Winter Asphalt Maintenance Solutions

Chilly winter season is the time for snowfall, and places like sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways become filled with snow. The asphalt is one area that snow hits very hard, making it a very complicated situation to deal with.

When an asphalt surface is exposed to snow, in addition to normal wear and tear, it can break down leading to cracking, potholes, and sometimes worse. Nonetheless, not all hope is lost there are preventive maintenance measures that can make your asphalt surfaces last longer. Here’s a look into some of the major winter asphalt maintenance solutions.

Use of Deicers

When it comes to melting snow, deicers like road salt do a perfect job for winter asphalt maintenance. Unfortunately, when asphalt already has cracks or weakness, chemical deicers can damage it quickly. Nonetheless, if you are considering repaving your parking lot after the winter season, you can go ahead and use the road salt this winter season.


Aside from beautifying your asphalt pavement, sealcoating also increases the lifespan of the pavement. You should seal coat to ensure your asphalt is protected from water penetration, ultraviolet light, and chemical attack. If you leave the asphalt untreated and never seal coated, oxidation will begin to happen, causing the asphalt to dry. Consequently, it will become brittle, resulting in the erosion of the topmost layer and the appearance of small cracks on the surface.

If you seal coat according to manufacturer’s instructions, you will save a significant amount of money, as compared to if you chose to replace or repair damaged asphalt. A nice deep-black seal coat, finished with crisp marking paint, can add to the striking appearance of your property.

Crack Sealing

With crack sealing, you can prevent water and other elements from percolating into cracks, where it will freeze and expand. This simple maintenance procedure can significantly extend the lifespan of your parking lot. In this process, you are required to blow out, clean, and then refill the cracks with one among the different varieties of cements, emulsions, or asphalt-variants that prevents water intrusion.

Sand Spreading

While sand does not melt snow like deicers, it provides traction for vehicles. It can cause less damage to the asphalt as compared to road salt. However, if it gets into the cracks, it can be damaging.

Asphalt Patching

Potholes are not only eyesores, but also a sign of underlying parking lot issues. If not addressed in time, the issues could escalate, particularly with the cold weather. You can fix potholes in two different ways:

  • Cold Patch
  • Hot Mix

Cold patch is a temporary fix, while Hot Mix is a more permanent fix.

Pre-emptive Asphalt Maintenance

Aside from preventative asphalt maintenance practices, you can choose to be proactive during bad weather. This means that you should regularly plough, shovel, or clear the parking lots. Regular clearing of snow will help avert the development of icy and slippery, wet asphalt. However, you should keep in mind that sometimes the snowstorm can be extremely bad that you can’t keep the ice away even with proactive asphalt maintenance.

 You certainly have seen a parking lot that looked perfectly fine before winter struck, only to emerge in the spring looking dull and cracked. Maintaining your parking lot all year round can help avert winter related damages.

Preventative Parking Lot Maintenance, done by professionals, is the most cost-efficient solution to maximize asphalt life while minimizing risk. Therefore, if you want to make the best of your asphalt parking lot, sidewalks, among other areas, then you need to get in touch with Dykes Paving.



Temperature fluctuations, snowfall, and plowing are all hard on asphalt paving. Over time these extreme temperature swings coupled with the everyday wear-and-tear from vehicles can cause asphalt to develop fissures or even dangerous potholes.

These potholes are bad enough in their own right, but when left untreated they can create even larger vulnerabilities. So, when are potholes most likely to develop and worsen?

You tend to notice a lot of potholes in the latter part of winter as well as the beginning of the spring season as this is the time of the year in which asphalt is combating the heaviest amounts of excess water and thawing.

Too much water and extreme temperature fluctuations don’t do any favors to asphalt, yet there is something you can do about damage that’s already occurred.

Cold Mix Asphalt for Potholes 

Cold mix asphalt is made in pug mills by combining asphalt emulsions with aggregates designed to increase the integrity of your asphalt.

Because cold mix asphalt can be made to provide a coarser, stonier asphalt binder with a very high load factor or be used as a base or leveler, cold mix asphalt makes a great all-purpose material to work with. Cold mix is also extremely ego-friendly.

