This is a question that we hear a lot and knowing the answer really helps you understand why asphalt maintenance is so important.
To understand the answer to this question it helps to know a little bit about asphalt. Asphalt is composed of two primary ingredients: a mineral aggregate (a stone or sand that is typically light in color) and an asphalt binder (a dark black bituminous material). When this asphalt – the mix that includes up to 4% bituminous material – is put down it is dark black and flexible. As it is exposed to the oxygen in air, oxidization begins its slow and relentless work.
Oxidization essentially forces the bituminous materials to bond tighter and tighter with the mineral aggregate. This process does two things: one, it changes the color of your driveway to more closely match the mineral aggregate (grey); two, it decreases the flexibility of the pavement making it more brittle and less durable.
The rest is simple, as the asphalt becomes more brittle it can’t stand up to stress as well as it could when it was young. No, the pavement doesn’t get stress from a looming deadline or the in-laws visiting; its stressors are primarily heavy loads, the cold and the heat.
As these stressors work on the pavement it begins to crack. These cracks then allow water to penetrate to do its dirty work. If the water stays in the cracks it will freeze and thaw, expanding the crack more and more. If the water can penetrate the crack to the surface below (the subsurface) the water will begin to cause damage to the subsurface. All in all, the aging of pavement is a natural and inevitable process. It will deteriorate and will eventually need to be replaced.
You can slow the aging of pavement and decrease costs by implementing a pavement maintenance plan that includes sealcoating, crack repair, and pothole repair. Although these do help improve the cosmetics of your driveway, this is more than a simple facelift – these maintenance techniques extend the life of your driveway.
So, what do you say? Give us a call today to set up a maintenance consultation. We would love to take a look at your driveway or parking lot to see how we can help.