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How To Protect Your Asphalt From Two Types Of Damage

Preventative maintenance of your asphalt is the key to helping your pavement last as long as possible and prevent deterioration. As soon as your asphalt is installed, it begins to become subjected to wear and oxidation from the weather, sun, and traffic. Here are some tips to help you protect your asphalt from two common types of asphalt deterioration and damage.

Damaging Fluids

Vehicles that drive and park upon your asphalt pavement can contribute to its deterioration, especially when they drip vehicle fluids, such as brake fluids, oil, and gasoline onto the surface. Vehicle fluids drip onto pavement and can begin to soften the emulsion binders that make up the structure of asphalt pavement. Because many types of vehicle fluids are petroleum based, just as your asphalt is, the fluids break apart and erode the integrity of your pavement. In fact, gasoline spilled onto your pavement can eventually erode all the way through your pavement.

When vehicle fluids spill onto your asphalt, it is important to clean them off as soon as possible to prevent this type of damage. Use an asphalt cleaning solution or a degreaser detergent to scrub the fluids from the asphalt. Be sure to thoroughly rinse them from the surface after you have cleaned them off. If the fluids are allowed to remain, you will need to cut out the area of damage from the asphalt and replace it with new hot mix asphalt as a patch.

Sun Oxidation

The sun's radiation and heat can cause your asphalt to dry out and lighten, causing the surface of your pavement to eventually crack and break apart. As wind and weather wear out the asphalt's emulsion, the aggregate can crumble from the surface of the pavement. This can also lead to cracks and later, potholes when the cracks are not repaired. But you can repair any damage as it occurs and prevent further damage.

First, watch the condition of your asphalt, looking for any cracks and vegetation growth within cracks. Remove the vegetation and fill the cracks using a liquid emulsion filler for small cracks and a cold patch filler for larger cracks. Make sure you clean out any cracks with a pressure washer before filling them to ensure the patch adheres into the crack.

As the surface of your asphalt begins to lighten in color, you should have the surface treated with an asphalt sealcoating emulsion. This sealcoating restores the moisture and flexibility to your asphalt and improves it appearance by restoring its black color and fills in any small cracks.

Depending on the climate your asphalt is subjected to through summer and winter, you may need to reapply a sealcoating more or less frequently. Talk to a paving contractor to find out the application frequency they recommend.