not possible to remove by refining.

Behavior of Trinidad Lake Asphalt

Trinidad Lake Asphalt has interesting rheology behavior. It reacts well with any refinery bitumen matter considering its bitumen content to be mostly made of maltenes. Also TLA is easily melted at relatively low temperatures causing easy to use procedures in any hot mix of bituminous blends. The reaction of Trinidad lake asphalt with normal Asphalt Binders such as penetration bitumen is solid and considering the same origin of both (crude oil) the bonding evolves into a new material with superior characteristics for the pavement.

Typical Physical Properties

Trinidad Lake Asphalt has the below general properties which is also compared to a similar resource of Lake Asphalt located in Iran:


Trinidad Lake Asphalt (TLA)

Iran Lake Asphalt

Softening Point °©

90-100 90-110
Solubility in TCE (wt%) 50-55


Penetration @ 25°©

0-4 0-4

Maltene (wt% of Bitumen Content)



Ash Content (wt%) 35-40


Sulfur Content (wt%)



Moisture Content (wt%)



Specific Gravity




Advantage of Using TLA

Applying Trinidad Lake asphalt can enhance the bituminous pavement quality in several aspects. In mixing TLA with common pavement grades of penetration bitumen such as 40/50, 60/70 and 80/100, the complex modulus and phase angle of binders were separately increased and decreased with the rise in TLA content, while aging phenomenon was reduced and RUTTING resistance was increased.

Another study shows Trinidad Lake Asphalt makes it easy to generate segregation phenomenon in binders. Also the range of Viscosity in the asphalt and binder remains stable when applying TLA (Mixture Stability Effect). When applying, the more TLA applied, the larger increase will happen in large molecules, small molecules and Polydispersity Index.

Mixing TLA with common binders also increases anti-aging effects by increasing ketone and sulfoxide molecules. In addition to above, some more advantages of using Trinidad Lake Asphalt are:

  • Increased Pavement Durability
  • Layer Equivalency
  • Improved Resistance to High-Temperature Deformations
  • Improved pavement load carrying
  • Improved whole-life pavement costs
  • A light colored, safer, surface and improved ability to display pigments effectively
  • Enhanced Skid Resistance Characteristics
  • Improved low temperature cracking characteristics

Trinidad Lake Asphalt Applications

TLA is used wherever a high quality and strong pavement is required and different type of payments such as Asphaltic Concrete, Mastic Asphalt and SMAs can include TLA. Most common applications of Trinidad Lake Asphalt are for Bridges, Airports, Heavy Traffic Highways, Race Tracks and Container Yards.

Trinidad Lake Asphalt Packaging

Trinidad Lake asphalt is available in Jumbo Bags, Drums and Kraft Paper Capsules. Considering the Semi-Liquid nature of the material, smaller packaging from Trinidad Lake Asphalt Suppliers have Not been successful. Comparing to TLA, Iran Lake Asphalt has a higher softening point allowing it to be powdered before packing resulting in several type of packaging including 25kg Paper/PP/Meltable bags and Jumbo bags.

asphalt binder

Asphalt Binder

An overview on Asphalt Binder

asphalt binder also called asphalt cement binder, is a binder to keep the aggregates together like paste in asphalt mixes. In each asphalt cement there are several ingredients including sands and gravels which are applied in several layers. Asphalt Binder keeps these layers intact individually and also binds the layers together.


What are asphalt binders made of

Asphalt Binders are mostly made of Petroleum residue derivatives, commonly called Bitumen. Asphalt is a viscous black semi-liquid material which is originally from Crude Oil, either by refining and distillation or by availability on Natural Asphalt deposits. The general structure of the binder must include a reasonable amount of Bituminous content while having a proper density and softening point to act properly in the Hot Mix Asphalt. Commonly, penetration bitumen is one of the most famous asphalt binders while natural products including TLA (Trinidad Lake Asphalt) and Gilsonite have been used successfully for the same application, in case applied correctly. For example, in South China, by using a unique technic, Gilsonite with no more than 70% bitumen content is used as asphalt binder considering the special characteristics of Natural Bitumen which provides an enhanced reaction with the aggregates comparing normal binder products.

What would you like to know about asphalt? Don’t miss the “What is Asphalt” article

Which property is most important for asphalt binder

At the basic stage, the design of the Asphalt Cement aggregates and the performance required by usage must be considered to achieve an optimum on economics and performance of the Asphalt Binder. For example, different aggregate types, could result in different performance by a same binder while the percentage of consumption could vary based on the expected lifecycle of the final pavement.

To categorize generally, among the specifications of asphalt binder, softening point, melting point, brittle point and general reactions to temperature are most important comparing to other aspects such as viscosity. At different temperature the binder will release different amount of bituminous matter for binding with aggregates and as outside temperature vary, it could break or strengthen the bonding. The nature of the binder defines how these temperature fluctuations will affect the asphalt pavement.

