Frequently Asked Questions
Asphalt is a combination of approximately 94% stone, screenings and sand, bound together by approximately 6% liquid asphalt cement. Liquid AC is the byproduct of refined crude oil.
Asphalt is a flexible pavement popular for use on roadways and parking lots, because of its relative affordability and quick construction time. It can be opened to traffic the same day it is installed and is relatively easy to maintain and repair.
Concrete is a rigid pavement. The cost can be higher, because it is more labor-intensive to construct. Repairs are cumbersome, disruptive and costly. It also cannot be opened to traffic the same day it is installed.
Ultimately it depends on how your pavement was constructed. For instance, what is under your asphalt is as important as the asphalt itself. With asphalt being a flexible material, it takes a solid road base to support it. Without the proper support, asphalt will deteriorate much much sooner than if constructed properly. With proper construction and maintenance, a new asphalt surface can be expected to last 20-25 years or longer. If no maintenance is done, the life span is significantly shorter at approximately 15 years.
There are many reasons why your asphalt may be sinking. The base material not being properly compacted or a pipe failure somewhere underneath the paved surface are both possible causes. An inspection and possible exploration will be needed to more accurately diagnose the problem.
Cracking can also be a result of numerous factors. Some of the most common causes are fatigue and base failure. Fatigue cracking is where the asphalt is old and becoming less flexible, leading to cracking. Base failure is where the base material is not supplying the proper support needed for the asphalt to sustain itself. Other possible causes include external forces or reflective cracking – cracks showing through from the surface underneath.
Depending on the problem, we recommend saw cutting – remove – replace: cut and remove the damaged area, then install new asphalt. On newer pavements, an infrared heat source can be used to heat the area in question and rework the area. For quick fixes, ie. potholes in a main drive lane, you can use a high-quality pothole repair cold mix asphalt. We recommend EZ STREET Cold Asphalt, manufactured right here at Duval Asphalt and sold in bags or by the ton. It is guaranteed permanent and works in water and all weather conditions.
We recommend you repair your asphalt at the first sign of damage! Doing so will ensure you maximize the life of your asphalt pavement. Once your asphalt reaches a certain point / age, repairing will no longer be productive. If there is cracking and / or potholes over the majority of the pavement or the surface is very thin with areas of exposed base (limerock, etc.) it is time to repave. One of our experienced estimators / project managers will be happy to meet you onsite and discuss the overall condition and needs for your pavement.
Milling is a term used to describe the process of removing/grinding the old asphalt from a paved surface prior to repaving.
Milling is recommended when the overall condition of the existing pavement is too poor to support a quality asphalt surface.
Asphalt is composed primarily of large & small stone, screenings and sand. During the paving process, some of the larger stones can end up on the top of the surface, making the texture noticeably more “rocky” in appearance. Notably in areas that contain a lot of handwork or in areas where our rollers cannot reach and other compaction methods must be used. This should not affect the quality of the pavement.
There are a few things to keep in mind with your new parking lot.
- Your asphalt will not look like a sheet of glass when done. It will have texture and shading differences throughout. There will be slight flaws and imperfections. Do not panic, 95% of these issues will disappear within the first year through the summer heat and traffic.
- Throughout the summer months, the surface of the new pavement will be tender. This means that vehicles turning their wheels while sitting still will leave scuff marks on the surface. These marks, along with other imperfections will iron out with traffic. This will continue throughout summer and will subside come fall. Once the asphalt has gone through a summer and a winter it will be cured and begin to fade in color from black to gray. This is completely normal.
- In order to ensure maximum life and condition, you need a regular maintenance program that includes sealcoating and regular inspections for areas in need of repair.
Construction schedules can change for many reasons! The main cause of schedule changes is weather. Everyday it rains, each job on the schedule will generally shift the same number of rain days received. Asphalt cannot be installed in the rain, or if the surface is too wet and saturated. The same rule applies to cold weather. Generally if tempatures fall below 50 degrees or if there is a high degree of windchill, asphalt cannot be installed without compromising the final product.