  • Proven track record

For this reason, cold mix asphalt is also ideal for filling in potholes. Cold mix asphalt is actually quite flexible yet, because of how it’s constructed, also extremely durable and resistant to damage from the freeze-thaw cycle that can ravage your property in the late winter and early spring.

Cold mix asphalt already has a long track record of being used for temporary patching, even in the winter time. One of the reasons that many engineers and paving services actually prefer cold mix to hot mix asphalt is that cold mix can be used at lower temperatures and stored for later use if needed.

Whenever hot mix asphalt is hard to come by, or when conditions drop below a certain temperature, cold mix asphalt is the go-to material for maintaining roads and filling in potholes, especially from November to February.

  • How it works

Because cold mix asphalt combines bitumen emulsion, cold aggregates designed for tough conditions, and even anti-stripping materials, it can be used in a wider range of weather conditions.

Not only that – cold mix asphalt is seen as easier to work with and more flexible than its hot mix counterpart due to the fact that cold mix asphalt has a longer cure time.

Although cold mix asphalt is already lab designed and tested to provide the best combination of flexibility and durability, different additives can be combined to the mix in order to render cold mix asphalt the perfect solution for your next project.

Cold mix asphalt can even be formulated to provide a long-term solution to improving the integrity of rural roads and parking lots to their original condition. In short, cold mix asphalt is very ease to work with, durable and can even be stored for months until you need another pothole filled.

  • Cold mix exceeds expectations

Some people might be wondering about how cold mix asphalt holds up against hot mix asphalt in terms of meeting design guidelines.

Know that cold mix asphalt is resilient to cracking and fatigue and even has the capacity to self-heal. In addition, cold mix asphalt can be formulated to match the high AASHTO standards established for hot mix asphalt.

Make sure to regularly check your parking lot or home driveway for fissures and potholes. Too many potholes can even be a sign that your asphalt needs a sealcoating or routine spring maintenance. Contact us today to make sure your free of potholes and you have a grade A driveway or parking lot.

Texture of cracked pavementAsphalt may seem incredibly strong – and it is for the most part – but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its weaknesses. This is especially true as the seasons change due to the fact that asphalt is sensitive to both cold and hot temperatures. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that you take care of your property’s asphalt through the use of asphalt resurfacing and rehabilitation whenever it is required.

How cold temperatures affect asphalt

When winter comes, the temperatures often drop to a point where freezing occurs both below and above the asphalt, which can result in cracks occurring. When cracks occur, water can seem into the asphalt. This is a serious issue during the winter months, since the water that has penetrated the asphalt can then freeze if it gets cold enough. You can imagine what happens next – since water expands when it freezes, the asphalt will split even further, which can result in the beginning of a pothole.

How hot temperatures affect asphalt

Just because you live in a warmer climate does not mean that your asphalt won’t be affected by extreme temperatures. Heat can cause cracks as well, which can result in water seeping in. The water may not damage the asphalt in the same way that it can if it freezes due to cold temperatures, but it can damage the asphalt by eroding the sub-surface layers. This results in an air gap forming within the pavement. If the pavement above these sub-surface gaps experiences any pressure, such as the weight of a vehicle passing over it, the top layer of the asphalt will sag, collapse and then crumble, thereby forming a pothole.

How rain affects asphalt

There tends to be more rain during certain times of the year, such as the fall and spring seasons. Like we mentioned previously, if your asphalt has any cracks, it becomes even more vulnerable to rain since water can then penetrate the asphalt and cause serious issues later on. However, steeper terrain can impact the erosion of asphalt as well. If the asphalt is at a steep elevation, then rain can wash away the liquid asphalt little by little over time, leaving behind only bare rock and aggregate. The aggregates and asphalt are then more likely to break off and end up run-off, storm drains and gutters. What exactly is liquid asphalt? Basically, it’s a petroleum based product that is used to bond together aggregates, such as stone and rock, that form the asphalt.

Preventing the seasons from damaging your asphalt

As you can see, your asphalt can be seriously damaged due to the weather, whether it’s the heat, the cold or even the rain. To prevent serious damage from occurring, you should seal your asphalt every few years in order to protect the surface layer. This will help to keep water from penetrating the asphalt and add an extra layer of protection against extreme temperatures.

