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What Causes Asphalt to Wear Down?

If you’ve chosen asphalt to pave your driveway, private road, or commercial parking lot, chances are you did so because of the many benefits this surfacing material provides. Asphalt is strong, durable, and affordable. It cuts down on road noise, it can help to melt snow and ice, and it’s entirely sustainable. In fact, it’s the single most recycled product in the U.S.

However, asphalt is not immune to wear and tear, and over time it can begin to deteriorate or suffer from damage like cracks and chips, especially if it is not properly maintained. What causes asphalt to wear down? Here’s what you should be aware of.

Traffic

Asphalt is made to be driven on, but over time, the friction and weight of traffic can cause asphalt to wear down. Heavy traffic can start to strip away surface layers of asphalt that protect it from moisture and damage. Traffic can also cause compaction over time that compromises the structure of the material.

With proper maintenance and care, these issues can be addressed and asphalt can last for many years, but eventually, the wear and tear of traffic will take their toll and you’ll have to replace pavement.

Weather

The onslaught of the elements is always a concern for paved surfaces, and while flexible, durable asphalt holds up well under a wide array of weather conditions, it will still be affected by extreme heat and cold. The good news is that there are solutions to fill cracks and chips in both cold and hot weather, so you should be able to maintain your asphalt year-round to prevent further damage.

Improper Drainage

If you have a lot of wet weather in your area, it’s important to account for it when installing asphalt, as excessive moisture can damage this surfacing material. If you’re unable to grade the surface or install adequate drainage around the property, consider using permeable asphalt that siphons away water to prevent damage to the surface.

Improper Application

The vast majority of asphalt contractors are trained, experienced, and committed to providing customers with stellar services. That said, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility that you could end up with a contractor that cuts corners or simply doesn’t know what he/she is doing. This is why it’s imperative to find a paving company that is familiar with your area (including soil, weather, and so on) and has the experience to install your asphalt properly.