Asphalt is one of the most common materials used for residential driveways and commercial parking lots. While asphalt is a good choice for many reasons, there are still a few factors that can affect the longevity of your driveway or asphalt surface. From installation errors to environmental impacts, the only way to protect your asphalt is with sealcoating. Applying this every few years can help protect your driveway from the severity of some of these forces. Our crew is available for all your Monmouth County sealcoating needs. Be sure to call us today to find out more.
Main Environmental Impacts
There are a few natural forces that can impact your asphalt surface. Some can be deflected a bit with some work. However, all of the negative effects can be greatly reduced with an application of sealcoating every three to five years.
Primarily water run-off. For example, if your downspout and/or splash block are not directing water away from your driveway, the constant flow can eventually wear away the asphalt in that area. In addition to this, asphalt itself is a porous substance. Meaning, it will absorb a certain amount of water when it rains or is cleaned. This can eventually soften the base and cause cracks under pressure. Another effect that water has on asphalt is that it hardens the bitumen. Bitumen is the element that gives asphalt its elasticity. When the elasticity is gone, asphalt can get dry and brittle and crack easily.
Freezing and Thawing
An additional impact that water retention can have on an asphalt surface is a freeze and thaw cycle. This can exacerbate even the smallest cracks making them increasingly larger over time. You might notice that potholes can be more frequent and larger in colder weather. This is due to the constant freezing and thawing, expanding and contracting, which creates cracks. These cracks lead to potholes. Small cracks and imperfections can be fixed and repaired. However, when you do not address them or the cause of them, they will become too severe for patching. At this point, the whole surface will need to be completely reconstructed.
Monmouth County Sealcoating Can Protect Against Sun Damage
Most driveways and asphalt surfaces are uncovered. Most do not have roofs or awnings to protect them from the damaging sun rays. Daily exposure to the sun can dry out the bitumen, similar to water exposure. Oxidation from the UV rays turns asphalt brittle. It is easy to see this process in action because oxidized bitumen turns asphalt gray. This means that any asphalt surface that has a faded appearance has already suffered the effects of sun damage.
Other Factors That Can Damage Your Asphalt
While the environment plays a huge factor in an asphalt surfaces longevity because there is little you can do to stop them. You can merely protect against them. However, there are other influences that can negatively impact your surface and make repairs and replacement a necessity.
This can range from using the wrong grade of asphalt for the job or just simply doing a poor job at installing it. There are different grades of asphalt mixes for different uses. The mix used for a driveway, for example, will not hold up to the same use and weight as the mix used for an industrial parking lot.
Vehicles and Heavy Loads
There is typically a certain way you pull in and out of your driveway. This repetitive motion day after day can weaken that track in the asphalt causing sinking and ruts. In addition, asphalt can soften in the areas in contact with the tires when a vehicle is parked. This is particularly true in hot weather. High temperatures can soften asphalt making it vulnerable to distortion.
Liquids like petroleum and oil can cause asphalt to disintegrate. Just as water and oxidation can dry out the bitumen causing brittle asphalt, chemicals can cause similar damage. Luckily, this is an item that you can take steps to prevent. For one, it is imperative to clean up any spills on the asphalt. The clean-up process depends on the material spilled so be sure to check with the manufacturer on proper clean-up protocol. The longer a chemical is allowed to sit on the surface of the asphalt, the deeper it will begin to seep. The deeper the chemical gets, the deeper the damage goes as well. Second, if a leak is noticed in a vehicle, get it fixed immediately or park on something to protect your driveway from further damage. Lastly, the best way to protect against chemicals, and all negative forces is to sealcoat your asphalt surface.
Monmouth County Sealcoating is Here to Save the Asphalt
Sealcoating asphalt can protect the integrity of the surface for much longer than unprotected asphalt. It does as just what its name implies. It provides a sealant and coating to form a protective barrier against the harmful forces we just reviewed. Applying sealcoating every two to five years is recommended, depending on grade, usage, and exposure. This can be a laborious, difficult, and messy process. Plus, just like asphalt, sealcoating has different grades. Using the incorrect one could do more harm than good. When your asphalt is ready for a new protective layer, give us a call.