Asphalt Paving Tips: Asphalt Maintenance in a Humid Climate
When you live in an area with a humid climate, maintaining your asphalt pavement will be a challenge. The increased exposure to moisture will degrade the quality of your pavement and lead to various problems like cracks, potholes, and rapid deterioration of the asphalt’s foundation. Asphalt paving involves a significant investment, so you want it to last longer. As such, proper maintenance is crucial. Do you own and operate a business with a large parking lot? Commercial parking areas are even more important to properly maintain as the costs behind replacing or re-paving the lot can become quite high even for small black tops.
Ensuring the asphalt pavement’s longevity and functionality lies in knowing the best practices for maintaining asphalt in various climates and weather conditions. If you live in Pinellas County, Florida, you can expect extreme humidity during the summer season. And that isn’t good for your asphalt.
This article will help you explore various strategies and techniques to protect and preserve your pavement against high humidity. Follow these tips and best practices, and you’re good.
Understanding Humidity’s Impact on Asphalt
High humidity directly contributes to moisture infiltration and retention within the pavement’s structure. Thus, it can significantly affect the performance and overall quality of the asphalt pavement. Excess moisture in the structure can weaken the asphalt’s adhesive properties and cohesion, leading to various issues.
- Potholes – When not adequately maintained, excessive moisture can quickly weaken the bond between the asphalt particles. This leads to the formation of potholes, especially on pavement that sees high traffic regularly.
- Cracking – When excess moisture penetrates hairline cracks, they can freeze and expand during colder months. This results in breaking and makes the surface vulnerable to further and more extensive damage.
- Rutting – High humidity can cause the asphalt to soften, which eventually causes it to deform under heavy traffic loads. Rutting will set in, and the safety and functionality of the pavement will be compromised.
- Oxidation – High humidity levels can accelerate oxidation and cause asphalt to become brittle and less resilient.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance
Given the challenges mentioned above, it is essential to have a proactive approach to asphalt maintenance in areas with humid climates. Conduct routine inspections and maintenance to identify and address issues before escalating. This is true for large parking lots and smaller asphalt driveways alike.
- Conduct regular visual inspections and check your asphalt pavement for cracks, potholes, and any other irregularities on the surface. Make sure to address any issues promptly, no matter how small they may seem.
- Ensure there is proper drainage management to prevent having standing water on the asphalt’s surface. Having poor drainage and standing water can accelerate deterioration.
- Every few years, it is necessary to apply a high-quality sealcoat to create a protective barrier on the asphalt surface. Sealcoating helps protect your pavement against moisture, UV rays, and other harsh elements. Thereby extending the life of your asphalt.
- Always fill and seal cracks, no matter how small they are. Hairline and small gaps should be filled with hot rubberized crack sealant to prevent moisture from seeping into the asphalt. If the cracks are more significant, you must consult a contractor for extensive repairs.
It is best to talk to a professional asphalt paving contractor for structural issues to assess the damage. They will know how to proceed with the correct asphalt repair process.
Crack Prevention and Treatment
When your asphalt pavement has cracks, it’s not only a cosmetic concern but might also be a sign of more significant problems. Even hairline cracks can allow moisture to seep into the pavement. Avoid such issues with these steps:
- Crack sealing – Seal cracks promptly to prevent moisture from penetrating the pavement. This is crucial in maintaining the asphalt foundation’s integrity.
- Crack filling – Larger cracks and signs of fatigue on the asphalt surface require a more extensive repair process known as crack filling. This process involves cleaning and filling the crack using specialized material.
- Joint sealants – Consider the joints and transitions between the pavement’s sections. These are among the most vulnerable and susceptible to cracking and are considered weak points against harsh elements like high humidity levels.
It is essential to clean the surface of your asphalt pavement to prevent the buildup of debris and other organic matter. This buildup can trap moisture and promote the growth of fungi and algae, which accelerates deterioration. So, regularly sweep the pavement and remove dirt, leaves, and debris. Power brooms are recommended when sweeping a substantial area.
If deep-seated stains, fungi, and algae are on your asphalt’s surface, you should consider pressure washing. However, leaving it to the professional is better if you’re unfamiliar with pressure washing because the wrong pressure setting can damage the asphalt.
If your asphalt pavement is in an area with weeds and vegetation, you might want to consider herbicide application. Plant roots can damage the asphalt and facilitate moisture infiltration, so you want to kill them and stop their growth.
Pavement Protection and Temperature Considerations
In areas with humid climates, it is essential to apply additional protection to safeguard the pavement against both moisture and heat. As mentioned, sealcoating is an important maintenance step to keep your asphalt pavement’s quality. But it can also protect against UV rays and other environmental factors.
UV reflective coatings are also helpful in mitigating the effects of the sun’s UV rays and reducing surface temperature, preventing premature aging. Another way to protect your asphalt is to manage traffic flow with proper pavement markings. Controlling the traffic on your asphalt pavement minimizes wear and tear on specific areas.
You should also consider installing shade structures like awnings in areas with significant sun exposure, thus reducing the damage caused by intense heat. If anything needs to be repaired, avoid doing so during extreme heat as it can lead to the asphalt softening and deforming.
Proper asphalt maintenance is crucial in a humid climate to prolong the life and functionality of your asphalt pavement. High humidity levels cause potholes, cracks, and rutting. But with proper and proactive maintenance, these problems can be easily mitigated or prevented.
If you’re looking for long-lasting asphalt pavement, even in high-humidity areas, the key is to have quality installation. And that’s where Anderson & Sons Asphalt comes in. Our team has been working in Pinellas County for years and has expertise in asphalt installation and maintenance in humid conditions.