An asphalt parking lot that has just been paved is a beautiful sight. (Okay, we have a bit of a bias here.) Browse around this site.
Asphalt that has just been put down looks great, and it gives any parking lot or driveway a clean, modern, and upscale look.
If you take care of your new asphalt, it can look nice and work well for 15 to 30 years. If you don’t do it, you might have to wait 5–7 years (Ugh!).
Asphalt is one of the best-value and most reliable paving materials on the market. However, to keep it looking good and working well for as long as possible, you need to keep it from getting beat up and do regular maintenance.
Here are the most important things to do and not to do when taking care of an asphalt parking lot.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF ASPHALT AFTERWARDS
DO GIVE TIME FOR YOUR NEW ASPHALT TO CURE
You can drive on asphalt as soon as it’s dry, which usually takes about 24 hours after it’s been poured. But keep in mind that your beautiful new pavement won’t be as strong or resistant to damage as it can be until it’s fully cured, which takes about a year.
Even though your parking lot will be usable during the curing process, it will be worth it, in the long run, to take some precautions to avoid rough use and abuse.
For the first year after your new asphalt parking lot has been put down:
- monitor and limit the weight of the cars that drive on it,
- keep track of how long they stay in one spot, and
- tell drivers to slow down and drive safely (no donuts or drag racing!). The new surface will be damaged by peeling.)
DO CLEAN UP OIL AND FUEL SPILLS RIGHT AWAY.
There aren’t many things that can really hurt new asphalt, but a spill of oil or fuel will ruin it forever.
The chemicals that hold asphalt together are broken down by oil and gasoline.
Worst of all? It can do this quickly, making your smooth, new asphalt less stable. Penetration of the surface of asphalt causes raveling and even worse!
This will cause big problems with your pavement in the future, and you’ll have to do a lot of work to fix it. Stop damage as soon as you can!
HOW TO CLEAN FUEL AND OIL SPOTS FROM ASPHALT PAVEMENT
If oil or gasoline gets on your asphalt surface:
- Soak up as much of the fluid that has been spilled as you can (sawdust and no-clump cat litter work well when left overnight)
- Take out as much of the oily cat litter or sawdust as you can and throw it away in a safe way.
- Spray the area with water to get rid of any leftover dirt. If all you want to do is get rid of loose stuff, don’t use pressure washing.
- Use a commercial degreaser, a TSP paste, or dish soap and water and scrub it into the affected area. Don’t use chemicals with solvents to clean up the spill because they could do more damage to your asphalt than the spill itself. Make sure to keep your eyes and skin safe while doing this.
- Rinse the cleaned area well and set it aside to dry.
DO SLOW DOWN!
Speed kills asphalt, especially asphalt that has just been put down.
Take your time getting into your newly paved area so that you don’t damage it. If you move more slowly, you won’t hurt yourself or others.
If you put down asphalt for public use, it’s best to slow down traffic in the area to keep damage to a minimum.
DO CLEAR SNOW AND ICE OFF
During the curing phase, water doesn’t work well with asphalt because its surface is porous.
During the winter, water can get into asphalt through its natural pores.
Water that gets into the cracks in your asphalt and freezes is a problem. When water freezes, it gets bigger, so the pressure will build up under your asphalt paving.
This can lead to big cracks and holes in the road over time.
It’s important to use some kind of ice-melting product on your asphalt so that water doesn’t freeze in it.
DO SEALCOAT REGULARLY
Apply a good sealcoat to the surface of your asphalt after it has fully cured, but not before. Sealcoating keeps water from getting into asphalt, keeps it from fading, and makes it last longer.
After the first sealcoating, you should have a professional asphalt worker do it again every 2 to 5 years.
THE DON’TS OF ASPHALT AFTERCARE
DON’T DRIVE ON FRESH ASPHALT FOR AT LEAST 24 HOURS
If you want your asphalt to stay stable and look good, you shouldn’t drive on it for at least 24 hours. If you drive too soon on freshly laid asphalt, you could make ruts and dips. Water and debris will stay in ruts and dips, which will do more damage to your asphalt.
During the first 24 hours after you put down asphalt, it is still pretty soft, so cars, trucks, and even motorcycles can damage it when they drive over it.
After the first 24 hours, it’s usually safe to drive on asphalt, but if you want to be extra careful, you might want to wait 48 or even 72 hours. This is especially important during the hot summer months when asphalt takes longer to dry.
DO NOT ALLOW WEEDS AND PLANTS TO GET IN THE WAY.
Make sure that no weeds are growing along the edges of your asphalt paving. Weed roots can cause bumps and cracks in your pavement, which will grow into bigger cracks and holes over time. To avoid problems in the future, pull up weeds by their roots and put weed killer along the edges during the growing season.
It’s easy to forget about small cracks in your asphalt, but this is a big (read “expensive”) mistake. Even the smallest cracks can grow into big problems that need an expensive fix by a professional asphalt worker.
DO NOT IGNORE SMALL HOLES AND CRACKS IN YOUR ASPHALT
Keep an eye out for new holes or cracks in your asphalt. Cracks should be filled with asphalt crack sealant, and holes should be fixed right away so they don’t get bigger.
If you don’t fix the cracks in your asphalt, they won’t go away. If you don’t fix them, they will get bigger until you can’t fix them yourself. Check your asphalt parking lot at least once a month to make sure it’s in good shape.
At Elizabeth Paving, we offer residential, commercial, municipal, and industrial clients high-quality asphalt paving, asphalt repair, and asphalt maintenance.
If you call (908) 458-9401 during business hours, you can be sure to get a response the same day.
Contact us right away to get your free quote.