With this extended exposure to extremely high temperatures during a heat wave, the sun can have a damaging effect on your pavement. During the warm summer season and even more so during extreme and prolonged periods of heat, the sun’s UV rays can cause the asphalt to fade in color and can also create soft spots, which if left alone can lead to potholes. The constant beating down upon and absorption of this heat can also make the asphalt surface easier to scratch, get scuffed up from vehicular traffic and even begin to chip away. This heat can also lead to cracks as well which will result in water seeping into the sub-layers. This leads to air gaps forming within the structure of the asphalt pavement and when pressure such as the weight of vehicles and traffic is applied from above the top layer begins to sag, crumble and form potholes. It also has a bleaching effect on asphalt and can cause it to turn gray over time instead of the dark black it once started out as.
Two Common Asphalt Issues Caused By Heat to Inspect For
Cracking is a common type of asphalt damage caused from prolonged heat exposure. Though cracking is more typical in older surfaces, it can affect new structures that were poorly installed or aren’t being properly maintained, such as with regular seal-coat applications. It generally affects surfaces with a regular traffic load, such as parking lots and commercial warehousing properties.
Another thing to look for is oxidation which weakens the entire structure of the asphalt, causing the surface to become brittle. UV radiation from sunlight causes a chemical reaction where the light oils combine into heavier oils which reduces the number of binding oils in the asphalt. As oxidation progresses, cracking and/or raveling becomes more prevalent.
Preventing Heat Damage To Your Asphalt
Since sealcoating protects asphalt, heat damage can be prevented or minimized by reapplying this protectant on a regular schedule. A great time to apply sealcoating is when the heat is on as the higher temperatures help the materials bond with the surface. These higher temperatures also lowers the viscosity (the measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow) of the asphalt,which allows sealcoating to flow more readily into deeper cracks and crevices, thereby protecting the sub-layers as well as the surface.
If your asphalt is showing signs of damage, it’s not too late to make amends. Being proactive and repairing the surface now (rather than later) extends the functional lifespan of your asphalt and can save you the time and cost of a full replacement.
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