Lowest Pavement Outside Temperature

Highest Pavement Outside Temperature Suggested Asphalt Binder



Normal Bitumen


High Quality Bitumen



Normal Bitumen


High Quality Bitumen


Modifier Required



Normal Bitumen


High Quality Bitumen


Modifier Required



High Quality Bitumen


Modifier Required

-40 76

Modifier Required


Typical Cost

As per shown in above table, numerous binders can be used as asphalt binder. Some common binders’ general prices are advised as below:

  • Bitumen 60/70 & Bitumen 80/100 – Normal Binder: 250 USD/MT FOB Persian Gulf
  • Trinidad Lake Asphalt – Low Quality Binder: 450 USD/MT DDP North China
  • American Gilsonite HMA Grade – High Quality Modifier: 1,200 USD/MT DDP European Union
  • Zista Gilsonite Asphalt Binder Grade – High Quality Modifier: 650 USD/MT FOB Persian Gulf

What is binder course in asphalt

Asphalt cement consists of several layers of Aggregates, including Binder Course where Asphalt Binder is mostly applied. Binder Course stands the shear forces below the asphalt surface and decreases rutting affects by providing sufficient stone-on-stone contact.

Are tar and asphalt the same thing

NO, asphalt and tar are NOT the same material nevertheless commonly mistaken together. Asphalt is made of Petroleum originated materials including bitumen, while Tar is a by-product of coal distillation with different application than petroleum asphalt. The mistake has caused by using Tar as a binder in Pavements in the older times when coal was the main source of energy. By emerging Crude Oil into the industries and countries, Asphalt has fully replaced Tar in road paving applications. Another common mistake with Asphalt is Pitch which refers to certain natural bitumen deposits with lower softening point and low quality of bitumen contents such as Pitch Lakes.


What is Asphalt?

The word Asphalt originally derived from latinization of the Greek work Asphaltos and based on late latin words asphalton or asphaltum. In ancient civilizations asphalt is used for pasting cement joints and in the Middle East it was vastly used for road paving and waterproofing which are current major applications of asphalt.

Basically asphalt is combined set of aggregates from crushed rock, sand, gravel, slags or bitumen. Nowadays, use of by-products and wastes are also common – such as sludge or construction wastes – resulting in higher sustainability of asphalt. The result of this mixture is a black, sticky and high viscosity blend in solid or semi-liquid form which is relatively homogenous and suitable to expand over flat layers.


How is asphalt produced?

Asphalt is produced through mixing and blending several aggregates at an asphalt plant in high temperatures usually from 150-180 degrees Celsius. Asphalt plans could by mobile as well in order to produce the asphalt blend on site.

Producing Asphalt at different temperatures

In order to achieve different specifications for different applications, the asphalt can be made in different conditions which most effective one is the temperature. Below is a general categorization of asphalt making:

Asphalt Production Method

Temperature of the Blend (°Celsius)

Suitable Bitumen Used for the Blend

Hot Mix Asphalt 120-190 Penetration Bitumen
Warm Mix Asphalt 100-140 Soft Penetration Bitumen
Half Warm Asphalt 70-100 Soft Penetration Bitumen
Cold Asphalt Without Heating Emulsion or Foamed Bitumen


Asphalt Applications

While major application for asphalt is road paving, considering the variety of specifications, it can be used in several sectors including the below:

  • Transportation (roads, railway beds or airport runways…)
  • Building construction (floorings, roofing…)
  • Industrial (ports, landfill caps …)
  • Recreation (playgrounds, running tracks, tennis courts…)
  • Agriculture (greenhouse floors, barn floors…)

Layers of Asphalt Paving

Asphalt Paving consists of several layers, from ground to top consequently as below:

  • Sub-Base and Sub-Grade: Preparation of the foundation with suitable clay or sand base aggregates
  • Base Course: Most important layer to distribute the force traffic through the pavement layers
  • Binder Course: Binder courses are implemented to stand the shear forces below the asphalt surface and reduce rutting sufficient stone-on-stone contact and stiff and modified binders such as Gilsonite.
  • Surface Course: Surface course is the top layer of the pavement and stands high traffic and environmental stresses while providing an even profile for the user and enough texture to ensure minimum and safe skid and rutting resistance.

Asphalt Binder

Asphalt Binder is a bituminous layer that can be added either to the Surface layer or as an extra layer called binder course below the surface to make a stronger bind with the base course.

Surface Asphalt Binder is an asphalt emulsion designed for tack coat for patching, paving, and coating. Asphalt Binder increases adhesion of bituminous concrete and coatings.

