Asphalt is one of the most famous construction materials out there – but that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. On the contrary, a professional asphalt repair company exists precisely because it takes a lot of hard work to maintain asphalt pavement.
Many factors cause strain in asphalt pavement – and a large number of these “stresses” (like changes in moisture and temperature) will cause cracks over time. After a while, deficiencies become apparent even to the average bystander – usually in the form of holes, cracks, and depressions.
As with most things, preventive maintenance is the word of the day here – or, more precisely, two words. If you know when your parking lot’s asphalt surface needs some work and you spot an issue early on – it’ll likely be easier and cheaper to fix. So, let’s examine some of the most common signs that tell you it’s time to call a paving company!
If we had to point toward the single biggest factor of pavement stress, it would probably be
moisture accumulation in the pavement. That’s why proper drainage systems (and their regular maintenance) are necessary.
If your pipes and catch basin are dirt and debris-free – your system will have a higher chance of working as intended, and you won’t have to spend money on costly replacements or repairs. Make sure that your existing drains undergo a yearly inspection – any clogging should be removed immediately.
Have you heard of “alligator cracks?” Paving contractors gave them the name because their pattern looks uncannily like the skin of an alligator. And they’re another common issue that stems from aging, excessive oxidation, and an unstable base.
There are also reflective cracks, whose name comes from the fact that their crack patterns actually reflect the cracks in the subsurface pavement structure. Usually, their cause lies in the horizontal or vertical movement of the structure beneath the surface. And any cracks whose width exceeds a single half-inch have to be stripped out – the surface area is then repaved.
Also, an asphalt repair company often finds that larger cracks are caused by root damage in older parking lots. If any trees were planted in the immediate vicinity back when the lot was in construction, the trees could pose problems for the parking lot decades later. The trees spawn intricate root systems that can grow deep beneath the pavement.
Soon enough, the asphalt will rise and crack – developing a maintenance issue and a potentially dangerous safety hazard. As a result, the roots have to be removed.
Ah, potholes – the scourge of all drivers. Their cause is a structural weakness of the pavement, usually caused by an asphalt surface that was laid on too thin. Once standing water gathers in cracked parts, the water will start seeping into the base. In due time, the asphalt will lift, and voila – you’ve got a pothole that needs to be dealt with.
Once your asphalt is worn too thin for its traffic load, it’ll start spawning potholes – it’s just something that happens once an asphalt overlay has grown too old.
Now, this may seem like a costly thing to do – but it’ll bring your pavement back to its original self. As we’ve mentioned above, a one-inch overlay is the usual minimal thickness on the structurally-sound pavement.
In most cases, the preparation required for the overlaying isn’t too tricky – the best case
scenario is that nothing more than a thorough surface cleaning is necessary. However, in more difficult cases, you’ll need to consult an engineer to avoid further sinkholes, drainage issues, root damage, or potholes; they can create the precise plans and specifications you need.
Remember – the more you prepare for the process, the more durable and high-quality your new overlay will be.
If you want a cost-effective preventative maintenance measure, some pavement sealer might be the ideal solution for your parking lot. You can protect your pavement and avoid much costlier repairs for what amounts to pennies.
If you don’t treat newly layered asphalt pavement, it will deteriorate far more quickly – oil leaks, gasoline, the Sun, and constant rain will all speed up that process. That’s why it’s best to reseal your asphalt every couple of years – especially after a new overlay.
This will ultimately raise your property value by extending the “shelf life” of your current asphalt pavement. Ultimately, though, it’s best to consult with professionals when it comes to stuff like asphalt maintenance. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be informed about your asphalt pavement’s structure and potential repairs – but trying to do anything about it yourself might only lead to further costs and even injuries.
Consult a paving company in Orlando if you’re unsure of what kind of work is necessary on your parking lot – ABC Paving and Sealcoating will be more than happy to help.