Asphalt is a highly durable and proven paving material. However, it requires proper installation and maintenance to enjoy its full serviceable years. Properly constructed and maintained asphalt pavement has a lifespan of up to 20 years.
Perhaps you’re wondering why asphalt pavement deteriorates?
Many factors cause asphalt to deteriorate but predominantly due to heavy traffic load and environmental elements. While asphalt driveways, parking lots, and other residential installations generally handle light traffic, they are exposed to extreme weather conditions and sudden climate changes. The oxidation process results in the breakdown of the surface, cracking, and loss of flexibility. As minor cracks develop, water can seep through these crevices and eventually damaging the base gravel and its foundation.
If you want your asphalt parking lot or driveway to last long, you should take good care of it right from the start. Better yet, you can reach out to a reputable asphalt paving contractor to check on your asphalt pavement. They can assess and recommend effective strategies to protect and strengthen your asphalt.
Here we take a look at four effective ways to preserve and increase the lifespan of your asphalt paving.
Experts from CSG Sealcoating, Jacksonville consider sealcoating as the single most important, easiest, and most affordable step to stop asphalt from deteriorating fast. Timely sealcoating can prevent a host of problems such as oxidation, potholes, and cracks. It can also avert the need to replace the entire pavement.
Sealcoating offers several benefits that include:
- Delaying oxidation due to exposure to UV rays. Oxidation can make the asphalt brittle that can lead to cracks.
- Improved flexibility enables the paving to flex under heavy traffic. This property of asphalt helps prevent deterioration.
- Preventing water damage as it fills in the smallest cracks thereby keeping water out.
- Protection from corrosive chemicals, gas, and oil damage. Asphalt is a petroleum-based compound that can become damaged when exposed to oil leaks. With sealcoating, these corrosive chemicals don’t reach the binder, thus avoiding damage.
- A smoother surface makes it easier to clean the pavement, which is also vital in maintaining its durability.
- Better skid resistance makes the asphalt driveways read for cold and rainy days.
The benefits of sealcoating make it a worthwhile expense. How frequently you sealcoat the asphalt pavement depends on how frequently it is used. Ideally, it should be done at least once every three years. However, if the driveway is constantly subjected to extreme weather or heavy traffic, sealcoating once a year is best.
2. Prevent water damage
Quite ironically, the ever gentle water is the biggest cause of asphalt damage. Hence, to strengthen your asphalt, you need to prevent water intrusion. Water can seep through the smallest cracks and the freeze-and-thaw process prematurely damages the asphalt surface. Temperature change causes the asphalt to expand and contract further pushing the water deep into the pavement layers. In just over a week, the tiny hairline cracks can turn into a pothole.
Make sure to patch up small cracks immediately to avoid major asphalt damage. Likewise, good drainage ensures that water does not pool in any part of the pavement. Make sure to fix any problem spots as soon as possible. Ideally, you should repair all cracks and holes before the summer or winter sets in. Asphalt repairs are not recommended when the temperature is above 75°F or below 50°F.
3. Take care of the edges
The edges are the most vulnerable part of an asphalt driveway, so pay special attention to these parts. If they start to deteriorate, your asphalt pavement is in deep trouble.
Secure the edges to avoid cracks and other damage. Typically, the edges have a 45-degree grading to reduce the stress and distribute it to the foundation. Proper edging can add strength to the entire pavement.
4. Prevention practices
The key to strengthening the asphalt is preventing early failures. This can be achieved through a proper construction process, thorough site preparation, and the use of quality materials. The base gravel materials, placement techniques, and construction methods are vital to the longevity of the asphalt pavement. In addition, timely preservation treatments, enrichments, and sealing can further strengthen the asphalt. These techniques restore the properties of asphalt, increase waterproofing, and reduce the aging process.
Lastly, keeping the asphalt clean is perhaps the simplest way to keep your asphalt pavement in a pristine state. Garbage, dirty leaves, dirt, and other debris as well as corrosive chemicals can damage the surface and eventually the other layers. As much as possible, check your pavement regularly to identify potential problems such as cracks and potholes. This enables you to reach out to an asphalt paving contractor early, thus avoiding costly damages.