Asphalt is incredibly durable – you might even consider it a superhero among materials. But, just as with superheroes, asphalt has its kryptonite, which comes in the form of moisture. Moisture that settles and rests on pavement can take a once-firm and durable surface and cause it to crumble and fail.
With much of the area’s rain falling between April and August, now is an excellent time to learn how to safeguard your parking lot from moisture issues. Learn what you can do from these tips.
Moisture protection for asphalt surfaces begins with proper drainage – a failure in this area will inevitably lead to damage. An easy way to tell if you have a drainage issue is to look at your parking lot after a heavy rain. Large puddles of water that remain on the surface for days after the rain has stopped means that the water is pooling instead of draining away.
Over time, the standing water breaks through the protective layer of the pavement and causes an oxidation process to occur. Oxidation forces the binder in the asphalt to separate, transforming the pavement from one solid surface to more of a gravel-like texture.
During this phase the asphalt will continue to crumble, allowing more water to penetrate its deeper layers and only making matters worse. A good drainage system is one that factors in the slope of the lot to ensure the rainwater can easily drain into the gutters. An asphalt contractor can help you resolve any drainage problems.
Sealcoating is the protective barrier that rests over the top of an asphalt surface. Much like a paint application, sealcoating is intended to prevent moisture, as well as oils and UV rays, from penetrating the asphalt and weakening its structure. Whenever a new asphalt parking lot is installed, a sealcoat application is applied.
However, some business owners forget to repeat this process. On average, you should have the application reapplied somewhere around every two to four years over the life of the lot. Repeating this step is vital, as the sun and everyday traffic over the parking lot will eventually cause the sealcoat to break down and wear away.
During periods of rain, this lack of a barrier means that moisture will settle on the asphalt and seep into its underlayers, which will also cause it to crumble. Any person not making an effort to sealcoat their lot is basically asking for moisture problems.
An imperfection in the surface of the asphalt is often a precursor for moisture damage. Imperfections like cracking, potholes, and divots should be avoided and repaired right away. All these issues do one crucial thing: they leave an opening in the asphalt.
Even if you have a good drainage system in place, some of the moisture from regular rainfall will seep into the underlayers of the asphalt through the opening and ignite the damaging oxidation process. The longer these imperfections remain in the pavement, the more significant is the damage.
Start your efforts by preventing this damage. For example, you can lower the risk of a pothole forming by ensuring you aren’t parking any large objects on the asphalt for an extended period. So, if you have large trucks you house at your business, consider creating a separate gravel lot to park these vehicles.
However, in the event of any damage, have it repaired by an asphalt contractor right away.
Moisture doesn’t have to damage your asphalt parking lot – make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps to protect it. To ensure your lot is rain-ready, and to handle all of your other asphalt needs, Howard Companies is here to help.