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2 Of Asphalt's Worst Enemies

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Asphalt, by and large, is a tough and durable substance. Yet certain factors can still cause it to begin breaking down long before it should. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent such damage by taking appropriate actions. If you would like to learn more about protecting your asphalt, read on. This article will discuss two common sources of damage--and how to prevent them.  

Heavy Trucks

Driveways, streets, and parking lots that are regularly traversed by heavy trucks are at a much greater risk of suffering damage. That's because such vehicles bear down on the asphalt surface with much greater force. This force is expressed in terms of ESALs--an acronym standing for equivalent single axle load. The greater the ESAL of a particular vehicle, the greater the risk of it causing damage to an asphalt surface.

Unless it is of a great enough depth, asphalt simply doesn't have the structural fortitude to withstand the ESALs of garbage, delivery, and/or moving trucks. The great weight of these vehicles causes the asphalt to become compressed, thus leading to the formation of cracks. Such cracks allow the intrusion of water, which in turn hastens the rate of decay. Repairing asphalt cracks in a timely manner is the best way to keep heavy truck traffic from leading to more serious forms of damage. 

Sunlight

Asphalt that is exposed to direct sunlight has a tendency to turn grey and become brittle much more quickly than asphalt in shady or covered areas. This is a direct result of the ultraviolet light given off by the sun. UV light leads to the asphalt's binding oils becoming oxidized, which in turn means that the aggregate rocks will no longer be held together as tightly. This means that, over time, cracks and potholes will be much more likely to form.

The best way to protect against the damaging power of the sun is to apply sealcoat to your asphalt surface. Seal coat is a so-called bituminous liquid. This term simply designates that, like asphalt itself, seal coat is a petroleum-based product. It acts to refresh the oils in asphalt, thus providing an increased measure of defense against sunlight.

Applying seal coat to your asphalt every few years will greatly extend its lifespan. Unprotected asphalt tends to become significantly compromised by oxidation after about ten years. Asphalt that has received regular treatments with sealcoat, on the other hand, can last as long as thirty years before it needs to be replaced. 

Contact a local outlet, such as Phend & Brown, for further assistance.   


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