One question we hear a lot is “How durable is asphalt?”. It’s a good question - when you make an investment, you want to know how long it will last, and what it can withstand.
Asphalt is known for its durability. It’s called the perpetual pavement, due to the top surface being able to be continuously replaced. Other surfaces require the original pavement to be ripped out, and then replaced anew.
Most problems can be prevented easily with proper maintenance. All asphalt should be evaluated for seal coating at least every three years to keep it protected from the elements. Any cracks that are spotted should be sealed immediately. If there’s more extensive damage, consider resurfacing the top layer as soon as you can to prevent further damage.
What Can Affect Asphalt Durability?
If you’ve ever wondered what causes potholes, the answer is water. Water gets under - or even in - the pavement, degrading the area and wearing it away. This can be prevented by maintaining cracks, and wear and tear, as well as making sure the area has proper grading. You never want the water to be draining towards your asphalt surface.
Exposure to Extreme Heat and Sun
Like most materials, extreme heat and sun can affect it. While this isn’t something you can prevent, you can ensure you’re doing regular maintenance to counteract that. Speak to someone familiar with your particular climate to know what you should be doing, and how often.
Paving an area and then not maintaining it is a lot like buying a car and then never changing the oil. Improper maintenance can allow asphalt to become dry and brittle, which ultimately weakens it. This can be avoided just by regularly seal coating the asphalt surface.
It’s sad but true - poorly installed asphalt is likely to have structural problems that can affect the asphalt’s durability. One example is having the wrong thickness base. If the base isn’t thick enough to support the amount and types of traffic regularly experienced, the asphalt will experience problems.
What happens when you pave an area too close to large trees? The tree grows, the roots, grow, and before you know it, the roots are growing into your sub base. Once that happens, the cracking of your pavement is likely. When you’re choosing a paving area, make sure to ask your contractor about any close trees so that you can understand if there’s a problem or not.
As you can see, having the proper contractor, and doing regular maintenance can help you easily avoid most problems with asphalt durability.
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