Asphalt comes from refined petroleum. Most people know that fuel (gasoline and diesel) is a product of refined petroleum. What people outside the asphalt industry do not know is that asphalt is what is left after all other products are removed (gasoline, kerosene, lubricating oil, etc.). Asphalt itself is a sticky, black highly viscous liquid, not the hard black surface we all drive on every day. Asphalt (also known as bitumen) is mixed with various aggregates to form the asphalt pavement you see every day. Aggregates consist of rocks, sand, gravel and a variety of lesser used items.
Concrete is a composite material made primarily with aggregate, cement and water. Concrete is the most used man made product in the world.
There are two causes of pavement failure. The first is improper subbase. Subbases that are not structurally sound will not properly distribute traffic weight and allow cracking and crumbling. The second cause is the most common, water penetration. If your pavement is not correctly sloped and does not drain well, water penetrates the pavement and causes subbase failures.
Sealcoat is a liquid that is applied to asphalt to protect it from oxidation and the damage caused by winter cracking. Sealcoating is not only a cold climate need though. Since asphalt is a petroleum based product other petroleum products will react with the surface – this includes vehicle oil and gasoline. The sealcoat will act as a barrier against those materials, as well as de-icing agents and harmful UV rays.
Commercial parking lots should be sealed once a year, residential driveways can be stretched to every other year as long as the traffic use, weather conditions and de-icing products used aren’t excessive.
A well laid parking surface should last about 15 years before it needs resurfacing.
Asphalt resurfacing is performed by removing (or milling) the top 2 inches of asphalt surface. A new layer of asphalt (or topper) is applied, creating a band new asphalt surface.
Yes! Asphalt pavement is 100% recyclable and, in most cases, actually performs better the second use. Asphalt roads are often removed, crushed, then mixed with additional materials (stone, sand, gravel), adding in fresh asphalt cement, remixed and then paved back onto the road. Roofing shingles, metal-casting foundries and rubber from used ties are a few additional recycled materials that can be used.
Asphalt is a very versatile material that can be used for a variety of things. Basketball and tennis courts as well as running tracks and airport runways are a few of the many uses for asphalt pavement.
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