Immediately upon being laid, new asphalt pavement begins the process of oxidation. This is the reaction of oxygen exposure wherein molecular processes begin the process of creating bonding sites or layers within the asphalt itself. This allows for the asphalt molecules to search and find bonds that help it to maintain its stable state for maximum efficiency. As this is an ongoing process, over time the tighter and tighter bonding of these molecules can result in the pavement becoming stiffer and more brittle and subject to cracking, potholes and other failures, possibly even resulting in costly drainage issues. An example of the effects of asphalt oxidation can be seen in the severe cracking of this asphalt parking lot showing a web of asphalt cracking issues and drainage damage therein.
You can see this process for yourself. Newly laid asphalt pavement is a dark, rich, black cover. Over the span of a few years, because of oxidation processes, the asphalt begins turning to lighter shades of black and eventually becomes gray. During this period is when cracks develop and when heavy vehicular traffic gets added into the mix, potholes begin to develop from failure and the weakening of the asphalt’s sub-structure. This is seen in the image below as this shading is evident where the sealcoating has not yet been applied.
This time span can be anywhere between 5 to 20 years, with the average lifespan of asphalt typically being 20 – 25 years. Once oxidation of asphalt has created a dramatic stiffening of the pavement, the load bearing capability is greatly reduced resulting in more extensive maintenance costs.
By taking proactive measures you can reduce the rate of asphalt oxidation. Implementing a strict scheduling of asphalt sealcoating can reduce oxidation by as much as 75% if initiated within the first two years of being lain. Asphalt should be resealed about once every three years, depending upon usage and vehicular load, to maintain their appearance and protect them. For more severe cases of asphalt deterioration such a severe cracking and spider web-cracks in a large area, then asphalt crack filling should be performed first before sealcoating. Sealcoating asphalt that has already oxidized will not bring back its elastic properties.
James Kurpiel Inc of Hackensack, N.J. offers commercial asphalt maintenance services from sealcoating to asphalt crack filling and complete replacement. In need of some help with regards to your asphalt maintenance? Send us a request on our contact us page, click the envelope on the right and reach us that way, or give us a call at (201) 342-3170 and talk with one of our expert product and service representatives. They’ll be happy to assist you.
James Kurpiel Inc of Hackensack
Commercial Asphalt Property Maintenance Contractor
19 Orchard St. – Hackensack, N.J. 07601 / Toll Free at 1-800-273-9769 / (201) 342-3170