You have probably noticed but not given a lot of thought to most of the roads you drive upon being asphalt. In the United States, around 94% of the roads are paved with asphalt. Asphalt is also used to pave parking lots, driveways, and more. But what is so great about asphalt? Why should you consider asphalt for your next driveway paving in MA?
When laying an asphalt driveway, usually a layer of subgrade composed of gravel is laid first. Next a layer of aggregate (stones and sand) is mixed with liquid asphalt cement composed of petroleum. The mixture is heated and poured upon the subgrade. Much of the materials used in asphalt are recycled, and the asphalt itself is completely recyclable later. Asphalt is a popular choice for roadways because it is durable, affordable, and fast to install. While a large cement project can take almost a whole week, an asphalt project of the same size would take a day or two. The cement would then need several days to set up, whereas asphalt can set in hours. It is recommended, however, to allow the asphalt to set up for at least 48 hours before use. In some cases, asphalt can be applied over an existing surface, saving time and waste during the installation. On average, an asphalt surface can be expected to have an average lifespan of 35 years or more. But what contributes to its long life?
Asphalt is sturdy and durable. With weather-resistant properties, asphalt is able to contract and expand with temperature changes without cracking. It is also flexible enough to shift with the soil below, unlike most concrete surfaces. Asphalt gathers heat to melt snow faster, and is resistant to spalling from freezing and thawing. Spalling occurs when moisture becomes trapped under the surface of a porous material such as concrete, and then freezes. As the moisture freezes, it expands, causing the surface of the concrete to flake away as the moisture thaws. Asphalt is also resistant to damage from salt used to melt ice in the winter. If your asphalt surface does experience cracking or other damage, it is easily repaired rather than replaced. In fact, choosing to seal cracks, patch potholes, and apply seal coating to your asphalt can help extend the life. In the end, asphalt can be a durable yet affordable choice for your driveway paving in MA.