Additionally, any cracks and holes that do form should be repaired immediately. Not only do they negatively affect the curb appeal of your property and create a safety hazard for both pedestrians and drivers, but asphalt cracks and holes will only worsen over time. The quicker you fix even the smallest crack, the less of a chance that water will penetrate the asphalt and that the crack will grow even more.

If it’s about time to reseal your property’s asphalt, or if you have identified cracks or holes in your asphalt that requires resurfacing and rehabilitation, then contact us at Dykes Paving today for more information about our asphalt resurfacing and rehabilitation services.

asphaltYour parking lot is one of the first things that people will see when visiting your business. If it is filled with litter and/or other debris, it is certain to make the wrong impression. Moreover, poorly maintained asphalt is far more likely to deteriorate before its time than is asphalt that is diligently cleaned. It is also important to note that having a clean parking lot is a vital part of building and maintaining a trustworthy brand. Given the tremendous impact that this area can have on your business and on your long-term spending, the costs of having these important services performed will invariably pay for themselves. Following are several important reasons to have your parking lot cleaned right now.

Create A Welcoming And Safe Environment For Consumers

People are more likely to visit your establishment and spend money if you work hard to create an exterior environment that is both warm and welcoming. Leaving rubbish out in front of your business tells people that you don’t care about what they think or about how comfortable they are when leaving their cars.

Limit Your Company’s Impact On The Natural Environment

Not all of the debris that accumulates in parking areas is biodegradeable or safe for the environment. Metal particulates, hazardous chemicals and other potentially dangerous debris can be kept from washing into local waterways through ongoing maintenance. With visible efforts to show locals that you care about the environment, you can build a better and more appealing brand.

Eliminate Trip And Fall Hazards

Companies have a higher likelihood of personal injury lawsuits when their parking lots are dirty. Massive amounts of debris can make paved surfaces difficult to navigate both by car and on foot. Cleaning litter up will eliminate trip and fall hazards and reduce the occurrence of driving accidents on your property.

Improved Drainage Will Extend The Lifetime Of Your Asphalt

Accumulations of debris can block nearby drainage systems causing water to pool on paved surfaces. Standing water will expedite the breakdown of the asphalt in your parking lot, thereby increasing the frequency with which these surfaces need to be replaced. Litter removal will free up drainage systems; and keep your paved surfaces clean, dry and less likely to sustain an undue amount of wear and tear.

Routine Maintenance Will Limit The Presence Of Pests

The garbage that is tossed in your parking areas can be very attractive to pests. Cleaning this mess up will limit the presence of rodents, raccoon, stray cats and dogs and a host of annoying insects. If allowed to feed these pests can:

  • Cause extensive property damage by building nests and chewing holes in structural materials
  • Scare your customers off
  • Create health violations
  • Produce massive populations that prove very difficult to get rid of

Limit Surface Erosion

Sweeping up abrasive debris will additionally reduce ongoing wear and tear on your paved surfaces that will gradually take a toll. Much like standing pools of water break asphalt down, the friction that is caused when vehicles are driven over abrasive materials will diminish the structural integrity and overall appeal of your parking area.

Keeping your parking lot clean will help you attract and retain more customers. It will also allow you to preserve the value, appeal and integrity of you property exterior while protecting the environment and preventing pest problems. If your parking lot isn’t in top condition, it’s time to hire a contractor from Dykes to put this area in order. Contact us right now to get the help you need.

Did you know that blacktop pavement could often last 20 years or more? You may not have because the mental image that comes into many business owner’s and property manager’s heads when you mention blacktop is fissures or cracks. This isn’t how blacktop should be.

Sealed Blacktop’s Reliability and Cost-Efficiency 

Blacktop – a.k.a., asphalt concrete or tarmac – is a mineral composite that lasts longest when laid and layered by resurfacing professionals.

Asphalt itself is a very reliable surface when sealed properly, yet things that property managers and business owners have to deal with every day can wear down blacktop.

What are some of these factors? Having your blacktop salted in the winter to prevent collisions and fender benders can erode blacktop over time if it’s not sealed properly. Certain industrial chemicals, which can actually be pretty common on a job site, as well as oil and other car fluids can deteriorate blacktop as well.

Damage from the sun is another big issue that property owners have with unsealed blacktop. As simple as it seems the day-in-day-out beating that the sun dishes out on your pavement takes a toll and can eventually lead to cracks and your blacktop’s premature aging.

