Porous asphalt represents a revolutionary technique in the world of commercial paving. It boasts the exact same attractiveness and performance as regular asphalt, while being even better suited to resist the most common source of asphalt damage – water. Of course, even porous asphalt has to be maintained to prevent unwanted problems.
Porous asphalt has much to offer those in need of a new driveway, parking lot, or roadway. However, you should educate yourself about the specific maintenance needs of porous asphalt. This article will help you protect your investment in a porous asphalt pavement by discussing three key maintenance tips.
1. Keep Your Asphalt Free of Debris
Porous asphalt represents what is known as an open-grade paving mixture. Don’t let this technical term intimidate you. An open-grade mix simply omits certain sizes of aggregate, specifically those on the smaller end of the spectrum. This omission means that the resulting pavement will possess void spaces throughout its entire depth.
These void spaces are the key to porous asphalt’s water resistance. Instead of pooling up on the surface – a phenomenon that greatly accelerates the process of crack formation – water can drain safely down through the asphalt into the soil. Over time, those void spaces will become clogged up with dirt, leaves, and other forms of outdoor debris.
As you can imagine, this impedes the free movement of water through the pavement. As a result, that water will hang around for longer periods of time – leading to an increased rate of wear and tear. Therefore, the most important aspect of porous asphalt maintenance involves regularly removing foreign matter from the pavement.
The best results can be derived using a two-prong approach of vacuuming and pressure washing. Of course, a regular vacuum simply won’t be powerful enough. Instead, a heavy-duty road vacuum must be used – preferably by a professional with the requisite training. They will then follow this up by pressure washing the pavement in order to loosen up any lingering debris.
2. Use Rock Salt When De-Icing
Porous asphalt is a great choice for those who live in wintery climates, thanks to the fact that its open structure increases airflow. In turn, this promotes quicker melting and less accumulation of snow and ice. Of course, you will likely still find yourself needing to apply some sort of de-icing substance from time to time.
Be aware that you should never use sand to de-ice porous asphalt. As you can probably guess, that sand will clog up the open structure of the asphalt once the snow and ice have melted, which makes drainage less effective. Always stick to rock salt when it comes to de-icing a porous asphalt pavement.
3. Skip the Seal Coat
Seal coat consists of a water-thinned form of asphalt known as asphalt emulsion. When applied to the surface of regular asphalt every few years, seal coat will restore its strength and flexibility. Most professionals consider seal coat application a mandatory part of asphalt maintenance – except where porous asphalt is concerned.
Seal coat will have a negative effect if applied to porous asphalt. For one thing, it will clog up the open structure and make the pavement much more vulnerable to water accumulation. For another thing, the sticky properties of seal coat will attract dirt and other unwanted forms of debris, which accelerates the clogging process even more.
Porous asphalt should be strongly considered by anyone in need of a new asphalt pavement. Its unique attributes make it especially suited for life outdoors. To discuss whether porous asphalt would be a good choice for your next paving project, feel free to call the pros at Howard Companies.