Pavement is one of those things that seems virtually indestructible when it’s newly installed. After all, it was only a dirt surface. But with careful preparation, asphalt or concrete was installed and cured, and the result can take huge amounts of pressure on a regular basis. It can also stand up to weather quite well. Depending on where you live, and the levels of pressure regularly applied to the surface of your driveway, you can expect it to last for twenty years or more with no serious defects. This is assuming, of course, that the driveway was installed by a qualified professional, and has been sealcoated every two years or so to lock out moisture.
But regardless of how well your pavement is installed, or how meticulously you maintain it, the elements will eventually start to break it down. Those elements include weather, temperature, chemicals, and pressure. Just look at the constant presence of road repair crews in places like New Jersey. The constant flow of pressure and traffic, in addition to the elements, causes potholes, cracks, warped areas, and any number of other structural defects. This is just the nature of asphalt, as strong as it is.
Fluctuating temperatures are one of the big things that can prematurely age pavement, whether it’s asphalt or concrete. Why is this the case?
To understand it, we have to look inside the molecular structure of the pavement itself. When winter rolls around and the Mercury drops, moisture can freeze below, inside, or on the surface of asphalt. This eventually leads to the appearance of cracks, which expand over time. How would moisture get inside the asphalt, you might ask? Because asphalt is porous, and moisture can leak through over time. That’s why sealcoating is an important part of any asphalt maintenance plan.
Now let’s consider what happens in the opposite scenario: It’s summer, and the temperature is sweltering. Cracks often develop in extreme heat as well as cold – and if existing cracks are present during hot summer months, rain and moisture can easily penetrate through and cause those networks of cracks to expand. Eventually, the base and sub-base layers of the installation can be affected, which eventually leads to potholes and other serious deformities.
As we can see, the push and pull of extreme temperatures can wreak havoc on asphalt, which highlights the important not only of periodic sealcoating, but of hiring a reputable company who knows how to install asphalt for extreme temperature changes. There are techniques that can strengthen asphalt against this conditions, and if you live in a state with big temperature swings, your asphalt specialist should know these techniques and be able to explain them in detail.
There are pavement contractors out there you can trust!
There are also less-than-reputable contractors who give you bad information, over charge, and cut corners when it comes to the actual installation of the pavement. To find a contractor who has your best interests in mind, follow the five star reviews of other homeowners on popular channels like Google and Facebook. Those reviews give you an important look into the actual skills and customer service practices of any given pavement contractor.