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The Deterioration of Asphalt Pavement

asphalt paving deteriorationAsphalt has been used as a building material for thousands of years, and for good reason –  It’s one of the most durable building components around. Still, even the most durable building materials are susceptible to deterioration, and such is the case with asphalt paving. The life of asphalt pavement can be cut short due to poor installation, or over exposure to the elements without proper asphalt pavement maintenance.

The certain demise of asphalt pavement

No matter how good of a job the asphalt paving contractor does at installing the pavement, and no matter how much the pavement is maintained, deterioration is inevitable, to a degree.

Asphalt deterioration begins immediately. Even in standard conditions, significant deterioration can begin to take place after the first couple years. Around this time, asphalt starts to turn gray and begins cracking. Water seeps into the cracks, freezes, and thaws during the yearly cycle, causing larger cracks. The liquid asphalt binder starts to lose it’s water-resistance properties, and this is how water is able to penetrate the asphalt, causing it a great deal of wear and tear.

When asphalt pavement is properly maintained, it wears out slowly but can last more than 25 years. Water is not the only element that kills asphalt though. Sunlight dries out flexible liquid asphalt that holds the rocks together, causing cracking. Chemical exposure is another asphalt killer – gas and oil can soften asphalt causing it to deteriorate more quickly.

Asphalt pavement deterioration due to paving contractor errors

Although the deterioration of asphalt pavement will happen eventually, errors in construction can certainly speed up this process. There are a number of things that paving contractors can do wrong that might cause an asphalt paving project to fail. These errors include over or under compaction of the asphalt, improperly compacted base, improper asphalt temperature, poor drainage, amoung other things.

Other causes of asphalt pavement deterioration

landscaping irrigation around the asphalt can cause water run-off which can eventually lead to erosion. Heavy stationary and heavy slow-moving vehicles can also lead to a great deal of stress on asphalt paving.

Types of asphalt deterioration

Distortion – This is often caused by improper pavement construction, and it includes corrugations and shoving, channels or ruts, and grade depressions.

Disintegration – Types of asphalt deterioration includes potholes and gas and oil spills.

Cracking – The most common type of asphalt deterioration, cracking comes in many forms, and takes on many names: shrinkage, reflection, edge joint, alligatoring, etc.

Proper asphalt maintenance

As we laid the ground work earlier, proper asphalt pavement maintenance is key to giving it a long and healthy lifespan. Asphalt paving ought to be treated with a coal tar-based sealant within 2-3 months from the day of application.

As you can see, there are many causes or asphalt deterioration. Most of the time, weathering is primarily to blame, but as we have seen, human error and vehicle stress can cause wear and tear to asphalt, as well. Understanding the type of deterioration your asphalt is experiencing is critical in getting at the cause, so that it can be properly treated. All in all though, a periodic application of asphalt sealant is the best way to keep it strong and healthy.

If you’re interested in having your facility equipped with asphalt paving, don’t hesitate to contact Dykes Paving. We also specialize in Asphalt paving overlay – we invented Perma Flex paving. Call today to discuss!

Eco-Friendliness is everywhere these days, and for good reason. It’s no wonder we’ve even developed “recycled asphalt,” as roads and parking lots are some of our most vital parts of modern society. Although newly laid recycled asphalt might look and feel a tad bit different than its traditional counterpart, you’ll be saving money and the environment, simultaneously.

As we just stated, recycled asphalt is obviously good for the environment. Asphalt is made from oil, which is a non-renewable resource and it can also be quite dangerous to extract.  Recycling used asphalt reduces the amount of new oil byproduct needed, and it also might reduce dependence on foreign oil. Recycling asphalt also cuts down on transportation costs needed to bring in new materials.

asphalt paving

Recycled asphalt can be mixed into “hot mix” and “cold mix” paving applications, which is certainly a great benefit for paving contractors. The reuse of asphalt for fill, base or embankment asphalt paving projects can definitely save paving contractors money and materials, allowing for better roads, parking lots, etc.

Since asphalt is derived from petroleum, its cost is relative to the constantly changing prices of the market. Old asphalt is readily available to be pulled up or processed on site. Up to 25 percent of asphalt material in some states is made up of recycled asphalt. And, the Federal Highway Administration has research projects testing mixes of up to 50 percent. All in all, recycled asphalt saves money. Did you know that about 90 million tons of asphalt are recycled annually? This saves taxpayers hundreds of million of dollars each year. When asphalt is recycled, everyone wins: paving contractors, tax payers, and the planet as a whole.

Now that you’re aware of all of the amazing benefits of recycled asphalt, here’s some basic instructions for laying it (in case you ever get your hands on some, and want to do it yourself). Still, for the best results, it’s highly recommended that you contact your local paving contractors.

Step 1: Clear Area of Debris

Clear the soon-to-be-paved area of any pebbles, branches, or leaves that might be in the way.

Step 2: Make a Smooth Surface

Break up any large clumps of earth with your shovel, and subsequently, smooth out the surface with the rake, until your left with a smooth surface – ready to be paved.

Step 3: Lay the Recycled Asphalt

Lay the recycled asphalt across the area you wish to pave, so that you’re left with an even layer of around an inch.

Step 4: Tamp down the Recycled Asphalt

Do this with a hand tamper – hitting every square inch with a great deal of force to compact the layer of asphalt the best you can.

Step 5: Steam Roll

After your tamping is complete, use a steam roller to roll over, and further compress the recycled asphalt. This will help it in melting together so it can harden into a durable recycled asphalt surface.

Step 6: Curing

Allow at least 24 hours for your asphalt surface to cure.

If you’re interested in having your facility paved with eco-friendly recycled asphalt, don’t hesitate to contact Dykes Paving. We’re a premier paving company in Atlanta!