How Does Blacktop Respond to Stressors? 

What often happens is that tiny cracks created by the sun’s rays, salt or industrial fluids turn into larger cracks as rain slips into the crack.

To make matters worse, if the temperature ever dips below freezing, then the water expands and the crack becomes even more unmanageable. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, and sealing your blacktop keeps this problem from even arising in the first place.

Bearing in mind all of the factors that can threaten the health of your blacktop, you might want to know how often you need to seal your asphalt pavement and if the whole process is complicated.

In Georgia where the main threat to a healthy blacktop surface is heat and the sun rather than freezing temperatures and the thawing process, you may want to consider resealing your blacktop every four to five years.

A side benefit to getting your blacktop resealed, aside from the obvious perks of your site looking more professional and being safer for clients, is that you won’t have to worry about jostling around in your car or your clients damaging their vehicles.

Sealed Correctly the First Time 

Especially for hot climates like Georgia’s, sealing blacktop becomes a necessity and even saves money over the long term. The fact is that unsealed blacktop just doesn’t look as good a few years down the line.

Other consequences: safety issues and a reduction in property value. To keep your property safe, lucrative and looking great, you want the first thing that customers see when they pull in to your property to make a good impression.

Having your blacktop professionally sealed right off the bat hugely increases your chances of having a clean, smooth blacktop surface decades down the line. The fact that over 90% of parking lots in the United States use blacktop is a testament that its cost-efficiency, safety and reliability.

Get in Touch with Dykes Paving 

Sealing your blacktop and getting it right the first time or resealing your asphalt pavement to prolong the benefits is a huge cost saver over the long term and an insurance policy against the risk of having to repave entirely later on.

Professional contractors are standing by to help you install, seal or reseal your asphalt pavement. Contact Dykes Paving today to find out more.

Georgia has a high Ultra-Violet index meaning that sun rays hit the surface of cement and asphalt most of the year. The average daily UV index rating for July is 8 to 10, which is very high. This shows up as a red on most charts that monitor the UV’s. This can create problems during the hottest days of summer for asphalt parking areas and streets.Sunflower

There are several ways to seal the asphalt in a driveway or parking area that will protect it from intense UV rays that can cause crack lines. (It’s similar to applying sun block on your skin.) You do not want the surface to dry out or crack. This can allow water to seep in under the
asphalt and lead to more surface fractures. A good sealer will protect against pitting and cracking that can require a completely new surface.

To begin with, the surface of the asphalt must always stay clean. Rocks, pebbles, leafs, twigs and dirt should be removed. The surface can be pressure washed to get rid of this residue along with oil and fuel drips. The surface must be cleaned before sealing.

Basic seal coats

A basic sealing coat should be applied to the asphalt area once a year before the intense heat of the summer. This overlay coating has anti-oxidants that will make it impervious to water damage and pitting from rock pebbles. It will work with the high average July UV rating.

Slurry sealers

This is a heavier seal coating that contains more aggregate. It will smooth out bumpy areas while it seals any cracks or fine lines that may have developed with continued use. This sealer is good for traffic areas that get heavy trucks that can ultimately cause fissures. A slurry seal requires 24 hours to completely dry and cure.


This sealer sets up quickly. It contains more polymer and aggregate along with more asphalt residue in a slurry mix. It can last longer than a plain slurry sealer. The cold mix expansion product contains fast setting chemicals and the best aggregate compound.

Microsurfacing was developed in Germany to resurface the Autobahn that was continually torn up with wheel ruts from heavy, high-speed traffic. This product is a more expensive than other slurry sealers but it may be the better value based on your traffic patterns.

Tire rubber modified surface sealer

This is known as TRMSS, a rubberized sealer. The sealer replaces oils that have dried out in the asphalt along with aggregate needed to cover the surface. This is a more intense sealing procedure used for surface streets, airport runways and other areas with continual heavy traffic.

The type of sealer you decide to use will depend on the size of the area and the amount of traffic. Surface streets, highways and parking areas receive the most wear and tear from vehicles. Large parking lots exposed to the sun in shopping areas experience wear from every type of vehicle from shopping carts to delivery trucks. 

