Nothing beats a freshly paved blacktop – it’s a wonderful sight! (Ok, we’re a little biased on this one.)
Freshly-laid asphalt looks stunning and it gives any parking lot or driveway a fresh, modern and upscale look.
If you take care of your new asphalt, you can keep that beautiful appearance and functionality for 15 to 30 years. Neglect it, and you could be looking at more like 5 to 7 years (Ugh!).
Asphalt is one of the most best value and reliable paving materials on the market – but to make sure that it remains attractive and functional for the maximum possible time, you must protect it from abuse and perform regular maintenance.
Here’s are the essential do’s and don’ts of asphalt parking lot aftercare.
The Do’s of Asphalt Aftercare
DO Give Your New Asphalt Time to Cure
You can start driving on asphalt as soon as it is dry – this is usually about 24 hours after pouring. But take note, your beautiful new pavement will not reach its maximum strength and resistance to damage until it is fully cured – a process that takes about a year.
Although your parking lot will be functional throughout the curing process, taking some precautions to avoid harsh use and abuse will pay off in the long run.
For the first year after pouring of your new asphalt parking lot:
- monitor/restrict the weight of vehicles being driven on it
- be aware of the time vehicles are parked in one space
- encourage drivers to slow down and drive sensibly (no donuts or drag racing!) peeling out is not good for the new surface)
DO Clean up Oil and Fuel Spills Immediately
There aren’t many things that can do serious damage to fresh asphalt, but an oil or fuel spill will do irreparable harm.
Oil and gasoline break down the chemicals that bind asphalt together.
The worst part? It can do this at a rapid pace, weakening the structure of your smooth new asphalt. The penetration of the asphalt surface leads to raveling and worse!
This will lead to major problems for your pavement down the line and you’ll need to do extensive repair work. Nip damage in the bud right away!
How to remove oil and fuel stains on asphalt paving
If oil or gasoline is spilled on your asphalt surface:
- Absorb as much of the spilled fluid as possible (sawdust and no-clump cat litter work well when left overnight)
- Remove as much of the oily cat litter/sawdust as possible and dispose of responsibly
- Hose any remaining debris of the stain area. Avoid pressure washing as you are just trying to get rid of loose material.
- Use a commercial degreaser, or a tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) paste, or dish soap and water, and scrub it into the affected area. Avoid using solvent based chemicals in the cleanup as they can potentially do more damage to your asphalt than the original spill. Be sure to protect your eyes and skin during this process.
- Rinse off the cleaned area thoroughly and allow to dry.
DO Slow Down!
Speed kills asphalt … especially freshly-laid asphalt.
Take your time entering your newly paved area to avoid scuffing or scarring the asphalt. if you move at a slower pace you’ll prevent any damage from occurring.
If you have asphalt laid for public use, it’s best to implement speed reduction measures in the area to avoid unnecessary damage.
DO Remove Snow and Ice
Asphalt doesn’t do well with water during its curing phase due to its porous surface.
During the winter months, asphalt’s natural pores can become a point of entry for water.
If water enters the pores in your asphalt and freezes, you have a problem. Water expands when it freezes, which means pressure will build up below the surface of your asphalt paving.
Over time, this can cause large cracks and potholes to form.
It’s important that you help prevent water from freezing in your asphalt by using some form of ice melting product on your paving.
DO Sealcoat Regularly
Once your asphalt is fully cured (but not before!), apply a good quality sealcoat to the surface. Sealcoating stops moisture from getting into the asphalt, prevents fading and extends its functional life.
After the initial sealcoating you should have an asphalt professional reapply every 2-5 years.
The Don’ts of Asphalt Aftercare
DO NOT Drive on Fresh Asphalt for at Least 24 Hours
If you want to keep your asphalt looking good and staying stable, avoid driving on it for at least 24 hours. If you drive on freshly laid asphalt too soon you could cause ruts and dips to appear. Ruts and dips will hold water and debris which will cause additional damage to your asphalt.
Your asphalt is still quite soft during the first 24 hours of it being laid so it’s susceptible to the impact of vehicles such as cars, trucks and even motorcycles.
It is usually safe to drive on asphalt after the first 24 hours have passed, but if you want to be extra careful we would suggest waiting 48 or even 72 hours if possible – especially during the warm months of summer when it’ll take longer for your asphalt to dry.
DO NOT Let Weeds and Plants Creep Up
Keep an eye along the edges of your asphalt paving to make sure that no weeds are growing. The roots of weeds can create bumps and cracks in your pavement that will eventually form into larger cracks and holes. Pull up existing weeds by the roots and apply weed killer along the edges during the growing season to avoid issues in the future.
Small cracks in your asphalt are easily overlooked – but this is a big (read “expensive”) mistake. Even the smallest of fissures can develop into major defects that require an expensive fix by an asphalt professional.
DO NOT Ignore Small Cracks and Fissures in Your Asphalt
Keep an eye on your asphalt for new cracks or small holes. Cracks should be sealed with an asphalt crack sealant and holes should be patched immediately to prevent them from growing.
Flaws in your asphalt will not go away if you ignore them! If left unaddressed, they will continue to grow beyond the point where you can fix them yourself so spot check your parking lot at least once a month to make sure your asphalt is in good condition.
At Murphree Paving, we provide high-quality asphalt paving, asphalt repair and asphalt maintenance to residential, commercial municipal and industrial clients.
Call (662) 844-2331 during business hours to get a guaranteed same day response.
Get in touch with us today to request your free quote.