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Asphalt & Concrete, Inc.

FAQs

 

What is asphalt?

Asphalt, also known as hot mix asphalt (HMA), is made from dried, crushed rock and asphalt cement, which is a mixture of petroleum compounds that include asphalt and crushed stone, gravel or sand. Prior to application, asphalt cement is heated and combined with crushed rock. It is then mixed and loaded immediately onto trucks (at approximately 320o F) for delivery to construction sites or storage silos.

 

What causes asphalt to fail?

Primary causes of asphalt failure include inadequate thickness of the pavement to support loads that travel across the asphalt, lack of maintenance, and weak or unstable sub-grade components. Asphalt deteriorates when fine aggregates are worn away by weather and traffic, or when water is allowed to penetrate the aggregate base. Petroleum spills also aid the process by dissolving the cement that bonds asphalt. When the fine aggregates are worn away, there is nothing to bind the larger aggregates together and the surface begins to ravel and crack. If left untreated, cracks and potholes will allow water to penetrate the sub-grade, leading to pavement failure.

 

How can I protect my asphalt investment?

Apply a seal two to three years after the installation of new asphalt. Check for cracks and have them filled annually. Cracks in the pavement will allow moisture to penetrate to the sub-base and will contribute to accelerated deterioration of the pavement. The goal of a good pavement management plan (PMP) should be to keep the moisture from entering the asphalt pavement. Additionally, we recommend applying sealant every two- to-three years, depending on wear. This will help prevent deterioration of your pavement due to the sun's rays, gasoline, traffic, and the weather elements.

 

How does sunlight affect asphalt deterioration?

No two parking lots are the same, and the rate at which a parking lot deteriorates depends on many factors, such as original design, construction, traffic loads and geographic location. The life expectancy of a well-designed, well-built and well-maintained asphalt parking lot ranges between 10 to 15 years. However, without proper maintenance, a parking lot will deteriorate significantly in as little as 5 to 7 years.

 

How long will my parking lot surface last?

No two parking lots are the same, and the rate at which a parking lot deteriorates depends on many factors, such as original design, construction, traffic loads and geographic location. The life expectancy of a well-designed, well-built and well-maintained asphalt parking lot ranges between 15 to 30 years. However, without proper maintenance, a parking lot will deteriorate significantly in as little as 5 to 7 years.

 

Is sealing cracks cost effective?

Yes, proper crack repair procedures can double the life of most asphalt pavements. A surface, which is five to ten years old, will usually need a ton of sealant per lane mile and will last up to ten years.

 

When should I seal cracks?

Cracks will allow moisture to penetrate the pavement and weaken the sub-base. If left untreated, cracks can quickly spread to adjacent areas and worsen with heavy traffic loads. To prevent this form occurring, consult with a knowledgeable ACI representative to determine what course of action is best for your property.

 

When should traffic be allowed on a parking lot that has just been worked on?

This is dependent on the job. For asphalt resurfacing, depending upon the temperature of the day, one should allow 24 hours before using the new lot. Sealcoating needs a 24-hour drying (curing) time after work is completed. Do not allow traffic on your lot before the end of the 24-hour drying period. For all other services, a set time frame should be suggested to you from your contractor.

 

Does the price of oil affect asphalt prices?

Yes — the price of asphalt will always be affected by crude oil prices, which fluctuate when supplies vary. But larger paving companies with multi-site projects across the nation have more buying power at plants, which means valuable savings for clients.

 

Has the economy impacted pavement maintenance?

Yes — while facing a challenging economy, facilities are deferring new construction projects in favor of maintaining existing structures. Unless your pavement is completely deteriorated, it can be maintained — over time with proactive maintenance — for an average of 50% less than the cost to install a new parking lot. This is good news for the bottom line. But, be sure to plan early for routine maintenance in order to prolong the life of your pavement and avoid costly and unbudgeted structural repairs.

 

What is warm mix asphalt and why is it gaining attention?

Warm Mix Asphalt is an asphalt mix, which uses an additive that allows the asphalt to be mixed and placed at temperatures ranging from 50 to 100 degrees below standard hot-mix temperatures (300 to 350 degrees). This mix design originally started in Europe and has been in production in the United States for approximately seven years. Recently, it has been gaining more attention because of some benefits it has over traditional hot-mix. Using Warm Mix Asphalt means lowers emissions, a reduction in fuel consumption, and the potential to use more reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) in the mix. Warm Mix Asphalt is not something that will replace the use of traditional Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA) but in certain situations it can be a nice alternative.

 

Looking for more ways to maintain your pavement and protect your investment? Download our detailed guide here (.ppt)

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