Dykes Paving and Construction Company has served the Greater Atlanta area since 1968 with professional surfacing crews. It is one of the largest producers of recycled aggregates in the area for private surfacing and sealing. Contact us today for a quote to save your concrete from Atlanta’s hot summers.

file5141257892997Cracked or uneven parking lot paving isn’t just an eyesore; it’s a threat to your customers, your inventory, and your bottom line. If you leave parking lot damage unattended, customers won’t want to risk driving on it, and will quickly flock to your competitors.

An uneven parking lot also makes it more difficult for suppliers and customers to carry fragile materials in their cars, increasing the risk that valuable supplies will be broken. 

Reliable Rehabilitation

Small cracks, chips, and holes in your pavement are a prelude to more serious structural damage. If you repair them early on, you’ll avoid having to replace the entire pavement, saving thousands of dollars and reducing hazards to drivers and pedestrians alike. Dykes Paving uses hot pour resurfacing to fill in pavement cracks and other damages as soon as they appear, extending the life of your pavement by as much as 20 years. We’ll give your pavement a beautiful, sleek appearance while minimizing all costs, whether financial, environmental, or health-related.

Professional Paving

The paving-drivewayDykes team is made up of 70 well-trained employees who are committed to providing quick,  professional paving services. We’ve been active in the Atlanta area since 1968 and have paved over 12 million square yards of asphalt. We’ve worked on a myriad of high-profile projects in the  city, including recycling the Atlanta Airport’s old concrete runways in 2002 as well as replacing  the old Atlantic Steel mill with Atlantic Station in 2003. However large or small the project, we  provide quick, affordable solutions and will stay on sight until the job is complete.

Sustainable Service

Though asphalt is already one of the most sustainable paving materials available, Dykes Paving has led the way in further reducing the environmental impact of paving projects. We have pioneered new methods for recycling asphalt and make all of our aggregate materials from 100% recycled content. This reduces the amount of energy and raw materials needed to carry out new paving projects while keeping asphalt waste out of the landfill. We rely almost entirely on local suppliers and materials, lowering greenhouse gas emissions from transportation while promoting businesses in our community. With Dykes, you’ll never have to choose between saving the earth, supporting your community, and purchasing quality, affordable paving.

Catering to Customers

Dykes Paving doesn’t impose solutions. We work with customers to find the paving projects that will work best for them. We answer all requests courteously, provide as many proposals as possible, and are happy to work with businesses, homeowners, property managers, and all other customers. So, don’t let poor paving get out of hand. Contact Dykes Paving today for professional, sustainable commercial paving services.

asphaltMany Atlanta area businesses require the use of large parking facilities to accommodate both customers and employees. The volume, concentration, and vehicle-pedestrian mix typical of large, commercial parking lots, however, creates major safety hazards. Slip and fall accidents are also very common in parking facilities and can lead to serious injuries as well as expensive lawsuits.

While some of the safety hazards of parking lots are inescapable and others can be minimized by implementing better traffic control measures and educating employees on parking lot safety practices, other safety hazards are caused by poor pavement conditions. Resurfacing or rehabilitating a deteriorating asphalt surface is a necessary maintenance expense that will greatly reduce the risk of injury and property damage on your company’s parking lot.

The upper layer of asphalt on your parking lot is designed to flex under pressure and deflect weight load to the supporting layers below it. When long exposure to heavy pressures create ruts or uneven surfaces, these dips can lead to further deterioration. They can also cause trips and falls, for even a height difference of a half inch is enough to cause a pedestrian to lose his or her balance.

Early Stage of Asphalt Decay

damaged-asphalt-parking-lotSmall fissures lines, larger cracks, and occasional pot holes will also begin to develop as the pavement surface is worn by year after year of weather and vehicle traffic. These early stages of asphalt decay can only lead to more serious weakening later on. Once the lower layers begin to crumble, the pavement will have to be entirely rebuilt, at least in those areas where the support structure has been compromised.

As the asphalt wears, it can lose its surface friction, which increases the chances of vehicles sliding and colliding. As the pavement becomes more and more dangerous, drivers will become more and more distracted with navigating around bumps and potholes, which only increases the chances of an accident. By filling in eroded areas and overlaying the entire parking lot with a fresh coat of asphalt, you can reduce parking lot safety hazards to an absolute minimum.

