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sun and heat on asphalt
Blog » The Effects of Sun and Heat on Asphalt

The Effects of Sun and Heat on Asphalt

Asphalt is a rigid material that is a reliable, effective driving surface. This material can last for decades. However, all asphalt goes through stages of wear and tear. These stages mainly depend on the seasonal changes of a particular area. These changes are mainly during the summer when there are extreme levels of heat and sunlight.

On a sunny day, it’s improbable for you to notice the chemistry taking place when you look outside. Ultraviolet rays from the sun fuse with oxygen causing your asphalt to fade and discolor. Regular maintenance and seal coating are the most effective ways to prevent asphalt heat damage. Read on for some of the effects of sun and heat on asphalt.

Oxidation

UV rays, also known as UV radiation, can penetrate your asphalt pavement and cause fading and deterioration. This process is known as asphalt oxidation. During this process, light oils mix with heavier oils, reducing the binding oils found in asphalt.

These binding oils are responsible for holding the asphalt’s structure together. Once these oils reduce, the heavier oils weaken the asphalt, making it brittle and more fragile. This weakness causes it to crack and fail.

Oxidation also causes fading, meaning the dark hue of the asphalt begins to turn into a lighter shade. The severity of oxidation depends on the intensity of UV radiation. Oxidation can also be a result of old age. However, the leading cause is heat and sun. Regular maintenance and seal coating are the most effective way to prevent oxidation on your asphalt pavements.

Cracking

Oxidation and UV radiation can lead to cracking. However, thermal changes in the asphalt can also lead to cracking. Temperatures during the day and night vary. When there is extreme heat during the day, the asphalt expands—the low temperatures at night cause contraction.

Expansion and contraction lead to cracking and buckling in severe cases. Most asphalt surfaces that crack are those in high-traffic areas. Lack of regular maintenance, poor installation, and old age are some of the reasons your asphalt pavement may be cracking.

It’s essential to deal with asphalt cracking as soon as it happens. Asphalt cracking can lead to additional problems, such as water infiltration. Water infiltration entails water seeping in through asphalt cracks and causing more damage.

Raveling

Raveling comes hand in hand with cracking. This is because it results from water or excess moisture getting into the cracks of an asphalt surface. When the water gets in, the asphalt mixture causes binder cohesion.

The asphalt will then ravel and combine with the aggregate and the soil, causing further damage to the surface. The more cracks the asphalt gets, the more raveling and damage occurs. Although compaction or separation of the binder and aggregate can cause raveling, the most rampant cause is asphalt cracking.

To prevent raveling, you must find a good company that deals with asphalt driveways for regular maintenance and necessary repair.

Tracking

Another effect of heat and the sun on asphalt is tracking. You have probably noticed some tire marks or shoe markings on your asphalt surface. These markings are what we refer to as tracking. Asphalt absorbs the sun’s heat energy when the temperatures are incredibly high.

This results in softening of the surface of your asphalt pavement. Once this surface softens, there is a release of specks of asphalt. The particles can then adhere to your tires or shoes.

Regular maintenance ensures that you keep track of your asphalt and can tell when it has begun to soften. You can then apply a hardening coat that will prevent tracking.

Talk to Our Team of Asphalt Driveway Experts Today 

sun and heat on asphalt

Asphalt material is highly recommended when constructing your pavements. It’s a rigid, durable material that can serve you for decades. However, aspects such as heat and the sun tend to cause damage to it. Cracking, raveling, oxidation, and tracking are some of the effects.

One way to prevent the heat and sun from damaging your asphalt surface is regular maintenance. With a credible company like Richfield Blacktop, you can keep track of the condition of your pavement and make arrangements for its repair. Contact us today for the best asphalt paving services.

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