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Four Threats Facing Your Asphalt

by | Apr 25, 2019

Asphalt is tough enough to hold up under constant use for decades at a time, and flexible enough to roll with Michigan’s constantly changing conditions and temperatures. But, of course, asphalt doesn’t last forever and there are plenty of conditions waiting in the world that will turn even the best laid asphalt pavement into a cracked and broken mess. 

Here are four of the worst, and what you should do about them.

1. Tree Roots

While green wood is certainly softer than asphalt pavement, given enough time growing tree roots will relentlessly push and tear apart asphalt pavement, leaving deep cracks and localized damage—prime sites for pothole formation and tripping hazards. Depending on the situation, the roots may need to be removed or the pavement adjusted in order to provide a long-lasting and smooth surface.

2.  Heavy Trucks

Heavy vehicles like garbage trucks, delivery trucks, and busses have a much heavier weight per wheel than passenger cars or pickup trucks, and this intense focused pressure has a dramatic impact on the pavement below—especially when those vehicles are moving slowly or standing still. 

Asphalt is widely known to fail many times more quickly when frequented by these large vehicles, and as a result the pavement will require a more attentive maintenance schedule with crack filling and careful monitoring. If possible, lay a much thicker (4” to 6”) paving layer in collection areas to hold off this damage.

3. Sunlight

Sunlight oxidizes the oils and binding agents in the asphalt, causing them to lose that wonderful dark-black coloration, as well as the ability to hold the asphalt layers together and flex securely during heavy use. Routine sealcoating is the best solution, as it provides a fresh wear layer to handle this sun exposure, protecting the layers below.

4. Water

The same way that water erodes and breaks down natural stone, it also breaks up asphalt by undermining and washing away supporting layers, and then freezing to heave the material above upwards. This process forms potholes and if left unchecked can compromise the entire paving structure. The effect is even worse when the water is contaminated with acid rain or man-made chemicals, which will work to slowly corrode the pavement.

The best way to deal with water, then, is to keep it out of the pavement entirely with regular maintenance including sealcoating and crack filling.

If you’ve noticed damage to your asphalt paving, Stripe a Lot can help. We’re a full service asphalt maintenance, repair, and paving company right here in West Michigan with a wide variety of services meeting the paving needs of homeowners, property managers, building owners, and contractors.

Call 616-772-2559 today to schedule your service.

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