There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of fresh asphalt. That rich, pure black coloration signifies smooth surfaces and steady travels. However, even the most well-maintained asphalt can’t retain this dark appearance forever. A newly paved road, parking lot, or driveway will naturally fade from black to gray over time for a number of reasons, namely oxidation. As asphalt oxides, the black oil that holds the material together becomes less flexible and begins to fade. Indeed, it takes anywhere from 6-12 months for fresh asphalt to completely cure – oxidation occurs during this time, altering the appearance of your asphalt. Moreover, asphalt surfaces gradually get bombarded with ultraviolet (UV) radiation, dirt, debris, etc., which all contribute to this fading process.
Aside from a change in appearance, what does this lightening mean for asphalt paving? Is it merely an aesthetic phenomenon, or does gray asphalt indicate something more significant? Let’s discuss.
What to Know About Waring Asphalt
The Surfaces Won’t Get as Hot
Dark surfaces absorb light and become hotter when exposed. If you’ve ever touched fresh blacktop with your bare hands or feet on a scorching summer day, you’re already aware of this phenomenon. So, the lighter your asphalt becomes over time, the cooler it will get (on average) – this isn’t to say that faded asphalt won’t get nice and toasty on sunny days, but it won’t get as hot as it once did. This change in surface temperature has its advantages and drawbacks. On the one hand, cooler surfaces are safer and take less of a toll on surfaces in direct contact with them. In the winter, however, you want your residential or commercial paving to get nice and hot under the sun to help melt snow and ice faster. If you want to prepare your parking lot or driveway for winter, then it’s a good idea to invest in fresh blacktop early in the fall.
As Asphalt Fades, It Becomes More Brittle
The fading produced by oxidation and environmental wear and tear takes a toll on the integrity of your residential or commercial asphalt, too. Simply put, as asphalt loses its color and flexibility, it becomes more prone to the ongoing threats in its environment. As such, graying asphalt often occurs right alongside other concerns like cracking and flaking. While fresh, dark asphalt can also undergo these problems, you’re more likely to notice cracks and potholes in light, aged asphalt alongside visible aggregates.
Your Curb Appeal Will Take a Hit
Though a lack of physical integrity might be your main concern with fading asphalt, appearances do matter. We all like the way fresh asphalt looks and feels, and a newly paved driveway or parking lot immediately enhances the entire exterior atmosphere of a property. Conversely, a beaten up, gray asphalt lot will reduce your home’s or business’ curb appeal. Fortunately, investing in asphalt repair and sealcoating can restore your asphalt surfaces in relatively short order without the need for a complete resurfacing or reconstruction project.
Is Your Asphalt Losing Its Color and Integrity?
All asphalt surfaces become lighter and more brittle over time. Proper preventative maintenance can slow down the process, and quality asphalt services can bring your aging asphalt back to life via repairs, sealcoating, repaving, and more. At Cassidy Paving, we know the ins and outs of asphalt life cycles, which is why we’ve become one of the most trusted repair and paving providers for countless homes and businesses in New England. Call us today at 866-978-9788 to receive a free estimate on your next asphalt project.