Asphalt binder as binder course is an intermediate course between the base course and the surfacing material consisting of medium-sized aggregates bonded together by bituminous material such as Molten Gilsonite.

gilsonite in paint

Gilsonite in Paints and Stains industry

Generally using Bituminous paints is a known and common procedure for certain painting which requires weather or corrosion resistance and it is a very economical approach in many industries such as foundry to use bituminous paint.


Considering the low quality of bituminous paint, in certain applications there is a requirement of using a BITUMINOUS PRODUCT but with superior quality which results in applying Gilsonite in Paint as an additive, since Gilsonite preserves the Bituminous properties while having proper physical characteristics to be controlled and spread (or sprayed) properly on any surface, unlike any other bituminous paint.

Gilsonite in Paint

gilsonite in paint industry

Considering its unique properties – caused by millions of years of natural occurrences underground – applying Gilsonite in Paint results in excellent bonding with almost any material to create a protective coating paint. using of gilsonite in paint is one the most important of gilsonite applications. Gilsonite in paint industry is used as an additive with relatively lower costs compering to additives with similar performance which has caused its high usage in pipe coatings, anticorrosive paints and underbody paints in several industries including vehicle industry and pipe manufacturing.

Gilsonite in Wood Stains

When applying Gilsonite in Wood Stains, the actively bituminous content of the Gilsonite acts as a binder with the wood surface making a strong finish that is less likely to fade. At the same time, the coloring effects of Gilsonite provides a higher resolution colors to the pigment.

Advantage of using Gilsonite in Paint

The advantages of using Gilsonite in Paint are numerous; still the below can summarize most of the Gilsonite Advantages in Paint and Stains:

  • Superior bonding characteristics
  • Highest resistant to pigment fading comparing to other paint additives
  • Possibility to make transparent pigments while preserving quality aspects
  • Stable against UV lighting
  • Providing a deep and rich coloring to wood stains

The proper grades of Gilsonite in Paint are Gilsonite Selects 325 and Gilsonite Selects 347 which is supplied by Zista Gilsonite from special mines in Iran along with a proper and high tech processing of the material in our China facility.



Utah Gilsonite Mine

History of Gilsonite in Utah

Gilsonite was firstly known by Native Americans in the Utah area which then were offered to White-Men as coal for blacksmithing. Since using Gilsonite instead of coal is hazardous, the material soon became famous and several people including Samuel Gilson started working on development of material for different industries.


Eventually by obtaining most of the resources ownership in Utah Gilsonite mines, Samuel Gilson was able to make the first Gilsonite company in 1903 called the Gilson Asphaltum which later on was purchased by Chevron and partners and the name changed to American Gilsonite company in 1948 which owned all large veins of Utah Gilsonite mines along with most of smaller veins of Gilsonite in the Utah area and the situation has continued during the years.


Geologic Setting

Utah Gilsonite Mine veins which are somewhere around 50 million years old, are located in Tertiaryaged in the Uinta Basin. The explored formations of vein are found in Duchesne River, the Wasatch, Uinta and Green River. In the Wasatch Formation Gilsonite can be exploited from eastern edge which has escaped the Oil shale above.


Utah Gilsonite Mines are founded in long, vertical, northwest-trending veins in a 60-mile by 30-mile block. The veins’ width can vary with an average of 1-2 meters. The veins of Utah Gilsonite mines are interestingly continuous and long. The vertical veins are mostly located in the Green River oil shale, so they are more vertically extensive to the northwest where they are not as deeply eroded.

utah location


The primary reserve estimation of Utah Gilsonite mines was 45,000,000 tons which after years of exploitation with an average of 20-60,000 tons (with a spike of 470,000 tons in 1907 to feed the Gilsonite gasoline refinery), it had come down to 5,000,000 tons in 1980; estimated by American Gilsonite company. Therefore, already most of that ore from Utah Gilsonite mine has been extracted.

However, three factors could increase the total reserve of Gilsonite:

  1. Possibility of discovering new veins in Utah Gilsonite Mines in addition to increased reserve estimations of smaller veins which are already discovered in Utah area.
  2. Emerging new resources of Gilsonite outside Utah Gilsonite mines, including Iran Gilsonite veins estimated to be over 30,000,000 tons and only 2,000,000 tons have been exploited already. Another emerging resource – which is currently supplying to American Gilsonite Company to help economics of production and covers for lack of Utah Gilsonite mine reserves – is Colombian asphaltite with similar characteristics to Gilsonite and large reserves found in Magdalena Basin in Colombia estimated to have around 20,000,000 tons of untouched reserve; causing USA oil companies and American Gilsonite Company to divert investments and purchasing power to these resources.
  3. Scattered around the world, there are also different reserves of Natural Bitumen similar to Utah Gilsonite mine which could cause large scale discoveries any time in the future. (Gilsonite Global Reserves)
Applications of Gilsonite

Gilsonite Applications