Top 5 Causes of Asphalt Deterioration
Asphalt is a petroleum-based material commonly used for surfacing roads, driveways, and parking lots and is a mixture of aggregates, binders, and fillers such as bitumen, sand, and gravel. It’s often used because of how cost-effective it is and how it dries very quickly, provides excellent traction, and takes quite a bit of time for it to wear down. Of course, asphalt will eventually show signs of wear and will need to be repaired or replaced. Holes, cracks, and crumbling can become present on the surface of the asphalt. If you’re looking to utilize asphalt restoration or want to prevent issues from occurring, it helps to know the top causes of asphalt deterioration.
Asphalt is a very porous material. When water lands on its surface, it will penetrate to some extent. If the temperature outside is fluctuating, this can lead to expansion and contraction that will actually move the asphalt. As a result, small cracks can form, allowing more moisture to seep in and cause additional problems. The good news is that you can repair minor cracks using asphalt maintenance services to prevent the problem from worsening. While you might not be able to control precipitation or bad weather, you can consider redirecting nearby water sources through drainage or gutters.
Asphalt is extremely durable and can withstand a lot of weight, but constant pressure from heavy vehicles or machinery will take its toll. This is why major roadways and parking lots need to be repaved every few years compared to less frequently traveled roads.
Exposure to the Sun
Sun can damage the surface of asphalt just as it can burn our skin and cause damage. Asphalt is very dark in color, attracting even more sun heat. All of that ultraviolet radiation will quickly cause cracks and disintegration. Asphalt can also soften up when it gets very hot, even years after it’s been installed. This makes it more prone to damage. Some asphalt will fade the more it is exposed to sunlight. You can prevent this damage to a certain extent by having the surface sealed regularly.
It’s common for asphalt to be exposed to a variety of chemicals in high-traffic areas. Products such as gasoline, oil, and other vehicular materials may accumulate from vehicles that are passing over the surface or parking on the asphalt. The stronger a chemical is, the less time it will take for etching and damage to occur. A protective seal coat will add a new layer of protection each year to prevent chemical damage. If you have control over an area like your driveway, try to prevent spills from occurring.
Asphalt is strong by nature, but it doesn’t necessarily hold up well for areas of the country that experience dramatic temperature fluctuations. For example, an area up north like New York will get very high temperatures in the summer months that creep upwards near 100 degrees. In the winter, temperatures can plummet below zero. These fluctuations cause expansion and contraction over time, causing stress and strain on the asphalt, eventually leading to damage. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done to prevent this issue when Mother Nature is to blame, but routine repairs and asphalt maintenance can lengthen the product’s life span. More frequent replacement by way of asphalt paving services may also be needed.
Asphalt breakdown will occur over time; you can’t completely prevent this. However, you can have maintenance and asphalt restoration performed that will lengthen its life span. Southern Asphalt Engineering is a licensed and insured engineering firm serving Miami-Dade & Broward counties that offers roadway and parking lot services in addition to resolving and preventing ADA violations, providing personalized designs, and building and management solutions throughout an entire project. Founded by Jose A. Franco in 1998, Southern Asphalt Engineering is now a go-to asphalt paving company in Miami for property managers and associations to work with. It consists of a team of individuals with more than 50 years of experience in this field of work. You can request an estimate for more information or contact us to inquire about the details of a specific project. Parking lot maintenance, roadways, and driveways are just some of what Southern Asphalt Engineering will tackle.