Asphalt paving is a common construction method used for roads, driveways, and parking lots. However, there are some misconceptions surrounding this material and its application.
Let’s address a few of these misconceptions and provide the truth behind them:
Asphalt is the same as “tar.” Truth: While the terms “asphalt” and “tar” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Tar is a black, sticky substance derived from coal, whereas asphalt is a sticky, black, and semi-solid form of petroleum.
Asphalt paving is not environmentally friendly. Truth: Asphalt can be an environmentally friendly paving option when used and managed correctly. It is a recyclable material, and reclaimed asphalt can be used to construct new pavements, reducing the demand for new raw materials. Additionally, porous asphalt allows water to drain through, reducing runoff and helping manage stormwater.
Asphalt driveways or roads need to be sealed frequently. Truth: While sealcoating can help protect asphalt from oxidation, UV damage, and water penetration, it is not necessary to do it frequently. Sealcoating is typically recommended every 3-5 years, depending on the level of wear and tear the pavement experiences.
Asphalt paving is maintenance-free. Truth: While asphalt is durable and can withstand heavy traffic and various weather conditions, it does require some maintenance over time. Regular inspections, crack sealing, and patching are necessary to prolong the life of the pavement and prevent major issues.
Asphalt is only suitable for warm climates. Truth: Asphalt is commonly used in various climates, including colder regions. Proper mix design and installation techniques can ensure that asphalt pavements withstand the freeze-thaw cycles and temperature fluctuations.
Asphalt paving emits harmful fumes. Truth: Asphalt itself does not emit harmful fumes. However, during the paving process, there may be some odors and fumes from the hot asphalt mix. These fumes are not dangerous when the asphalt cools down and hardens.
Now, Thicker asphalt pavement is always better. Truth: The thickness of asphalt needed depends on the intended use and the load-bearing requirements. Thicker asphalt may be necessary for high-traffic areas or heavy vehicles, but for residential driveways and low-traffic roads, a thinner layer might be sufficient.
So, Asphalt paving is a quick and easy process. Truth: While asphalt paving can be completed efficiently by experienced contractors, it is not a task that can be rushed. Proper preparation, including grading and compaction, is crucial to ensure a durable and long-lasting pavement.
However, Alligator cracks in asphalt mean the pavement is beyond repair. Truth: Alligator cracking, a pattern of interconnected cracks resembling alligator scales, can be a sign of significant distress. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the pavement is beyond repair. Proper assessment and timely maintenance can address the issue before it worsens.
It’s essential to rely on reputable and experienced contractors for asphalt paving and maintenance to ensure the best results and to debunk any misconceptions related to the process.