Asphalt blacktop pavement is a composite material commonly used to surface driveways, roads and parking lots. It consists of mineral aggregate bound together with asphalt, laid in layers, and compacted.
Asphalt deterioration can include crocodile cracking, potholes, upheaval, raveling, bleeding, rutting, shoving, stripping, and grade depressions. In cold climates, frost heaves can crack asphalt even in one winter. Filling the cracks with bitumen is a temporary fix, but only proper compaction and drainage can slow this process.
Factors that cause asphalt concrete to deteriorate over time mostly fall into one of three categories: construction quality, environmental considerations, and traffic loads. Often, damage results from combinations of factors in all three categories.
Construction quality is critical to pavement performance. Lack of compaction in the surface of the asphalt, especially on the longitudinal joint can reduce the life of a pavement by 30 to 40%. Environmental factors include heat and cold, the presence of water in the subbase or subgrade soil underlying the pavement, and frost heaves.
Water trapped under the pavement softens the subbase and subgrade, making the road more vulnerable to traffic loads. Water under the road freezes and expands in cold weather, causing and enlarging cracks. In spring thaw, the ground thaws from the top down, so water is trapped between the pavement above and the still-frozen soil underneath. This layer of saturated soil provides little support for the road above, leading to the formation of potholes. This is more of a problem for silty or clay soils than sandy or gravelly soils.
Asphalt has the lowest life cycle cost and the highest residual value of any pavement around. No matter the application, asphalt pavements are the easy choice. We provide prompt proposals, competitive bids, and top notch management to every aspect of paving projects, from beginning to end. For more information or to schedule a free estimate, please contact one of our knowledgeable representatives.