Hot-Mix Asphalt

Most resurfacing involves laying down hot-mix materials, which include stone, gravel, sand, and liquid asphalt. Optionally, you can also insert a layer of moisture-resistant fabric between the old and new asphalt to add extra strength. Hot-pour resurfacing can extend the life of pavement for 16 to 20 years, and will greatly reduce the risks involved in walking or driving through your company’s parking lot.

If your pavement’s safety level is getting low, Dykes Paving, a local Atlanta pavement restoration company, offers excellent parking lot resurfacing and rehabilitation services. We have experienced personnel necessary to quickly transform your parking facility into a much less accident-prone environment. Contact us today and your new, safer parking facility will cure and be ready for use within a few hours of application.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) may seem an odd place to begin a discussion about asphalt, but the USGS deals with hazards to health such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and sealcoating. Yes, sealcoating of asphalt is a major health hazard, according to the USGS, because of the risk of exposure to cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Not only is sealcoating hazardous, it is unnecessary, since better options exist to preserve the look and finish of asphalt.
worker spraying a sealcoating on a parking lot


Sealcoating involves spraying a coal-tar pitch emulsion over existing asphalt, primarily for cosmetic reasons. It does almost nothing to improve the integrity of the asphalt, wears off in a year or two, and creates fine particulates that are tracked into your home or business, to become airborne and embed in the lungs. According to the USGS, “Results from a new study by researchers from Baylor University and the USGS indicate that living adjacent to a coal-tar-sealed pavement is associated with significant increases in estimated excess lifetime cancer risk, and that much of the increased risk occurs during early childhood.”

Many asphalt contractors offer coal-tar pitch sealcoating because their customers do not understand its risks. The product does give a smooth, deep black appearance to an asphalt driveway or parking lot – for a short time. Compared to other options that can last a decade or more, coal-tar pitch sealcoating usually only lasts one or two years before tires and foot traffic wears it off.

Coal-Tar Pitch

Sealcoating, whether done by homeowners buying five-gallon buckets from home improvement stores or sprayed down by contractors, is typically 20 to 35 percent coal-tar pitch, containing 50,000 to 100,000 parts per million polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This is far greater than the PAHs found in asphalt-based sealcoat materials, and many, many times greater than PAH exposure from resurfaced asphalt.

Asphalt-based Sealcoating

The southern, eastern and central United States typically uses coal-tar pitch sealcoating, with the western United States using asphalt-based sealcoat. This is because steel plants that create the raw product to make coal-tar pitch sealcoating are largely located in the eastern half of the United States. Getting asphalt-based sealcoating in sufficient quantities to be commercially useful is cost-prohibitive in the south and east.

Better Alternatives to Sealcoating

Resurfacing is a far greener, efficient and durable option than sealcoating. Resurfacing recycles the top layer of an asphalt paved area and lays down a fresh, 1 ½ to two-inch layer of fresh asphalt. This gives the desired smooth, black finish and releases far fewer PAHs than sealcoating.
In the hands of a professional contractors like Dykes Paving, with our innovative techniques such as Perma Flex® and our stewardship of resources, resurfacing:

  • reduces consumption of raw materials
  • saves energy
  • releases far fewer volatiles
  • recycles the old asphalt surface

If your commercial project, renovation or remodeling job is seeking Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, consider resurfacing rather than sealcoating. Benefits of resurfacing and recycling include:

  • Conservation of natural habitat
  • Diversion of waste destined for landfills
  • Durability
  • Less maintenance
  • Lower costs
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

A resurfaced driveway or parking lot is many times more durable than the superficial sealcoating sprayed on top of an existing asphalt surface. Because a thick, fresh layer of asphalt containing recycled material and new hot mix is applied and tamped down, the surface is unbroken and completely flat. Water runoff improves, vehicle damage is reduced, and trip and fall hazards diminish.

If you are concerned about avoiding exposure to cancer-causing PAHs for you, your family or employees, consider resurfacing your asphalt driveway or parking lot. Contact Dykes to discuss resurfacing options today.


When building or repairing a parking lot, drainage is a critical issue. An improperly paved lot that leaves pools of standing water after a rain can result in problems for drivers and pedestrians as well as for the businesses that rely on the lot.

