Asphalt is one of the most preferred choices for paving because of its many good qualities. This includes better looks, quick installation and it lasts a long time. Typically, asphalt should last more than 12-15 years without maintenance. Moreover, it is also much more eco-friendly as compared to other building materials. However, the only limitation with asphalt is that as soon as you lay it down, the pavement is exposed to conditions that begin its gradual degrading process. Identifying the causes of degradation and taking preventive measures can help to prolong serious damage.
Let us examine why asphalt gets damaged.
Asphalt is made up of sand, rock and aggregates which are bonded together by a glue-like compound known as asphalt cement. Asphalt cement tends to gradually break down due to sun exposure. In case of its complete breakdown, there is no component that binds the ingredients of asphalt together. Sun exposure causes asphalt to crack and allows water to seep beneath, aggravating the damage.
The process of oxidation breaks asphalt down and also dries out the glue gel that binds it together. When new, the asphalt is flexible and can bear heavy traffic. As it begins to lose its flexibility over time, the process of oxidation makes it fade and lose its flexibility. Following this, it begins to crack.
Volume of traffic
As described earlier, the weakening of the asphalt layer due to oxidation decreases its flexibility. Thus, consistent heavy traffic can cause asphalt to break faster than expected.
Be it from rain, snow or a car wash, water that seeps through pavement causes a major loss to the base course. Once that loss has occurred, it results in irreversible damage. Repaving is the only way the damage can then be rectified.
Oil stains from parked cars can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly. They percolate through asphalt and cause significant damage to the different layers. Repairing such damage can be quite costly.
Types of deterioration
There are three common kinds of deterioration that occur as a result of the above causes:
Elements such as the sun, water, oil and other chemicals cause damage to asphalt over a period of time. If they are not corrected in time, permanent asphalt damage can occur, in which case, repaving remains the only solution. Asphalt cracking can be of different types like alligator cracks, edge cracks, reflection, edge joint, slippage, shrinkage and widening. Depending on the type of crack and its severity, experts like West York Paving can determine the best method of repair.
Another kind of damage is disintegration which forms birdbaths, potholes and ravelling.
If the pavement was built incorrectly, the chances are that it will distort. If the pavement is constantly exposed to overload, heavy vehicles and machinery, the deterioration of the base layer speeds up. This causes visible damages such as grade depressions, ruts, channels, utility cut depressions, upheaval and corrugations.
West York Paving is a premium commercial paving company providing state-of-the-art paving services in and around GTA area. Along with their experienced crew and modern machinery, the company is also known for their quality workmanship and customer service. Contact us today to discuss your residential or commercial paving needs.