Motor Oil & Fuel

Technically, asphalt is made with an oil base. But motor oil and fuel, especially diesel, are terrible for your pavement. Oil penetrates asphalt and breaks down the aggregate components. This occurrence compromises its integrity and makes the pavement more prone to crumbling and cracking, which will result in worsening asphalt damage. What’s more, sealcoat won’t stick to areas of asphalt surfaces with oil spills, so you’ll lose out on the protective benefits.

What to do:

  • If you haven’t fixed your oil-leaking car, do not park in the same spot every day on your asphalt driveway.
  • Place any type of oil catch container underneath a leaky vehicle to prevent damages.
  • Apply cat litter to the oil stain overnight to absorb any excess oil before cleaning the rest off with a stiff-bristled brush and dish detergent or diluted vinegar.
    • Never use citrus-based cleaning products on your asphalt pavement.
Tree Roots

Odds are, you have seen a tree go rogue and fight against its pavement counterpart. Though it’s not a fast process, it’s a destructive one nonetheless. What’s more, trees always win the battle in the end. Tree roots can grow up to 70 feet, and they’re not known for cutting corners to avoid pavement.

If a pavement surface is placed by a tree or on top of its roots, the shifting underground will cause cracks and unsightly bumps. Paving on top of roots can restrict the tree’s water access, and it will stop at nothing in seeking out a source.

What to do:

  • If possible, steer clear of any trees when paving an asphalt or concrete parking lot, driveway, sidewalk, or roadway. This precaution will save you a bunch of cash in the long-run.
  • If there’s a tree already wreaking havoc on your pavement, meet with a paving contractor and an arborist to determine your best plan-of-attack. The best-case scenario would be a cost-effective way to repair the damage while not jeopardizing the tree’s health.
  • If you want to plant trees near asphalt or concrete, consider installing a root barrier that trains roots to travel deeper into the earth.
Standing Water

Excess moisture can cause any physical structure to erode — especially asphalt pavement & concrete. Whether it’s heavy water flow from natural rainfall or sprinklers, it speeds up the erosion process. Cracking, softening, and displacement are some of the issues caused by standing water. Worst yet, if there are cracks on your pavement already, water will only expand and enlarge these areas.

Most of the significant asphalt damage is not-so-obviously visible from above, but actually beneath the surface. Water is known to do severe damage to the base layers of asphalt pavement and concrete. It destroys the pavement from the ground up, which can be extremely expensive if neglected for too long.

What to do:

Excessive Heat & UV Rays

Midwest summer temps. reaching above 90 degrees paired with humidity levels from excessive rain are a recipe for something sinister. Pavement becomes more susceptible to soft spots, cracking, stress fractures, and fading. Your asphalt surface will run ~10 degrees hotter than what the outside temperature reads, especially during a day with intense sunlight. Not to mention that 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, so we don’t seem to be cooling off any time soon.

When pavement gets exposed to high temps., the surface becomes malleable, causing it to heat up in uneven portions. Which often results in the asphalt slab curling, stress fractures forming, and distortion to the entire structure.

UV rays break down your asphalt, weaken the bonds within it, and make it fade to grey. Unfortunately, SPF-50 won’t do much in the battle against UV damage to your parking lot or driveway.

What to do:

  • Start a maintenance plan with us to sealcoat your pavement every 2-3 years. Adding this routine into your regimen will slow down the deterioration process from sun damage while offering protection from harmful UV ray damage.
Heavy Vehicles

The primary purpose of asphalt is that it’s able to withstand the coming-and-going of different vehicles. Asphalt is designed to hold great amounts of weight, but it definitely has its limits. The weight of heavy trucks negatively impacts asphalt surfaces over time. You may have noticed roadways or parking lots with large divots in them. Those areas are most likely used frequently by tractors, garbage trucks, buses, delivery trucks, etc.

High traffic of heavier vehicles depresses the asphalt material and can cause it to sink. When heavy vehicles drive over the same spot repeatedly, the asphalt flexes more than it should and results in cracking and rutting. Unusually hot and cold temperatures puts the asphalt at an even higher risk of weight-related asphalt damage.

What to do:

Freeze-Thaw Weather Cycles

The constant fluctuations in temperature causes moisture to find it’s way into cracks, expand, and tear up your asphalt pavement. When pavement is stretched further than it can withstand, and new cracks form while existing ones are made worse. Find out exactly what happens during freeze-thaw cycles and why it’s detrimental for your pavement in our other blog post. Unfortunately, you’re genuinely never going to win the fight against Mother Nature. However, there are some precautions and preventative maintenance that can (and should) be done to combat these issues.

What to do:

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Pavement Solutions, LLC understands that concrete/asphalt pavement is a huge investment, which is why it’s crucial to have a partner that develops a scope-of-work to keep your lot orderly for the next 20+ years.

We offer commercial and residential concrete & asphalt paving, maintenance, and repair services in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Check out our Service Areas to see if you’re in our territory! Request a free estimate or call us for one today.

Posted by C. Butler on 3/12/20