Asphalt is so pervasive that we almost forget that it’s there. From paved streets to busy highways, asphalt is everywhere. We’re most likely to notice it, though, when it’s in less than perfect condition with an uneven surface or growing potholes. So what are the elements that pose the biggest threats to the integrity of asphalt paving?
Asphalt in regions of the country that experience hot summers and frigid winters tends to show more wear and tear than asphalt in more temperate climates. This is because, like most materials, asphalt will expand in hot weather and contract in colder temperatures. This repeated expanding and contracting of asphalt can weaken its surface and make it much more prone to damage.
Moisture might be the biggest threat to asphalt, especially when it occurs in conjunction with the temperature fluctuations mentioned above. As moisture from rain or melting snow permeates asphalt, it seeps down to the foundation weakening both the surface and the layers below. More and more specialists are now installing porous asphalt options where appropriate. These surfaces allow water to filter completely through the pavement, thus preventing moisture related damage.
Highways and busy streets tend to see the most wear and tear due to heavy traffic, which is why cities are constantly needing to upkeep and repave main thoroughfares to keep driving conditions safe. While you aren’t likely to see heavy traffic in and out of your driveway, it is very likely that your car’s tires are consistently passing over the exact same strip of pavement. This repeated use of one stretch of your driveway can cause it to show uneven wear and tear.
When it comes to residential paved surfaces, the biggest threat to the asphalt is poor installation. While the concept of laying asphalt is pretty basic, it actually requires a good deal of skill, experience, and specialized equipment to do well. If your asphalt isn’t laid correctly, chances are that it will be showing cracks and damage in little time at all. For this reason, it’s always best to invest in your driveway by hiring an experienced asphalt professional with years of quality experience.
Finding a Qualified Asphalt Specialist
While there’s no avoiding the inevitable and eventual wear and tear of a paved driveway, there are ways that you can help ensure that your asphalt lasts as long as possible. The best bet in extending the lifespan of your pavement is to make sure that it is properly installed by a qualified specialist. Asphalt experts not only have the appropriate equipment and experience to ensure a perfect installation, but will also be able to recommend the most suitable type of pavement for your property and climate.
When it comes to choosing a qualified asphalt specialist, it’s always better not to cut corners. There are plenty of great resources — including online reviews and ratings — to help you find a contractor with the right skills and training. Asphalt does break down eventually — but when it’s done right, it won’t show signs of wear and tear for a very long time.