Spring Rainfall: How Will it Affect Your Asphalt Pavement?

March 2019

April showers will bring more than May flowers if you haven’t properly maintained your asphalt pavement. There is a reason asphalt pavement professionals recommend preventative maintenance to protect your pavement. If you have taken the necessary steps, a little April rain shouldn’t damage your pavement; however, if you haven’t, the rain could cause small cracks, depressions, and potholes this spring.

Cracks in your pavement make it vulnerable to the elements, especially water. Over time, water can slowly erode the unprotected asphalt, weakening the supportive and structural layers of pavement.

Weather fluctuations in the spring are not good if you have excess water in your parking lots. Standing water, which is most prevalent in the springtime, can go through the freeze/thaw cycle several times, which shrinks and expands the water molecules. Over time, this process causes stripping, the process of debonding the aggregate and binder.

When the bond between the aggregate and binder deteriorates, it weakens the pavement. This makes your parking lot even more vulnerable to future damage. If water reaches under the sub-base it may even compromise the structural integrity of the pavement. If not properly repaired, the small crack will grow larger and cause other types of damage. Over time, if left untreated you will have an unsafe and unappealing pavement area.

 

How Can this Damage Be Prevented?

Drainage. Planning water drainage is a very important step during the asphalt installation process. Porous asphalt allows water to filter through layers, imitating the natural layers of the earth that hold and clean water before it moves into waterways. Full-depth porous pavements are so effective at storm drainage, they are highly encouraged by the EPA as a best practice for green infrastructure. It allows for rainwater or melting snow to drain through the pavement into a stone bed and filter back into the soil and groundwater.

Patching Deteriorating Asphalt. There are several patching techniques for patching damaged asphalt pavement. When done correctly, patching can help prevent further deterioration to avoid huge repair costs. Patching materials can range from Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) to asphalt emulsion mixes and even the use of special blends. The best material to use will be determined after the assessment of damage.

Sealcoating. Sealcoating is a great way to protect your pavement from water penetration. The process adds a thin liquid layer over the paved surface and protects it from damage caused by the sun, rain and other fluids that may leak from vehicles. It can prevent cracks and extend the life of your pavement. Sealcoating is recommended every 3-5 years to keep your pavement in excellent condition. If sealcoating is not effective in protecting your pavement, milling and paving may be necessary.

Maintenance. Regular maintenance can add years to the life of your pavement systems. Small cracks are easier and more inexpensive to manage and repair than large cracks. Preventative maintenance is not effective for pavement that already exhibits structural failures; thus it is best to repair small damaged areas right away before they become problematic.

Remember to keep an eye on your pavement and watch out for potholes, divots, cracks, and surface slippage. Feel free to contact Crisdel for all of your pavement maintenance needs.

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