Asphalt pavement budgeting can be extremely challenging for a lot of business owners, especially if they’re unaware of the potential risks that they’re going up against. Despite being one of the strongest and most resilient paving materials currently on the market, asphalt still requires a great deal of care and maintenance to increase its longevity.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of potentially harmful external elements that can damage your asphalt pavement. Some of them are a lot easier to anticipate and control than others. The best way to protect your asphalt pavement against potential damages is to understand what they are and what causes them
6 Factors that Can Damage Your Asphalt Pavement
Here are some of the most common factors that can damage your asphalt pavement.
Believe it or not, surface water can be very damaging for your asphalt pavement. Over time, standing or pooling water can put a great deal of pressure on the pavement, pushing down on it and causing it to dip. Poorly constructed asphalt pavement is particularly at risk because the structural integrity of the asphalt was very weak to begin with, but even the strongest asphalt aggregate can be at risk if exposed to a great deal of water pressure for long periods of time.
With continued use over time, the surface of the asphalt will eventually begin to crack, allowing water to penetrate the surface of the pavement and cause internal damages such as erosion.
Sunlight is another primary culprit when it comes to damaging asphalt pavement. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight—particularly strong UV rays—can cause premature aging and discolouration on the surface of the asphalt. Over time, strong UV rays can also lead to oxidation, a process which disintegrates the tar in the aggregate and weakens the binding agent that holds the asphalt together. When this happens, you’ll start to notice your asphalt crumbling or breaking apart in certain areas, particularly around the edges.
Regular Vehicular and Foot Traffic
Eventually, even the best maintained asphalt pavement will begin to show some signs of wear and tear. That’s just the way the asphalt crumbles. Commercial parking lots are especially at risk because they tend to get a lot of heavy vehicular traffic including large delivery trucks, vans, SUVs, and even sedans. The constant heavy weight of these vehicles passing through your property or remaining parked for any given amount of time can place a lot of pressure on the structure of your parking lot. This is especially true for retail plazas, cafes, bakeries, restaurants, loading docks, and any other commercial or industrial parking lot that gets continuous use on a regular basis.
The driving habits of motorists also factors into the amount of wear and tear that your parking lot exhibits. Oftentimes, motorists zooming through parking lots can place greater undue pressure on the asphalt—particularly pre-existing weak spots—and this can cause surface and internal damage.
Poor Construction and Application
Speaking of weak spots, the construction and application process is essential to the overall longevity of your asphalt parking lot and its ability to withstand various external elements and factors. If the asphalt aggregate isn’t properly mixed or compacted during the application process, then this could prevent the bitumen from binding to the other materials being used.
Ultimately, poor construction and application from the get-go will result in a lot of headaches for you in the future because it means that you’re going to have to deal with a lot of costly repairs that most likely could have been avoided.
Expanding Tree Roots
Another potential problem you should anticipate as a commercial property owner is the expansion of tree roots throughout your parking lot. As trees get older, their roots continue to extend outward and sometimes upward in the nonstop search for more water sources. Tree roots are surprisingly strong and can extend anywhere between 50 and 75 feet in any direction. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for your asphalt because over time, tree roots can actually push hard against the surface of your asphalt which causes cracking, breakage, and eventual displacement.
Fuel and Oil Leaks
Whether you own a commercial or residential asphalt pavement, fuel and oil leaks are inevitable. This is especially true if your asphalt pavement gets a lot of usage or you have multiple vehicles parked on it at any given time. Different types of fuel and oil contain a variety of chemical compounds that not only cause permanent staining but can eventually erode the surface layer of your asphalt pavement. This causes both external and internal damage that can cost a lot to repair.
If you notice any fuel or oil leaks on your property, it’s best to clean them up as soon as possible. In a previous article, we provided a number of effective cleaning methods that’ll have your asphalt looking brand new again.
Asphalt Pavement Services That Can Prevent Damages
Luckily, there are a few things you can do on a regular basis to prevent damages and protect your asphalt pavement.
Clean and Maintain Your Asphalt Pavement
Every couple of weeks or at the very least, once a month, you should set aside some time to thoroughly inspect your asphalt parking lot for damages and make necessary repairs. This will prevent certain problems like small cracks from developing into much larger and harder to fix damages like potholes.
It’s also important to regularly clean your parking lot and sweep away any debris people may leave behind.
Sealcoat Your Asphalt
Sealcoating is a process that provides a protective layer on your asphalt to prevent damages and extend its lifespan. If applied regularly every 2-3 years by a professional, sealcoating can extend the lifespan of your asphalt pavement by about 20 years. In the long run, it’s far more cost-effective to take preventative actions than to have to pay for repairs.
For over 20 years, Sure-Seal Pavement Maintenance Inc. has been one of the leading and most trusted names in the asphalt maintenance industry. We’ve installed, repaired, and maintained countless asphalt pavements across Toronto and the GTA and we offer a comprehensive seven-year warranty. Contact us today to learn more!