Asphalt is one of the most commonly selected options when it comes to a paving solution for a road, sidewalk, or driveway. The main alternative is concrete paving. This does have a lot to recommend it but, in many settings, asphalt is the preferred choice. Asphalt paving can work out cheaper (sometimes) and the synthetic materials used make it a little bit more weather resistant than concrete. This makes it ideal where constant attention to maintenance is not really feasible.
But what are the main drawbacks of asphalt paving and what can you do about them? Parking Lot Pros, paving experts out of Dallas, Texas, say that asphalt – even seal coated asphalt – is certainly not invincible to the gradual effects being exposed to the elements. One of the main adversaries is the effects of freeze-thaw weathering. This is where water makes it into small cracks, freezes, expands and thereby makes the cracks wider and deeper.
Nevertheless, what is often forgotten in the face of this major danger to the condition of asphalt surfaces is that general wear and tear – the gradual degradation of a surface on account of the vehicles and people that travel over it – is something that needs to be accounted for as well.
How Asphalt Degrades
In fact, while asphalt is very often touted as being more resistant to weathering, this advantage does not extend to simple wear and tear. In this particular aspect, asphalt slightly loses out to concrete, which is tougher and can withstand impacts more effectively.
Tips for Maintaining Asphalt Against Wear and Tear
So, how should you care for your asphalt, specifically where wear and tear are concerned? Common sense goes a long way here. So too does considering your limitations. For example, if you are maintaining an asphalt road, the things you need to do can vary quite a bit from maintaining a driveway or a parking lot surface. Where wear and tear are concerned, it is all about what is travelling over the asphalt – and that can differ quite a bit.
Nevertheless, there are certainly a good range of general tips which you can follow to protect and maintain your asphalt from general wear and tear. Here then follows some of the most useful:
Distribute Weight Evenly
You need to think of any asphalt paving surface as being entirely interconnected as one mass of material. This is because… well, it is. The effect of this though is that if weight is distributed unevenly across the asphalt surface, it can put strain on the surface and cause ruptures and cracks in time. Of course, distributing weight evenly is not always possible but where it is, you should do it.
Protect From the Weather
We are not discussing freeze-thaw weathering in this article, but a general battering from the wind, rain, or scorching sun can certainly degrade an asphalt surface in other ways. Accordingly, it is wise to use weather shelters wherever this is feasible.
Constant Maintenance is Important
There is one overriding rule that applies in the case of all paved surfaces. Consistent – or at the very least, regular – maintenance is essential. This applies in the case of wear and tear. Where one part of the asphalt paving is damaged, the whole thing becomes weakened, and that damage will radiate out from there. Fix cracks and chips the moment you notice them.
When it comes to paving, you are always battling against the elements to keep it looking good. Diligence and regularity, however, is the way to stop the job becoming too big.