Water allowed to stand for lengths of time in one place will eventually find a way to the subsoil. Working with oxygen and UV rays, the combination will begin to cause cracks in the pavement and the water will seep through. Eventually this will weaken the soil foundation beneath, thus causing more damage to the pavement.

Three things happen to water on a parking lot surface. Some water is absorbed, some evaporates and the rest will flow from high points to low points, if possible. Ideally the flow from high to low takes the form of “sheeting”, which is a wide film of water flowing to a low point. If the water reaches a level point, this sheet of water may result in a pool. According to one source, the Virginia Asphalt Association, paved surfaces in a parking lot should have a slope between 2% and 5% to drain adequately. A 1% slope is generally recommended as a minimum.

Also large areas of standing water create a safety hazard for cars and pedestrians. For businesses that rely on the parking lot, the financial impact can be enormous.

And widespread damage to the pavement, when neglected, can mean a significant repair expense for the parking lot owner.

The main objective for the paving company is to create a strategy to move all water to storm sewers, culverts or other channels and away from the parking lot surface as quickly as possible. This will result in a longer life for the lot and lower cost of maintenance for the owner.

Besides protecting against rainfall, the designer must also consider runoff from irrigation sprinkler systems often placed in parking lot islands.

According to the website, there are three principal means to prevent water accumulation and infiltration in parking lots. These are:

  1. Impermeable HMA (Hot Mix Asphalt) is properly compacted to minimize air voids. If the smallest crack should appear, it should be completely repaired.
  2. Slope, as mentioned already, should quickly allow water to sheet flow to a drain or other construction to carry the water away.
  3. Grade of curbs or gutters must be designed to bring all the water to a central collection point such as a detention pond or catch basin. A generally accepted minimum standard grade is 0.5 percent.

Environmental concerns are a consideration. The water channeled from the parking lot must minimize any effect on the natural balance of the area and  avoid any negative impact on surrounding properties.

Localized areas of pooling can be fixed without exacting enormous cost. Dykes Paving uses a unique technique called “asphalt skin patching”. As long as the subsurface has not been damaged, Dykes can employ a three step process which covers any damage and raises the level of the area to facilitate drainage. The three steps are:

  1. Clean and apply a tack coat for adhesion
  2. Apply a new coat of asphalt and fix with a vibrating compactor.
  3. Feather or blend the edges to create a smooth service with the existing pavement.

Whether you are installing a new surface or repairing an old one, Dykes Paving has over 45 years of experience to back up the promise of a professional, attractive and long-lasting job. They understand potential problems with every paving situation and know how to avoid them.

Fatigue cracking is that cracking and chipping we see on our roads almost anywhere we go. It seems to be quite harmless but a smart road manager knows this is a sign that the pavement is on its way to failure.

Fatigue cracking in asphalt is generally recognizable by what’s known as alligator cracking, so named because the cracking takes the shape of the spikes on an alligators back. Something like chicken wire or a lightning bolt. These start small and spread and appear near each other and connect eventually requiring serious repair.

Just like it sounds, fatigue cracking is a symptom of over use, either by loads too heavy for the pavement or more repetitions of a given load than designed for. Poorly drained bases beneath the surface layer of asphalt will make the problem worse.

3 types of Fatigue Cracking

The Federal Highway Administration’s identifies 3 levels of severity for fatigue cracking:

  • High severity fatigue cracking is when the cracks have connected in large areas and there are several pieces of surface asphalt that are very loose. This is when the pavement has been stressed to the limit of its fatigue life. It is no longer attractive and is barely functional. Pavement in this condition needs repair immediately.
  • Moderate severity fatigue cracking is distinguished by the arrival of connecting cracks and the alligator type cracking pattern. The cracks may be swollen slightly and lower layers of road materials be become evident. Pieces of the surface layer of asphalt my move and break off if subjected to traffic.
  • Low severity fatigue cracking is when an area of asphalt has only small cracks with very few or none of them connecting to display the zig zag alligator type shape. Also the cracks are not evidently removing lower layers of the road materials.

Repairing Fatigue Cracking

Repairing fatigue cracking and the potholes it creates does more than just improve the appearance of the site. Fixing cracks and holes reduces safety hazards. In Atlanta, no one is better at resurfacing and rehabilitation of asphalt than Dykes Paving. You can find information about their resurfacing work here.

