Asphalt is the main material used on roads in Canada, and it’s used for a reason. It’s durable, and has longevity and resilience. Just like everything, however, it has its life span. Asphalt deterioration can occur from a number of things, just like any paved surface. Some of these factors include poor construction technique, continuous exposure to the elements or severe weather conditions.
As soon as the asphalt is exposed to the wear and tear of traffic, the deterioration process begins. It comes into contact with water and chemicals which begin to break down the “glue” or adhesive that holds together the asphalt.
Aside from the natural asphalt deterioration that takes place over time, premature deterioration can also occur from poor construction. Incorrect temperatures during the application process, weak drainage and over/under compacted asphalt or incorrectly compacted base.
Water can seep into the asphalt, break down its base and loosen it causing it to crack and become brittle. Although this happens over time, lack of maintenance can speed this process up. Areas that are prone to heavy rainfall, like home sweet home Vancouver, should regularly pay close attention to the state of their paved surfaces.
Make sure to sealcoat your surfaces. Sealcoating creates a protective layer over the asphalt that isolates it from the deteriorating effects of water, sunlight and chemicals.
Exposure to sunlight can cause the liquid asphalt to oxidize and reduces its ability to hold the rocks together. It also causes it to grey/fade and age much faster.
Sealcoating is a great solution for excessive sunlight exposure too, however, it isn’t necessary for areas that don’t get much of it.
Exposure to chemicals, gas and oil from heavy traffic flow can greatly contribute to the deterioration of surfaces. They cause the asphalt to soften and the liquid asphalt binder to lose its elasticity and ability to hold together. In warm areas, the heating up of chemicals on the roadways speeds up this process which luckily, is not something we have to worry about in Vancouver.
Once again, seal coating is the best preventative measure to ensure your pavement lasts as long as possible. Although not a permanent solution, it is key in maintaining your surfaces and slowing down the aging process.
As trees grow and age, the roots find their homes either deep down or close to the surface and demolish the paving job. They’re much stronger than you think, and if the planting and paving was done incorrectly you have a recipe for disaster.
Meet with a paving contractor and an arborist to come up with a workable solution. This will ensure the job gets done right the first time around if you are planting new trees and paving.
If planting new trees, the arborist can tell you how they should be planted to ensure they have enough space.
The arborist can also tell you which trees have shallow roots, and which trees have deep roots. If the roots are shallow, they can be trained to go deep so they don’t compromise your surface.
Tree roots are strong. If the area you are building in simply doesn’t allow enough space for the tree to healthily grow, opt for another form of plant life that will not cause havoc on your property in the long term. Always keep in mind that these are living beings that need water and space to thrive.
Contact our experts at Richmond Blacktop to get free estimate, and meet with us and discuss your next project. We can teach you how to slow the asphalt deterioration process and prevent it. We are happy to help you, and look forward to making sure the job is done right, on time and with the highest quality of workmanship.