Professional Asphalt Installers Explain How Asphalt Deteriorates

asphalt paving installation

Asphalt is one of the most common materials used for driveways, parking lot, city streets, and more. It’s cost-effective in large batches while being inexpensive to make, so it’s the perfect paving material in a wide variety of cases.

However, even if your asphalt was laid by professional asphalt installers, it won’t last forever without maintenance. Asphalt will start to break down over time, due to a variety of factors. These are the biggest dangers to asphalt.

The Four Most Common Causes Of Asphalt Deterioration

  1. Water intrusion

Even with the tar used in its creation, asphalt is porous – meaning that water can easily slip into it. Over time, this can break down the asphalt due to erosion. Additionally, in the winter, water trapped in the asphalt may freeze, which causes the water to expand and cause cracks in the asphalt.

  1. Sunlight

Asphalt can hold up for a while in sunlight, but the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun will eventually start to break down the materials holding asphalt together. In addition, because asphalt is dark-colored, it tends to absorb radiant heat from the sun. This can lead to it softening, on particularly hot days.

  1. Direct damage from use

Asphalt can take a lot of abuse and is suitable for even the heaviest of street-legal vehicles – but all those heavy machines riding on it will eventually take their toll. The constant pressure and friction of vehicles driving on the asphalt will slowly wear it down.

  1. Temperature fluctuations 

If sufficiently hot weather can cause the asphalt to soften, and cold/freezing weather can crack the asphalt due to ice forming inside it, the combination of these factors can be very destructive. Asphalt in areas with frequent swings in temperature will tend to break down more quickly.

The Solution? Asphalt Sealcoating

Sealcoating asphalt is the best way to protect it against most major threats. Sealcoating adds an extra waterproof layer to the outside of the asphalt, which protects it from any liquid intrusion, as well as helps to deflect harmful UV rays. The sealcoating can also help slow down wear and tear from vehicle use.

Sealcoat should be applied around six months after the asphalt is first laid, then re-applied every 2-3 years afterward. This can significantly extend the lifespan of the blacktop, as well as reduce maintenance and repair costs.

Blalock Paving are your experts in concrete, asphalt, and asphalt sealing! Whether you’re installing new blacktop, or need to maintain your existing asphalt, contact us for help!