What is asphalt?
Asphalt, also known as blacktop or pavement, is actually a mix of 95% solids, stone, sand, and stone dust, and 5% liquid asphalt. The aggregates are ran through a large dryer which heat the product. Then the liquid asphalt is added. Thereafter, it is loaded into trucks and shipped to each project. There are an unlimited amount of mix designs that change the size and amount of aggregates in the mix which changes the finish and strength of each product. For example, the asphalt placed below highways has a much higher concentration of larger stones. This provides a lot of strength for the heavier vehicles and higher traffic that will travel it daily. The downside of the large stones is they leave open gapes that would allow water to penetrate easily. So then a smoother mix of asphalt is placed on top to provide a more water tight surface and a smoother ride.
Why does asphalt fade?
Asphalt, a mixture of stone and asphaltic concrete, is placed fresh and looks nice and black. As mentioned the “liquid asphalt” only makes up about 5% of the pavement. Upon placement the liquid asphalt is coating every single stone and granule of sand in the mix. Over time, traffic wears away the top coat of the liquid asphalt and exposes the underlying gravel and sand. Natural elements like UV rays from the sun can also cause the asphalt to fade.
What can I do to protect my parking lot or roadway?
Maintaining your parking lot is the best way to protect your asphalt surface. Items like sealcoating and crack sealing can help prevent damages to the asphalt pavement. Once the asphalt becomes grey it doesn’t have the ability to absorb much of the Sun’s rays. By seal coating the surface you not only create a water tight surface but you add the rich black color that the asphalt needs to absorb to warm the surface and remain flexible. Crack sealing helps any water from further seeping into the asphalt pavements sub base. The water that gets below the surface will cause cracks and potholes.
What are the benefits of asphalt?
There are many. It is the most affordable product to be placed in driveways, highways, roadways, and parking lots. Short term and long term. Even including the cost of maintaining it over 40 years. The installation process is typically very quick and non-intrusive. Asphalt is also 100% recyclable. When an existing asphalt pavement surface is milled or dug out, that exiting material can be reutilized and put back into new asphalt material. This is called RAP, also known as, reclaimed asphalt pavement. There are certain percentages that are allowed in each mix and are approved by DOT (Department of Transportation).
Does asphalt come in colors?
Asphalt is black, but there are many coatings that can be applied to add color to the surface. As well as heated stamps to add a decorative entrance or border to a new or existing asphalt. This is called stamped asphalt. This is becoming more popular in shopping centers for walkways!