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Asphalt is a useful material that’s used to pave surfaces. Homeowners can choose this as an option for driveways and other similar projects, while businesses might use it to pave a parking lot. Paving can be done using concrete or asphalt. Many individuals and businesses opt for asphalt because it is long-lasting and less expensive than concrete.
No matter what project you want to complete with asphalt, ImproveNet can connect you to contractors who can work with you to get your job done.
What Is Asphalt Made Of?
Asphalt is made up of a petroleum-based liquid, aggregate, and asphalt cement. The petroleum-based liquid binds everything else together. The aggregate varies in size, but when the asphalt is laid, the larger pieces settle to the bottom and the smaller bits are left on top. This leaves the surface smooth, which is ideal for home driveways.
Other additives are sometimes added to the asphalt. There are several reasons for this, so it's necessary to consider the application. Adding tiny particulates can help the asphalt to last longer. Polymers help with flexibility. Hydrated lime helps to bond the asphalt.
How Is Asphalt Made?
There are around 3,500 factories in the United States that make asphalt. Some of these handle only part of the process and the product is then finished in another facility. The process for making asphalt is generally done in the same manner at all factories.
- The aggregate mixture is made. This is done according to the specifications for a project or project type. The mixture is washed and dried.
- The liquid petroleum mixture is thinned through water emulsification, a solvent additive, or heat.
- The aggregate and liquid petroleum mixture are combined. Temperatures must be just right for this to work.
Cold-mix asphalt is also possible. This can lower the cost, but it isn’t usually used in large-scale projects. Instead, this type of asphalt is usually reserved for patching roads and fixing damage to asphalted areas.
How Long Does It Take Asphalt To Dry?
Asphalt drying is technically called curing or setting. During this time, it must be left alone. You can’t walk or drive on it without the risk of leaving ruts or marks in the asphalt.
The time it takes varies depending on the type, thickness, and climate. Typically, it’s faster in warmer weather. Asphalt isn’t usually laid unless the weather is expected to be dry. It’s possible for certain types of asphalt to be laid when it’s colder, which is good news for people in the northern United States.
It takes approximately 24 hours for a new application to dry. If it’s resurfaced, it will only take two to three hours for it to dry. It’s possible that humid weather could extend the amount of time. Once it is dried, it's safe to walk or drive on it.
Is Asphalt Repair Possible?
While asphalt usually lasts 15 to 35 years, there are some instances in which it might become damaged. Having to look at cracks, gouges, or dips is displeasing. Those can also be a safety issue if they’re impeding the ability to walk on the surface. Having a smooth surface on an asphalt driveway is also important for curb appeal and property value.
During the repair process, new asphalt is added to even out the surface. The repair professional tries to ascertain the reason for the damage. If there is an underlying cause, such as a water leak or a tree root, they will give you that information so you can have it corrected before they repair the asphalt.
If cracked asphalt has raised edges, the professional may plane the edges. This grinds or files it down so that the edges are all even. Once that’s done, they’ll fill the crack with asphalt and allow it to dry.
Repairing asphalt usually involves resealing it, which adds a thinner layer of sealant to the top of the asphalt that’s already there. This helps protect the asphalt’s surface from damage. It can prevent defects down the road, and it may also help protect it from being bleached by the sun or harmed by salt mixtures.
It’s sometimes necessary to completely re-asphalt the damaged area. This means the professional will have to remove the old asphalt and start fresh with new asphalt. While this is a costly and time-consuming endeavor, it also means you’ll be able to enjoy the area longer.
How Much Does Asphalt Cost?
ImproveNet can help you find an answer to your questions regarding asphalt projects. If you need to know how much to asphalt a driveway or a parking lot, our website can put you in touch with professionals who can provide you with the estimates you need for the job. You should contact at least three professionals in your area to obtain estimates. Once you have them in hand, compare the value and price for each one. You can then contact the professional you feel is best for the project.
Did you know Asphalt is also used as a roofing material? Watch the video below for more information.
- General Expertise