How Can Rain Damage Your Asphalt?

Everyone knows that April showers lead to May flowers, but excessive spring rain can also wreak havoc on your asphalt. Exposure to rainwater can seriously erode asphalt over time if the proper preventative measures are not taken. Preparing your asphalt for the rainy season can help prevent cracking and erosion and keep it looking good all year round. 

Typical asphalt is made up of aggregates (hard materials like sand, gravel, crushed stone, and rock dust) held together by a binder. Standing water, which is common during spring, goes through a continuous freezing and thawing cycle as outdoor temperatures fluctuate. During this cycle, the water molecules expand and contract in the cracks of your asphalt, leading to the occurrence of a process known as “stripping.” Stripping weakens the aggregate’s grip on the binder and causes your asphalt to deteriorate.  

Once the stripping process begins and the pavement weakens, new cracks can form and existing ones can grow rapidly. As the problem worsens, water can leak below the sub-base of the asphalt and seriously compromise its structural integrity. As cracking increases and water penetrate the surface of your pavement, it can lead to a problem known in the industry as “alligator cracking.” It is referred to as such because excessive crack webs in black pavement resemble the scales on the back of an alligator. Alligator cracking is not only unsightly, but it also signifies serious structural damage to the asphalt’s underlying layers. The good news is that these problems are very avoidable if you take the right measures to protect your pavement. 

How You Can Protect Against Water Damage 

One highly effective measure for protecting your asphalt against water damage is called sealcoating. The sealcoating process consists of covering the top layer of the pavement with a protective liquid. Parking lot sealcoating offers lasting protection from water, oil, and the sun’s rays. It can also help you save money in the long run by eliminating the potential need for expensive repairs. The three most common types of sealcoat are refined tar-based, asphalt-based, and petroleum-based. Your contractor can help you choose the best type of sealcoat for your specific needs.  

Another way to prevent long-term water damage is to make sure your surface has adequate drainage. Smart contractors can utilize slopes and asphalt curbing to direct water away from the pavement. Proper drainage can ensure that water doesn’t pool on the asphalt’s surface, helping to prevent erosion and stripping. 

Structural damage to asphalt is a scary problem to face, but can be avoided using relatively simple measures. To learn about asphalt maintenance and commercial sealcoating in Montgomery County and the Philadelphia region, reach out to the pros at Associated Paving Contractors Inc. today!