Asphalt surfaces are commonly referred to as “blacktop” for obvious reasons. And yet, as asphalt ages, it takes on more of a grey tone. This fading process is completely normal and not necessarily a cause for concern. That said, letting your asphalt lose its color can diminish your property’s curb appeal – moreover, a faded asphalt surface might indicate other issues. Oxidation is to blame for the changing appearance of asphalt over time. This chemical reaction is mainly triggered by UV exposure (sunlight) and moisture intrusion, breaking down the pavement’s bitumen which is responsible for its dark coloration and flexibility. Once this process begins, it won’t be long until the asphalt becomes riddled with cracks, potholes, drainage issues, and more.
The strong summer sun (coupled with summer storms) can speed up this oxidation process, leaving asphalt surfaces grey and brittle by the season’s end. With all this mind, what should you do if your asphalt paving has lost some of its color as summer comes to a close? Here are some of the best moves to make.
Inspect Your Asphalt for Damage
As mentioned above, discoloration is a harbinger of things to come. So, your first step should be to thoroughly examine your fading asphalt for signs of damage (e.g., cracks, potholes, alligatoring, etc.). Taking the time to inspect these surfaces will cue you into which types of asphalt pavement repair are necessary to complete between the end of summer and the middle of fall. These repairs alone won’t restore your asphalt’s color, but they will improve its integrity and set your pavement up for sealcoating, which we’ll discuss next.
Invest in Blacktop Sealcoating
Sealcoating offers the best solution for asphalt fading. Not only does this process bring back the pavement’s rich, dark color – it also protects the asphalt from further fading. Asphalt sealer is applied over the existing asphalt surface (after it’s been cleaned and repaired), shielding the underlying surface from UV rays, moisture, chemicals, temperature changes, and other environmental threats. When sealed every 3-5 years, asphalt surfaces enjoy a longer lifespan and require fewer repairs over the long run.
Keep Your Pavement Clean
Maintaining clean asphalt surfaces is another way to mitigate fading in the future. This is especially important as the leaves begin to fall. The fallen leaves of autumn may be beautiful, but they can do serious harm to your pavement if allowed to linger. Leaves carry moisture, bacteria, and other materials that can eat away at your asphalt, even if it’s been recently sealed. No matter the season, though, keeping your pavement clear of debris will ultimately improve its appearance and lessen the frequency and severity of pavement repair required over time.
Provide Your Asphalt with Some Shade
If you wish to slow down the asphalt fading process in the future, it’s a good idea to invest in some method of shade to block some of those harmful UV rays. Planting trees along the sides of your driveway or at intervals along your parking lot is a common solution, though you have to be prepared to clean up any fallen leaves, as mentioned above. Alternatively, you might install an awning or carport if possible. Keeping your asphalt in the shade can also make paving asphalt easier in the future, allowing contractors to stay out of the heat during the process.
Bring Your Blacktop Back to Life
It’s been a relatively hot summer for New England residents, and many asphalt surfaces certainly look worse for the wear. If your pavement could use some fresh color, lean on the asphalt experts at Cassidy Paving for repairs, maintenance, sealcoating, paving, and more. Call us today at 866-978-9788.