Sealcoating generally follows the same rules with the exception, sealcoat should not be applied during the winter months. Its application requires the heat and direct light from the sun to properly cure. Therefore sealcoat should ONLY be applied during mid spring and summer months.
Your new asphalt can be opened to traffic once it cools down to ambient temperature after installation.
New asphalt remains tender throughout the summer months. This means that vehicles turning their wheels while sitting still will leave scuff marks on the surface. These marks, along with other imperfections will iron out with traffic. This will continue throughout summer and will subside come fall. Once the asphalt has gone thru a summer and a winter it will be cured and begin to fade in color from black to gray. Scuffs and marks are considered normal and will iron out with use and age.
Maintaining a regular sealcoat schedule greatly increases the life-expectancy of any asphalt surface. It’s a wearable surface that protects asphalt from the elements, such as weather, UV rays oxidation and petroleum leaking from the bottom of vehicles. It can also beautify your asphalt surface and enhance curb appeal. Sealcoating is a wearable surface that will fade. It should be reapplied between 3 to 5 years depending on traffic patterns.
For maximum effectiveness, we recommend you sealcoat your new parking lot 12 months after installation and then every 3-5 years after for the life of the pavement.
Sealcoating every year is not necessary. A 3-5 year schedule is recommended.
Per product specifications, sealcoat cannot be applied when temperatures drop below a certain point. Lower temperatures inhibit proper drying and curing, and will cause the surface to wear much faster, invalidating the warranty in the process.
Fresh sealcoat needs 24 hours to properly cure and dry, before opening up to traffic. Opening sooner will cause premature wear and invalidate the warranty.
Resurfacing is the installation of actual asphalt pavement, generally at a thickness of 1-2”. Sealcoat is a liquid surface coat, it does contain sand, but is not in any way considered pavement.
There are many questionable contractors that will provide subpar service and quality. They will cut costs by cutting sealcoat material with more water than specified or by using “old” asphalt. Often, they will claim to have “left-over” asphalt from another job and offer it at an extremely low price. All of this is very problematic. Cutting sealcoat material more than specified will result in poor quality and invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty. Installing “left over” asphalt almost always means installing asphalt that is no longer hot enough for quality installation. Once asphalt cools below a certain temperature, it cannot be properly installed nor compacted and will ravel/break apart much sooner than normal. Also, take notice of the type of equipment used to install the asphalt. Is it old and dilapidated, being held together with bubble gum and duct tape? This should be a RED FLAG. Equipment is a refelection of the company and most often the quality of the product left behind! If an estimated price looks too good to be true or is drastically lower than other estimates received, it is likely the job was either estimated incorrectly or there is cause for concern. Make sure to ask questions, select a reputable company, request pictures of equipment, view past projects, request material tickets, and get a sample of sealcoat material at the project for verification. Most sealcoat manufactures will perform verification tests for free to ensure contractors are mixing and applying their product according to specifications.
If constructing a new parking lot, you should build a minimum of 2% fall from high points to catchbasins to ensure proper drainage.
If repaving an existing parking lot, there is very little that can be done to improve drainage with asphalt. Asphalt follows the contours of the existing surface. To change the drainage, the old asphalt would need to be removed and the base reworked to incorporate better drainage.
All petroleum products are harmful to asphalt, including those which drip from cars.
Asphalt is a temperature sensitive material. Cooling off too fast prior to compaction will lead to segregation issues, texture issues and density issues, all leading to premature failure. Rain cools the asphalt much, much too quickly.
There are currently no colored asphalt pavements available. However, there are traffic-grade surface coatings that can be applied to provide a different color and even mimic brick pavers.
The best way to know you are getting what you pay for is to request a copy of each material ticket – these come with every dump truck of asphalt delivered and will show you the quantity contained. Core samples can also be taken at the completion of your project, by a qualified asphalt testing company, to test for average thickness of pavement.