Before deciding what type of paving material to choose for your paving project, you might have questions regarding asphalt paving material.
Even residents and businesses that have owned asphalt driveways, parking lots, or surfaces don’t know everything about asphalt installation, maintenance, and repair.
We have scoured hundreds of asphalt paving faq entries to find answers for you.
Why choose asphalt for your paving project?
- The majority of communities and government agencies prefer asphalt pavement for their roads because of its durability and performance during heavy traffic conditions with regular asphalt maintenance.
- Asphalt pavements provide a more uniform, smooth road surface that makes the road safe and saves money.
- Pavement designed with asphalt creates quiet and smooth rides with pleasant aesthetic and low rolling resistance.
- Asphalt also has excellent waterproofing, flexibility, and adhesive properties to bind and hold the pavement’s aggregates.
- Here is a fun asphalt pavin faq. What is the most recycled material in the U.S.? The most frequently recycled material in the United States, which is 100% reusable. In potential paving projects, old pavement can be removed, squashed, and blended with fresh asphalt for reuse, lowering its impact on the environment.
- Asphalt pavement is eco-friendly, safe, and tolerates a range of temperatures and weather conditions.
- Asphalt is used more frequently than other surface types because it is more cost-effective with regular asphalt maintenance. In many areas, a square foot of concrete is nearly twice the price of a square foot of asphalt.
How long do asphalt surfaces last?
Another common asphalt paving faq asked by many has to do with longevity.
An asphalt pavement’s expected lifespan depends on various factors, such as installation quality, weather, adequate maintenance, type of materials, and much more.
Most asphalt types offer almost 90% of their original structural integrity level after ten years. fter twenty years, the pavement will only have 55% of its original durability. Correctly maintained asphalt pavement surfaces could last 20-30 years.
How long does asphalt take to dry?
We have been asked this about asphalt roads, parking lots, and asphalt driveways.
Asphalt drying time is influenced by many factors such as weather and the thickness of the asphalt pavement.
Paving experts suggest 48 to 72 hours as the optimal time to allow vehicle traffic on your newly paved driveway. You may choose to wait longer during hot weather.
How long does asphalt take to cure?
Is curing the same as drying? Although not a common asphalt paving faq, curing is not the same as drying.
Asphalt curing means the time the material needs its molecules to fuse and the oxidation to complete.
On the other hand, drying means when your asphalt driveway or pavement is ready to endure vehicle and foot traffic without suffering damage.
Asphalt is an oil-based product,so it doesn’t fully cure until all the liquid in the mix hardens. The curing process can take 6 to 12 months or even longer.
How are asphalt surfaces installed?
You may find it challenging to install asphalt yourself but understanding the installation process will ensure it is done correctly by your hired contractor.
There are several methods a contractor can use to install asphalt :
REMOVE THE EXISTING PAVEMENT AND INSTALL A NEW AGGREGATE BASE.
The best method is to install a new aggregate base for the asphalt.
Any hot asphalt mix can be partially replaced by an aggregate base.
Typically, a six to eight inches of aggregate would be placed under three inches of asphalt paving mix.
REMOVE AN EXISTING ASPHALT PAVEMENT AND PAVE ON THE SOIL.
A faster and less costly asphalt installation method is to completely remove the current pavement.
When removal is complete, four to six inches iof hot asphalt mix is placed directlyon top of the soil. The soil option is not as reliable as using an aggregate base.
Are there any helpful maintenance tips for asphalt?
The best answer to this is proper asphalt maintenance is more of a program combining several tips.
A proper asphalt maintenance program includes removing oil stains and weeds, sweeping, preventative crack filling, pothole repair, and seal coating.
- Oil spots are a typical issue that your roadways and parking lots may encounter.
Before sealing, these areas need to be handled; otherwise, the oil and chemicals can seep through the freshly applied material, making the sealed surface inefficient.
- Remove grasses and weeds. Parking lots and driveways that are poorly maintained will cause the grasses to often grow up through the cracks. So, ensure you clean the cracks before sealing them.
- Pavement Sweeping: While most people don’t think of sweeping in an asphalt paving faq, it is one of the first things necessary before paving can begin. After pavement installation, regular sweeping protects the pavement. Sand and grit that accumulate over time are abrasive and will eventually wear away the surface.
- Crack Sealing: Cracks should be the first thing addressed when scheduling maintenance. Cracks ¼ inch or larger should be cleaned with high-pressure air and then sealed with a hot rubber crack sealer fortified with polymer.
- Seal coating: Protective seal coating will significantly extend the life of pavements. Seal coating is critical for eliminating the damaging effects of the sun, oxidation, and water. Most experts recommend seal coating asphalt every few years.
What is asphalt sealcoating?
One of the more typical asphalt paving faqs’ involves explaining what seal coating is and why it is necessary.
What is seal coating? Asphalt seal coating is a preventative treatment intended to ensure maximum asphalt pavement longevity.
Seal coating helps seal small cracks in the surface that could become larger cracks.
Seal coating helps keep water from permeating tasphalt. Seal coating also restores the dark color of fresh asphalt.
