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The Road to Ruin: What’s Wearing Down Your Asphalt?

So you have this beautiful piece of asphalt. Or so you’ve always thought. But lately you’re noticing some wear that you can’t quite identify. Over there, it seems to be cracking. And over there, it looks like an expensive pair of alligator shoes. We call it alligator cracking. It’s not made of alligator and it doesn’t have to be expensive to fix, not if you know how to de-stress your asphalt and treat potential issues before they become monumental problems.

Cracked asphalt pothole

So how do you know? It starts with simple observation. Maybe you’ve noticed a particular area of asphalt that seems to always shows premature wear, or where edge cracks begin to appear. Perhaps there are upheavals or swells. Maybe the beginnings of a pothole form. You’ve had the area “fixed,” or patched, but without knowing if the real issue is caused by something like proper drainage or perhaps a weak subgrade, you end up treating the symptom rather than curing the disease. Proper identification can help you address the area of asphalt in question and avoid more costly repair.

How do find out what’s distressing your asphalt? Here is a short list of things you can do to help diagnose the problem:

  1. Educate yourself: The Asphalt Institute has a great website that discusses a number of symptoms of asphalt distress, as well as causes and potential fixes. This non-profit organization, founded in 1919, is dedicated to promoting the use, benefits and performance of asphalt, and they’re committed to helping you learn about possible causes for asphalt distress.
  2. Keep track of repair dates and details: By keeping track of when you had to repair your asphalt and what type of repair was performed, along with a record of the potential lifespan of that repair, you can more easily identify if asphalt is still showing premature signs of wear or distress.
  3. Be observant: Standing water and poor drainage is one of the leading causes of premature asphalt aging and degradation. By walking a property after a rainstorm, you can quickly identify and map areas of potential concern, especially those that may not be draining properly. During dry months, look for water stains.
  4. Ask your vendor for help: A qualified, reputable asphalt paving company (hint: ACE) will help you to identify and address root causes of issues your pavement may be experiencing. When you call, be specific and detailed so you can get the help you need to fix what needs to be repaired.
  5. Recognize potential materials and process issues: Some issues may be caused by poorly constructed subgrade, mix that was too dry or wet when laid, mixtures that are too high in sand or oil, or asphalt that is laid when the weather is too cool. Such issues are generally a signal it may be time to switch to a more reputable and better qualified asphalt paving company. We have one in mind.

There can be any number of causes for your asphalt’s cracking, depressions, or potholes. The key is knowing what to look for so you know when it’s time to call in an ACE in order to turn your road or parking lot from ruin to resilient, and get it looking like new again in no time.

Contact Ace Asphalt for a free assessment and assistance in creating or updating your pavement maintenance plan.

ACE Asphalt is a full service asphalt maintenance, repair, and paving company with offices in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Dallas,Texas. Ace serves the parking lot repair, maintenance, and paving needs of property managers, building owners, and contractors.

(1) responses to "The Road to Ruin: What’s Wearing Down Your Asphalt?"
Frank Reed says: 22-Aug-2016 09:07 AM
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