New studies on old roads have shown the best way to prevent fatigue cracking is to start from the bottom up with better materials and better processes. Although it is impossible to prevent fatigue cracking indefinitely, roads are getting better and more durable every year. But traffic and use of trucks has also been increasing in recent decades. When an old road has reached the end of its fatigue life and high severity fatigue cracking is apparent then work has to be done to fix the road. Typical surface treatments sometimes lonely 3-4 years which is terribly expensive. This may be a sign the base materials have shifted and are now highly conducive to creating these surface cracks. This can be because of a combination of poor drainage and shifts and cracks in the base materials which allows water into areas it shouldn’t be allowed.

At this point the best thing to do is to rebuild the road from the bottom up. You will have to dig up all the layers and re-lay it better and more carefully. Especially if the road is old, the new bottom up treatment will last significantly longer due to technology and materials improvement. But for roads who aren’t quite that old it may seem like a lot of work to dig it up and start again. Repaving and resurfacing can help save the life of your asphalt and keep it attractive.

Asphalt occurs naturally as rock asphalt that is a mixture of sand, limestone and asphalt and also occur in asphalt lakes. Today, most of the asphalt comes from crude oil as a by-product of the refinery of crude oil. Today, over ninety percent of US roads are made of a mixture of asphalt and other materials.

asphalt paving

The use of asphalt started thousands of years before the founding of USA. Mesopotamians are credited as the first to use asphalt to waterproof temple baths and water tanks. It was also used by Phoenicians to waterproof their merchant ships. Asphalt was first used for road building in Babylon at around 625 BC. The Romans took up the road system from Carthaginians and built roads for easier travel by the military.

Asphalt Roads in Modern History

John Metcalf, an Englishman was built the first asphalt roads in Yorkshire in late 1700’s. He built about a hundred and eighty miles. Later on, in early 1800’s, Thomas Telforld built over nine hundred miles of roads in Scotland. This art was perfected by John Loudon Macadam, who used broken stones and asphalt to construct his roads. This method was adopted by builders that led to the name ‘tarmacadam’ shortened as ‘tarmac’ pavements

Asphalt Roads in America

In 1870, a Belgian chemist, Edmund J DeSmedt, laid the first asphalt pavement in US at Newark. He later used fifty four thousand square yards of sheet asphalt from Trinidad Lake to pave Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. In the same year, Cummer Company opened hot mix production facilities. The following year, 1871, Nathan. Abbott of Brooklyn, N.Y filed the first asphalt patent.

In 1900, a patent for ‘Bitulithic’ pavement was filed by Frederick J. Warren. It was a mixture of bitumen and aggregate. The name Bitulithic was derived from ‘bitumen’ and ‘lithos’ a Greek word for rock. In 1901, Warren Brothers built the first asphalt facility in East Cambridge, Mass.

By 1907, asphalt from refined petroleum has outstripped natural asphalt by both production and usage. Automobiles became increasingly popular increasing demand for more and better pathways and roads. This in turn led to a number of innovations in asphalt laying. There were also strides made towards mechanization with introduction of drum mixers, concrete mechanical spreaders and asphalt laying machines. Asphalt technology continued improving, more so during World War II in 1942. This was driven by the need for a better surface that could hold the heavy loads of military aircraft and its cargo.

In 1955,road construction firms formed The National Bituminous Concrete Association, a forerunner of National Asphalt Pavement Association.(NAPA).  It main mandate was to undertake a quality improvement program. In its execution, the association sponsored asphalt testing in private testing labs and at universities.

In 1956, the Congress passed the Interstate Highways Act. It allotted fifty one billion dollars to states to construct roads. This greatly improved road construction technologies since contractors required better and bigger equipment. Machinery such as electronic leveling controls, extra-wide finishers and vibratory steel wheel rollers have since been manufactured.

There was a national energy crisis in 1970’s that led to a rethinking of natural resource conservation. Today, asphalt is one of the most recycled materials with over seventy million metric tons recycled every year.

In 1986, The National Centre for Asphalt Technology was established by NAPA. It continues to test and improve asphalt. It is now a leading asphalt research center. From year 2002, asphalt is no longer considered a hazardous air pollutant by the EPA.