Asphalt is a popular material used in the construction of roads, driveways, and parking lots. Unfortunately, this material can eventually deteriorate over time due to various reasons. Learning about these causes can help you take steps to prevent or delay the deterioration so that you can enjoy your pavement for longer,
This article breaks down the main causes of asphalt deterioration so you can better protect your investment.
One of the most common causes of asphalt deterioration is exposure to UV rays from the sun. This is especially true for pavements that get a lot of direct sunlight.
The UV rays break down the asphalt binder and can cause cracking, crumbling, and discoloration. UV radiation splits the molecules that bind the asphalt particles together, weakening them and causing them to expand and contract with changing temperatures. The resulting cracks continue to extend over time, eventually becoming huge potholes.
To minimize this type of damage, apply a seal coat every few years to provide a barrier against ultraviolet radiation. The coating is basically a layer of asphalt that protects the underlying material from the sun's rays. But you'll first need to repair any existing cracks to ensure the coating is uniform across the entire pavement.
Another major factor that contributes to asphalt deterioration is water damage. Water seeps into small cracks and crevices in the pavement and breaks down the structural integrity of the asphalt surface over time.
The water expands and contracts with changing temperatures, which causes the pavement to crack even further. Eventually, this leads to potholes and other defects you might not notice until it's too late.
Water can also quickly erode asphalt when it is not properly graded. When the pavement isn't flat, water pools in certain areas and erodes the asphalt layer, causing several sunken areas.
To avoid this type of damage, it's important to ensure your pavement is correctly graded and sloped away from buildings and other structures. This is a much more involved job that requires an experienced paving contractor's help.
You also need to regularly inspect your pavement surface for any signs of discoloration, crumbling, and spalling. If necessary, fill any cracks with an appropriate sealant as soon as possible before they worsen over time.
The amount of traffic an asphalt surface experiences will also have an effect on its condition over time. Heavy usage and lack of maintenance can cause rutting, potholes, and other types of long-term damage that are difficult to repair without professional help. Usually, the signs take a while to appear, but you'll be able to spot them if you know what to look for.
Resurfacing your paving surface every few years can help reduce the amount of stress placed on it due to heavy usage. This way, you can preserve the condition of your asphalt surface for a longer period.
Contact an asphalt paving contractor for more information.