OverviewAsphalt is used for an incredible number of surfaces in the modern world. You will find asphalt being used for public roads, airport runways, parking lots, driveways, and more. When compared to other options for surfacing, asphalt is affordable, easy-to-install, and long-lasting. Most people in the developed world encounter at least a little bit of asphalt each and every day.
While asphalt is an incredible product, it is not perfect. Like any other material used for construction, asphalt can develop problems over time. Fortunately, through basic asphalt repair, these problems can often be dealt with quickly and easily. Some cases will require asphalt resurfacing or even complete replacement, but many cases can be handled successfully with a simple repair job. As long as repair work is done in a timely manner, you can expect to get an impressively long life from your pavement.
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Common ProblemsThere are a few common problems that can be seen in asphalt surfaces which will need to be dealt with in order to keep your pavement in good condition over the long run. As long as they are dealt with quickly, these problems can usually be kept under control – meaning you won’t need to replace or repave the entire surface. Three of the most common problems are as follows –
- Small cracks. Over time, the ground under your asphalt pavement can shift and settle slightly, and that movement may lead to small cracks in the surface. While these cracks are unsightly, they really don’t pose much of a threat to the overall pavement. A quick repair job completed by an experienced asphalt repair company should have your pavement looking great in short order.
- Potholes. These are a bigger problem than small cracks, as they are going to affect the performance of your asphalt. For example, if you are dealing with an asphalt driveway, a pot hole right in the way of where you wish to park your car would be a major inconvenience. When you find that a small section of the paved surface is simply gone, you will know that you are dealing with a pothole. Usually, a pothole will develop over time if you allow a collection of small cracks to go untreated.
- Sinkholes. You might think at first that a pothole and a sink hole would be the same thing – but that is not actually the case. With a pot hole, you are dealing with a hole where the asphalt material is physically gone. On the other hand, a sinkhole still has the asphalt in place, it has just been sunk down below the grade of the rest of the surface. You will be able to easily notice these holes after a rainstorm as there will be a small pool of water collected in the sinkhole. It is often the case that a poor base underneath your pavement is the cause of a sinkhole. Some sinkholes will be able to be repaired with a small patch, but some cases might require more advanced work such as cutting out a section of the pavement.
The proper repair for an issue with your asphalt pavement is going to depend on the problem at hand. By working with an experienced asphalt contractor you can take the guesswork out of this process. Once the issue is accurately identified, a good contractor will be able to quickly address it with a repair that should last for many years to come.
Pre-Repair WorkBefore asphalt repair can be completed, the surface is first going to need to be in the proper condition for repair to take place. If the pre-repair work is not done correctly, there is a good chance that the repair will fail in the end. To start, the surface needs to be cleared of dirt. Since most asphalt surfaces are used to accommodate cars in some way, there is almost certainly going to be dirt accumulated on the pavement. A small space may be able to be cleared by using a broom, while a larger piece of asphalt may require the use of water – likely water that is coming from a pressure washer. Of course, if water is used, the surface is going to need to be allowed to dry thoroughly before the repair work can begin.
In addition to cleaning dirt off the surface, another important step is to eliminate any vegetation from the cracks which may be developing in the asphalt. Small weeds and other plant life can grow up out of even tiny cracks in the asphalt. All of that vegetation will need to go before the work can begin, so allowing time for this part of the job is important as well. Most of the time, vegetation can be removed either through the use of simple garden tools or a torch.
The Point of No ReturnThe ability to repair asphalt surfaces is one of the major selling points of this material as compared to other options. However, even asphalt will eventually reach a ‘point of no return’. When that is the case, the best option is to simply resurface or replace the surface rather than trying to continually repair problems like cracks, potholes, and sink holes.
Asphalt resurfacing is a viable option when you are confident that the base underneath the pavement is still in good condition. If that is the case, a fresh layer of asphalt can be laid and the job can be completed quickly. However, in cases where the base of the pavement is thought to be compromised as well, an entire replacement project should be undertaken. The current surface can be taken away, the base can be repaired as necessary, and a new piece of pavement can be laid.
Whether the best option for your project is asphalt repair, resurfacing, or complete replacement, one of the biggest keys to success is working with the right contractor. A good asphalt contractor will be able to address your needs specifically based on the condition of your pavement. As long as it is cared for properly, an asphalt surface should be able to serve you reliably well into the future.