Like anything else, you need to maintain your asphalt in order to ensure that it stays in good condition for as long as possible. But what if you just… didn’t? How bad is it really if you don’t maintain your asphalt? Asphalt is a durable material; certainly, it can last long enough on its own.
As you may expect, asphalt needs routine maintenance in order to last as long as possible. If you don’t maintain your asphalt, you’ll see asphalt deterioration occur much faster than it would otherwise.
Here’s a little overview of the timeline of asphalt deterioration, as well as some of the causes of asphalt deterioration. Not obtaining maintenance only exacerbates the process.
Stage 1 Of Asphalt Deterioration: All Is Well
You may be surprised to learn that asphalt begins to deteriorate pretty much right away. Even with a perfect asphalt job done with only the best materials, deterioration is an inevitability with something that experiences as much wear and tear as asphalt surfaces tend to.
That said, the first 5 years after asphalt has been laid down are the best. It’s brand new, it’s smooth, and it’s still nice and black, for the most part. Sure, traffic and the elements are beating down on it, but usually, the only sign of damage that people see during this stage is some fading from sunlight.
Stage 2: It Needs A New Sealcoat
Towards the end of the first stage is when you should start thinking about having a new sealcoat applied to your asphalt. This helps to protect the asphalt from damage and helps it to perform better.
If you don’t have a sealcoat applied, you’ll notice more cracking and damage. The asphalt won’t be as pretty a black, and will look duller, greyer, and begin to show more signs of deterioration.
Stage 3: It Needs Repair
By the time the asphalt is 7-15 years old, it’s considered to be midway through it’s lifecycle. This is with proper maintenance. If you don’t maintain your asphalt, you’ll notice that it needs repairs much sooner and more frequently than it would otherwise.
As this point, it’s usually normal to have another sealcoat applied and to conduct some minor repairs, such as taking care of potholes and the like.
Stage 4: It Needs More Major Repairs
By the time your asphalt is between 15-24 years old, it is likely going to need more major repairs on a more regular basis. Again, if you ignore these repairs, you’ll need to have your asphalt replaced more frequently than you would otherwise. By the time your asphalt deterioration reaches stage 4, the focus is less on preventing damage and moreso on keeping the surface in good condition for as long as possible.
Stage 5: Replacement
Asphalt generally needs to be replaced after it’s been around for 25 years. If you don’t maintain your asphalt, it will need more frequent replacement than this.
Factors That Impact Asphalt Deterioration
Of course, even if you carefully maintain your asphalt surfaces, there are other factors that can speed up their deterioration.
Some of the factors that can cause asphalt to deteriorate aside from a lack of maintenance include:
- Water. If you live somewhere where it snows or rains a lot, you’ve likely noticed how potholes tend to pop up after the season. This is because water can get under the asphalt and cause it to break down. It can worsen existing damage, such as cracks.
- Oxidation. Either from the sun or from chemicals, oxidation can dry out asphalt and cause it to crack.
- Chemicals. This includes gas and oil, such as from cars. Chemicals can soften asphalt and cause it to lose its ability to hold together.
- Roots. Mother Nature has a will of its own. Tree roots can push up your asphalt and cause it to break and crack.
- Heavy traffic loads. The more traffic there is on your asphalt, the faster it will wear out, due to all that wear and tear.
Ignoring deteriorating asphalt does no one any good and can even lead to safety issues. It can cause problems in many areas, such as road safety, with an HOA, or with causing potential customers to look for someone else with a better maintained parking lot to help them with their concerns.
Do You Need Asphalt Maintenance?
Precision Asphalt Maintenance is here to help! We provide all sorts of asphalt services, from asphalt maintenance to asphalt repair to sealcoating and more. To request a quote or for any questions you may have, please do not hesitate to contact us today!