Why seal coating is necessary. Seal coating protects and preserves the structural integrity of your asphalt pavement.
Once cracks have been repaired, you need to follow up with seal coating. Seal coating provides a protective barrier against water, salt, gasoline, and oils.
Think of seal coating as insurance.
Seal coating fills surface voids and helps prevent oxidation or fading due to excess sun exposure.
When seal coating, the temperature and weather dictate the best time it should be performed.
How often should I seal coat my asphalt surface?
After explaining what seal coating is, the next asphalt paving faq regarding seal coating involves its durability.
After the initial seal coat application, seal coating should be performed every 24 to 36 months.
Seal coating shouldn’t be applied immediately after paving.
It would be ideal if you let your newly paved parking lot, road, or driveway cure for an entire year before seal coating it.
What causes asphalt to fail?
One of the more interesting asphalt paving faqs we have received is what causes asphalt to fail.
Assuming that the initial asphalt pavement was designed and constructed properly, the primary cause of failure is the penetration of water into the asphalt base.
Asphalt failure often begins with the oxidation of an untreated pavement surface which causes the asphalt to become dry and brittle.
The top layer of fine particles erodes, exposing the larger aggregate and leading to small cracks on the surface.
These cracks will grow if left untreated, allowing water to penetrate to the base of the pavement.
When water enters the base of the pavement, the base material shifts and settles leading to further cracking and a depression in the surface. As water pools in the depressed area, the asphalt further deteriorates and becomes unstable. When the pavement reaches this stage, removal and replacement of the old asphalt is often the only remedy.
What issues are common for asphalt pavements?
(1) Longitudinal and Block cracks
- Longitudinal cracks show up in a long, straight line on asphalt.
- Block cracks take a rectangular or square shape and can intersect at right angles.
We receive many questions regarding cracking.
Cracks in an asphalt pavement allow water to seep into the underlying soil or aggregate.
When exposed to winter weather the pavement collects water inside the asphalt that freezes and thaws repeatedly, causing the expansion and contraction of cracks.
The cracks widen and break up the surrounding asphalt. Before you know it, the potential for slips-and-falls or other injuries exists.
It is crucial to perform asphalt crack sealing as soon as feasible.
When cracks are less than one-inch wide, sealing them help prevent water infiltration.
If left untreated, water permeates through openings in the asphalt and erodes the sub-base.
Sealing the crack is the best defense and the most cost-effective prevention against further damage. It helps prevent water from seeping into the base and destroying the asphalt.
(2) Alligator Cracking
Alligator Cracking is a pattern of interconnected lines or cracks that signal structural failure.
This cracking typically begins as lengthy cracks, which will eventually spread and deteriorate into alligator cracking.
Like rutting, cracking comes from a surface or base that is too thin or weak layers of top asphalt, base, or subgrade.
An asphalt paving faq we have commented on is how to repair alligator cracking.
If alligator cracking is caught early on, cracks can often be filled with crack seal material and seal coated to protect against moisture.
Once cracks deteriorate to Alligator Cracking, the only accurate repair is removing the asphalt and base and repaving.
Potholes are bowl-shaped cavities that result from the localized break-up of the pavement. Here is a little-known asphalt paving faq. Moisture is the leading cause of pavement deterioration. Rainwater seeps into small cracks in the asphalt and puddles between the asphalt layer and the road. Low temperatures freeze the water, forcing the asphalt upwards.
Once the ice thaws, the water is absorbed into the weakened roadbed and leaves behind a cavity. Vehicle traffic breaks the surface apart and pushes it down into the weakened roadbed. Larger cracks and potholes form when the crumbling asphalt fills the cavity.
We have addressed pothole repair in a prior asphalt paving faq. If you have existing potholes or widespread cracking, these areas can be filled or patched using premium hot or cold mix asphalt.
Rutting is funneled tire ruts in an asphalt road surface that occur over a period from surpassed weight limits and incorrect base design. Rutting is caused by multiple vehicles driving on the roadway over an extended period. The result is visible areas of degradation where tires travel most frequently.
If rutting develops in an asphalt road surface, the foundation must be fixed or restructured to allow heavy vehicle traffic. Pavement rutting indicates that the road surface needs to be replaced.
Which is Better: to Replace or Repair Asphalt?
Repair or replace is sometimes challenging to give a definitive answer to. It’s a tough decision as to whether you should have your asphalt pavement resurfaced or have it entirely replaced. The primary factor for you to consider is the age of your asphalt surface. If your asphalt surface is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, it makes sense to go ahead and install a new one.
How much repair your asphalt surface needs is another factor to consider. If your driveway is in serious need of repair, it can be more affordable to replace it than try to fix each problem.
Hopefully, this asphalt paving faq and answers have addressed your concerns about asphalt paving. Asphalt is durable, flexible, solid, and when used to build a pavement, it can last for a surprising number of years. Regular maintenance plays a crucial role in how long an asphalt pavement will serve you. If you plan an asphalt paving project for your commercial or residential property, it is best to use a professional contractor. They are experts in the field of pavement and can recommend the best solution for your pavement needs.