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  • Hick's Paving

What to Know About Asphalt Lifespan

While asphalt is found everywhere, from our driveways to main roads, it invariably deteriorates. However, the speed of deterioration depends on several factors.

While you may know about traffic and weather affecting asphalt’s lifespan, there are other important factors that are not so apparent. Let's explore what factors affect how long asphalt stays in good condition:

What factors affect asphalt longevity?

Here are some of the factors that affect asphalt longevity:

  • Soil conditions

The ground under your asphalt matters a lot. Different types of soil can affect how well your asphalt holds up.

Clayey soils, for instance, hold onto water and can expand and shrink with temperature changes, causing cracks.  Sandy soils drain well but might not provide enough stability, leading to uneven settling and even potholes. 

On the other hand, sandy loams strike a balance, offering good drainage and stability for your asphalt.

  • De-icing salt's sneaky damage

Salt used to melt ice on roads during winter can be helpful but harmful to your asphalt, as it breaks down the glue holding asphalt together, causing cracks and crumbling. 

It also attracts moisture, which can weaken the structure, especially with freeze-thaw cycles. Regular cleaning and using neutralizing agents can help lessen the damage caused by salt.

Other determining factors include:

  • Quality and thickness: Thicker asphalt made with better materials lasts longer.

  • Traffic volume and weight: Heavy vehicles can wear down asphalt faster.

  • Drainage: Good drainage prevents water from weakening the ground under the asphalt.

  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance, like fixing cracks, adding sealant, and patching holes, helps asphalt last longer.

Traffic intensity and asphalt longevity

When it comes to longevity, traffic intensity is a major factor to consider. High-traffic areas like highways and busy intersections often wear and tear quickly, leading to cracks and potholes.

To increase durability in these areas, using high-quality materials, thicker asphalt layers, and conducting regular maintenance like inspections and repairs are necessary. Altering the asphalt mix with flexible and damage-resistant materials can also improve longevity.

How weather affects asphalt

When it's hot, asphalt can soften, leading to cracks and bumps. It's important to protect it with regular sealcoating. In cold weather, when it freezes, asphalt becomes brittle and can crack. 

Also, too much rain can weaken the base underneath, causing potholes. Furthermore, UV radiation weakes the asphalt binder over time.

Tips to keep asphalt strong

Here are some maintenance practices to help your asphalt last longer:

  • Fix cracks quickly to stop them from getting worse. 

  • Apply sealant every 2-3 years to shield asphalt from water and sun damage.

  • Repair small holes promptly to prevent them from getting bigger. 

  • Keep the surface clean by removing debris regularly to avoid water buildup and help with drainage.

Keep your asphalt surface smooth and strong

Asphalt pavements last a long time, but they won't last forever. You can make it last longer by knowing what affects how long it stays good and doing the right upkeep.

This means you'll have smoother, safer roads for longer, saving money too. For expert help and quality asphalt laying and repair services, contact us at Hicks Paving today. 


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