Water and Asphalt: What You Need to Know

Your asphalt driveway or parking lot is an important part of your business image. It’s one of the first and last impressions that customers and business partners will have. So, while it’s an easy thing to overlook, protecting the asphalt is a valuable task.

One of the biggest foes you have in your battle to maintain an attractive parking lot is water. How does water affect the asphalt? And what can you do to fix these problems? Here’s what you need to know.

How Does Water Damage Asphalt?

Asphalt is a mixture of aggregate and binding agents that keep it together. This makes it somewhat porous and subject to loosening of these sticky combinations. Water, unfortunately, is one element that can get into and under the asphalt in ways that most other elements can’t. And once water seeps inside or underneath, it starts to push the bitumen, gravel, and other ingredients apart.

Not only does water cause damage, but it’s also something that asphalt must face on a daily basis. From dewy mornings to spring rainstorms to snow and ice in the winter, water is a constant threat you must battle in order to stay ahead of its effects.

What Are Signs of Water Damage?

What does water damage to asphalt look like? It’s often invisible, as the damage really goes on once it gets inside. But any property owner can look for a few common indicators.

Cracks may or may not be caused by water itself, but they are a primary way for water to get inside the asphalt and go to work. And if that water freezes inside, the problem is exacerbated because frozen water expands while the gravel and asphalt ingredients don’t. So be aware of the growth of cracks in your lot.

Exposed aggregate, gravel debris, and dust forming on top of the asphalt is often another sign of trouble. As water pries apart the bound materials, the aggregate will become loose on the surface. The asphalt may also shrink as a result of this loss, leaving even more ground exposed over time.

In addition to cracks and asphalt debris, look for ruts forming and water pooling where vehicles travel. These may indicate that the asphalt has worn out underneath the surface and is shrinking. Finally, water that pools along the exposed sides of the asphalt may get inside from all directions.

How Can You Protect Asphalt Against Water?

Now that you know what water damage can look like, how do you protect against it? One important preventive measure is to seal the asphalt. This puts down a protective layer on top of the asphalt to form a barrier against water getting inside. You may need to replace seal coats every few years.

A seal coat wears down, of course, so crack filling is one of the most valuable ongoing protections. Because cracks are a main source of water penetration, filling these prevents water from gaining entry through them. Patches for larger holes and road damage do the same job by keeping that water out.

You may also need to resolve drainage issues. This may be fixed with things like drainage channels, water diversion, and ground leveling.

Where Should You Start?

No matter how old or new your asphalt is, the best place to begin protecting it is to consult with an experienced asphalt contractor in your area. Ohio businesses have relied on the experienced and skillful team at Pinnacle Paving & Sealing for more than 30 years. Call today to make an appointment and see how we can help you win your battle against water damage.

Posted in