Five Enemies Of Asphalt Pavement And How To Fight Them Off

Asphalt Enemy #1: Surface Water

Most asphalt surfaces are designed to sweep water away from high traffic areas because standing surface water can wreak havoc. If an asphalt driveway, parking lot or roadway is not properly maintained, surface water can weaken the pavement, causing cracks to expand and encouraging the formation of potholes.

Regular sealcoating applications can help keep out surface water and prevent cracks and potholes from forming. Sealcoating a thin liquid layer added over a paved surface to protect it from damage caused by UV rays, rain and snow, and vehicle fluids. Properly applying a sealcoat is important to extend the life of asphalt paving.

Asphalt Enemy #2: Sunlight

You can think of sunlight on asphalt pavement in the same way you think of ultraviolet (UV) rays on your skin; you need protection! While you slather on the sunscreen, you should arm your asphalt with a protective sealcoating every 3-5 years to help protect it from damaging UV rays.

From surface water to sunlight, from fuel to oil, sealcoating is an easy method to prevent surface damage to your asphalt pavement. Learn seven cost saving sealcoating facts you likely didn’t know.

Asphalt Enemy #3: Heavy Trucks and Vehicles

The weight of heavy trucks on asphalt can negatively impact your asphalt pavement. Heavy trucks can increase rutting and pavement deterioration along wheel paths. This can substantially decrease the durability and lifespan of certain areas of a roadway or parking lot. Damage is more prevalent in areas where heavy vehicles are driving slowly, where they stop or slow down, and lastly, where heavy vehicles may be parked.

Working with an experienced asphalt pavement contractor to install your asphalt is an important consideration to improve the lifespan and durability of your asphalt surface. A reputable contractor will have experience working on roadways and parking lots with heavy vehicle traffic and will offer you advice on how to combat the damage caused by such vehicles.

Simple considerations like designing a parking lot that limits heavy vehicle traffic to one area or installing thicker asphalt in truck bays where heavy vehicles park, can make a big difference in saving you from costly repairs.

Asphalt Enemy #4: Fuel and Oil

Fuel and oil can quickly deteriorate your asphalt pavement surface. Sealcoating applications do not stick to vehicle fluid on an asphalt surface, so you loose a layer of protection. In addition, over time the fuel and oil begin to penetrate the surface and can break up the aggregates of the asphalt. Eventually, the surface may begin to crumble and you may see some depressions begin to form. If it is not repaired, the surface will further deteriorate and you may get a softening of the asphalt. The longer you let fuel and oil penetrate your surface, the more costly the repairs become.

In the same way you regularly inspect and repair your vehicle, you should make it a priority to regularly inspect and repair your asphalt pavement surface. In fact, preventative maintenance can save you time and money in the long run. If you notice vehicle fluids building up on your asphalt, you can try simple DIY steps to clean your asphalt at a minimal cost. If you wait until the fuel and oil have penetrated your asphalt, you are looking at replacing the entire section of asphalt, at a much higher cost.

Asphalt Enemy #5: Tree Roots

In a battle between asphalt and tree roots, tree roots will almost always win. Tree roots are constantly seeking out water and can extend 50 – 75 feet out from the trunk, often just feet below ground level. Placing any type of surface over tree roots can restrict water access for the roots and can mean cracks, bumps and heaving as the roots seek out water and try to grow.

Hiring an experienced contractor who has worked on driveways, parking lots and roadways with a canopy of trees overhead, can make a big difference. Your contractor can work with you to understand how to attain your desired result and maintain the natural landscape. Their experience can help guide you in the possible solutions for your particular property, like including a tree root barrier or removing portions of roots where necessary.

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