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What Makes A Great Asphalt Surface?

How Middlesex Paving & Maintenance Goes The Extra Mile To Give You The Best Job Possible?

It All Starts With a Good Gravel Base...

An asphalt surface is like a house. A house built on a strong foundation will stand significantly longer than a house with a poor foundation. Similarly, a good asphalt job starts with a good gravel base. If you want to have a new asphalt surface and maximize the life expectancy of the product, a properly installed and compacted gravel base is critical.


Two factors contribute to the gravel base: the thickness of the base and the size of the stones in the gravel. A thick base will make the strongest surface, so the thickness of the base is decided on how much weight the surface must support.


Using the correct type of gravel is just as important as selecting the appropriate thickness. Two types of gravel are commonly used in asphalt paving: A Gravel (with stones less than 1 inch in diameter) and B Gravel (with stones larger than 1 inch in diameter). The larger stones in B gravel make for the strongest base, but A Gravel is sufficient for light load surfaces such as sidewalks and driveways. A Gravel is also commonly used on top of B Gravel to allow for fine grading.

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Recycled Asphalt versus Hot Mix Asphalt

Recycled asphalt is a valid option for some gravel surfaces and creates significantly less dust than a typical gravel surface would. Recycled asphalt is the middle ground between a gravel surface and a surface paved with hot mix asphalt. It is less expensive than a hot mix surface, but will not last as long or handle heavy loads as well. In terms of appearance, recycled asphalt looks like a combination of gravel and hot mix pavement. If you are considering a recycled asphalt surface, contact us to see if a recycled asphalt solution is right for you.

Recycled Aspalt

Hot Mix Asphalt

Caring for New Asphalt

Pavement in The Sun

New asphalt surfaces take time to harden to their state of peak performance. A new asphalt surface’s deep black colour absorbs the daytime light and causes the surface to become hot in direct sunlight, softening the asphalt and making a new asphalt surface highly susceptible to damage. Once a paved surface has faded to the common gray colour, the surface will not absorb as much of the sun’s energy and will be cooler and more resilient. For a new paved surface in direct sunlight, take extra precautions to avoid any of the other damaging factors listed below.


Power Steering

One of the most common sources of asphalt damage is power steering. A vehicle that steers without moving exerts great torque on the surface below. For a new surface that has yet to harden to maximum strength, high torque like this can deform asphalt. To prevent damage from turns, always keep the vehicle in motion when making a turn. If you find power steering marks in your new asphalt surface, fear not! Power steering marks can be repaired and will not likely compromise the life expectancy of the surface if repaired in a timely fashion. Minor power steering marks will even disappear on their own thanks to the elasticity of newly paved surfaces.


Damage by Fluids

Asphalt is held together by Bitumen, a tar substance that acts like extremely thick oil. Because Bitumen is similar to oil, many vehicle fluids can intermix with new asphalt and cause a newly paved surface to rapidly deteriorate. Oil, gasoline, anti-freeze and many other automotive liquids can cause extensive damage to your newly paved surface. The most effective way to prevent this kind of damage is to dry any spilled fluids as soon as possible. Kitty litter and dry dusty sand can pick up the fluids before the fluids can do extensive damage. Using a soft bristled broom, work over the area of the spilled fluids to work the the kitty litter or sand into the groves in the pavement. Fluids that penetrate beyond the surface layer can significantly reduce the life expectancy of your paved surface.


Concentrated Weight

Damage done to a paved surface is less about the weight of the load and more about how it is distributed. Just like a knife can cut a sandwich with ease by applying force over a small area, a small weight distributed over a tiny area can damage a paved surface. Trailers and Motorcycles are two examples of objects that can damage a paved surface by concentrating their weight over small areas. To prevent damage due to concentrated weight, simply disperse the weight over a larger area. Place a piece of wood (no less than 18” x 18”) under the wheels of a motorcycle or the trailer jack. Using this piece of wood spreads out the force, preventing damage due to concentrated weight.


Heavy Loads

A well-designed asphalt surface can handle most common vehicles, however, vehicles such as garbage trucks are immensely heavy and can damage the asphalt. If a garbage truck is regularly pulling up to the same pick-up site, the pick-up site may show signs of rutting where the truck’s wheels would be in front of the dumpster. Damage from these massive vehicles is often unavoidable, but locating the dumpster in a low traffic area can significantly reduce the long-term impact heavy loads have on your paved surface overall.


Other Concerns

If you avoid the common sources of damage, you can look forward to an asphalt surface that will look great and last for years to come. If you have any concerns about maintaining your paved surface, contact the experts at Middlesex Paving & Maintenance. 

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