How to Keep Your Newly-Paved Asphalt Surfaces from Falling Apart?
Rome was not built in one day. Neither are asphalt surfaces if we are speaking technicalities. Sure, laying down the hot liquid asphalt takes maybe just one afternoon, but that is only surface work. The real deal starts immediately the hot asphalt gets into contact with the ground. The chemical composition of asphalt makes it a highly viscous semi-solid petroleum component. It is laid on the ground in its viscous liquid (semi-solid) form after which it starts the cooling process.
As it cools, it also begins aging as it gets broken down by sun oxidation, oil, gas, water penetration and most of all, cold weather. This entire process happens naturally in order for the asphalt to cool, solidify and harden. The entire process takes about 6 – 12 months. Before then, a newly-paved asphalt surface is delicate and needs to be taken care well. Trust renowned asphalt contractors to give you the dos and don’ts of handling your newly-paved asphalt surface to avoid damaging it.
Tips to care for your newly-paved asphalt surface.
Freshly laid asphalt is hard enough to support human weight. A few hours after it’s laid, you can take a walk on it and feel the smooth surface underneath your feet. But it’s a no-go-zone for your vehicle. At least not for the first 1-3 days. When temperatures are really high, like during summer, the asphalt takes even longer to cool down enough to support a vehicle’s weight. So during such times, refrain from having any form of traffic on your newly-paved asphalt surface for 5 to 7 days.
After a few days, vehicles can now be driven over the fresh asphalt surface. The smooth surface will be a tease but hold your horses. No fast drives, races or any form of rough driving can happen – yet. The asphalt is still delicate and will remain so for the next 6 to 12 months. During the extremely hot days, the asphalt will expand and contract with the heat, thanks to its viscous and flexible nature. For the next 3 – 4 months, when temperatures spike nova, you may water down the asphalt surface with a hose to temporarily cool and harden it. There are set rules to be followed to avoid damaging the asphalt and your contractor will tell you all about them.
You can park your vehicle on the asphalt surface. A stationary car won’t do any harm to the delicate surface. However, make sure not to park the car at the same spot each day. Even at 3 months, the surface would have “cured”, but not enough to be as hard as concrete. The same amount of pressure exerted at one particular spot could cause a depression.
Care must be taken when starting the car and driving off. Starting your vehicle and pulling away too fast will have the tires rotate fast. The friction from the tires could scar the surface of the asphalt. Also, avoid turning the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary. This could cause spot damage. Also, keep large trucks such as RVs off the asphalt surface. The weight could create depressions.
Furthermore, jack stands and pointed objects such as chairs, bicycle stands and heels should be avoided especially during the two weeks. If you must use a jack stand, ramps, or campers, use a plywood underneath them to redistribute the pressure.
The weakest areas of the asphalt surfaces are the edges. They take longer to cool and solidify. Driving off these edges could make them crack and crumble since they have no side support as the middle of the surface does.
Regularly clean the asphalt surface by sweeping off dirt. Dirt has a tendency to pull the oil off the blacktop of the paving. That’s not good for the asphalt. Moreover, regularly check on any oil, transmission fluid, anti-freeze, power steering or gasoline spillage from your car. Any of this spilling onto the asphalt could interrupt the ‘healing’ process making it hard for the surface to harden. You could use seal coat to protect the asphalt from damage by such spillage, but it’s advised to consider using it after the 6 – 12 month period.
Keep in mind that the constant expansion and contraction will cause variation in the texture of the asphalt surface. More so, during winter, the extreme rapid contraction could lead to cracks developing on the surface. Such cracks need to be filled with crack filler immediately to avoid escalation of the crack. Make sure to call professionals like such listed here to do the crack filling.