There are a lot of ideas floating around when it comes to asphalt maintenance. The most important factor in maintaining your asphalt is being proactive. There are several DO’s and DON’Ts to keep in mind regarding asphalt maintenance and repair.
DO sealcoat your asphalt every 3-5 years
A sealcoat is a barrier that protects your asphalt from the sun’s harmful UV rays (oxidation), water and vehicle fluids. Sealcoat can be considered the sunscreen for your asphalt. However, like sunscreen, it needs to be reapplied regularly. A sealcoat will last approximately 3-5 years depending on weather and traffic conditions.
DO crackseal your cracks as soon as possible
Asphalt will eventually crack. It is inevitable. When your asphalt begins to crack, make sure to seal them as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary water to penetrate the cracks. Water will eventually make its way under the asphalt and degrade the stability of the base course. Once the base course fails, your cracks will widen and spread exponentially leading to alligatoring and potholes.
DO sweep your pavement at least yearly
Sweeping your lot removes loose gravel and improves the appearance of your parking lot. It also allows for professionals to inspect your lot for areas of failed asphalt. As with any sort of preventative maintenance plan, early detection of problems result is more cost effective methods of repair.
DO repair potholes
Potholes form when the base course under the asphalt becomes compromised. The only effective way to repair these areas is to cut and remove the failed asphalt, add new asphalt and compact.
DO check references
Contractors can speak in industry terms that can confuse a customer. When in doubt, ask for references from previous customers, check online ratings and reviews, and check with your local Better Business Bureau. You will want to make sure your contractor is licensed and in good standing with the state in which they are operating. As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention…”
OK – Now for the Don’ts:
DON’T let sprinklers directly water your asphalt
Adjust your sprinklers to make sure they don’t directly water your asphalt. Water penetrates into the pavement and degrades the stability of the basecourse that the asphalt sits on. When the base becomes unstable, alligatoring, cracks, depressions and potholes emerge.
DON’T allow your asphalt to become oxidized
The sun’s UV rays are not only damaging to your skin, they are just as dangerous to your asphalt. Oxidation occurs when asphalt is exposed to UV rays and oxygen. It turns the asphalt from black to grey and makes the surface brittle. It is critical to the life span of your asphalt to sealcoat it within 12 months of new asphalt being installed.
DON’T allow heavy equipment on your asphalt
Heavy equipment puts an enormous strain on your asphalt. If your parking lot is already showing signs of cracking or areas of degraded base course, heavy trucks and equipment will expand the damage further. If you must have heavy equipment/vehicles on your asphalt, consider installing a concrete pad where these vehicles drive.
DON’T neglect asphalt maintenance
Asphalt maintenance is similar to vehicle maintenance. Regular routine assessments and services are critical to extending the life of your pavement. If you skip an oil change, problems tend to compound. The same is true with asphalt. Consistent cracksealing, jointsealing, sealcoating, pothole repair and striping can extend the life of your asphalt to 20-30 years! Protect your investment and maintain it!
DON’T always pick the lowest price
When it comes down to choosing a contractor, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. If you aren’t sure how to do this, make sure the measurements are in the same units (square feet vs square yards), the scope of work is the same (sealcoat, crackseal, patching, etc.), and the materials being quoted are the same (i.e. MasterSeal MTR which lasts 3-5 years vs MasterSeal TRMSS which lasts 6-12 months).
When in doubt, ask your sales representative to review all the bids you’ve collected with you. Feel free to black out the pricing and contractor if needed but let the sales representative help you compare the bids so you are making the best informed decision possible.
Please contact us at 505-897-8190 and we will be happy to assist you in making an informed decision.