Maintaining your asphalt pavement by repairing and protecting its surface will help it remain attractive and last as long as possible. Here are some tips to help you keep your asphalt looking its best and lasting many years.
As your asphalt ages from weather and vehicle traffic, it can begin to form cracks over its surface. These cracks can grow and begin to further deteriorate larger areas of your asphalt. For this reason, it is important to patch and repair cracks as soon as possible to prevent their growing larger.
First, remove any vegetation growth and dirt or debris within the cracks. Use the edge of a sharp tool or an asphalt crack hoe to clean vegetation out, then sweep any debris with a broom or a pressure washer. Next, apply a liquid asphalt filler into small cracks to fill the crack to match the surrounding asphalt. For wider cracks, you would need to use a asphalt cold patch filler, which you would scoop and press into the crack with a trowel or similar tool.
Be sure to let the patch materials fully cure according to their product instructions before driving or walking over the repairs. You can find both of these patching products at most home improvement stores in the asphalt product and paving areas of the store.
Remove Damaging Vehicle Fluids
When you use your asphalt pavement for driving and parking vehicles, there is a high chance vehicle fluids can become spilled and drip onto the surface of your asphalt. If these fluids are not cleaned up quickly, they can begin to erode and break down the emulsion within the asphalt, causing it to deteriorate and fall apart. In fact, in as little as 48 hours a fuel spill can eat through three inches of asphalt. Other damaging fluids can include brake fluid and oils.
For this reason, it is important to clean up any vehicle fluid spills immediately by sprinkling kitty litter over the spill. Let the litter soak up the fluids, then sweep it up and discard it. Then, you will need to clean any remaining fluids up with a degreaser asphalt cleaner, a scrub brush, and some water. Be sure you rinse the surface fully after you have scrubbed the fluids from the asphalt.
To repair any damage that has already begun to break down the asphalt's surface forming pitting, you will need to either cut out the area of damage or grind the surface of the asphalt with a grinding tool to remove all the damage and remaining fluids. Use a circular saw with a masonry blade to cleanly cut out the area of damage, then remove the damaged asphalt with a shovel and discard it. Apply new asphalt cold patch onto the area to restore its surface.
Apply Sealcoating Protection
After you have repaired any cracks, holes, and removed damaging vehicle fluids from the surface of your asphalt, you should protect it with an application of seal coat. This tar emulsion coating protects the surface of your asphalt and restores its moisture and flexibility to enable it to hold up better under weather conditions and excessive pressure from vehicles. It is recommended to apply a new layer of sealcoating every three to ten years, depending on the weather conditions in your area and how fast your asphalt begins to dry out and crack because of them.
As your asphalt ages, the emulsion binder that is combined within the gravel and sand mixture dries out and oxidizes under the sun's harmful rays. This oxidation and drying-out process shows up as the asphalt lightens to a gray color. This leads to further crumbling of your asphalt as it is more brittle and more easily breaks apart, and the gravel within the asphalt becomes lose and falls out of its surface.
Sealcoating applies a full layer of tar emulsion onto the surface of your asphalt, restoring its strength and seals out moisture to prevent freeze-thaw problems and damage. You can hire a professional asphalt company to install your sealcoating application, or complete the work yourself. You can find sealcoating sold at most home improvement stores by the bucket and you would need a sealcoating squeegee to level and smooth the tar emulsion.
For more information about paving and sealcoating, contact companies like R Williams Paving LLC.