What will your asphalt look like 5, 10, or 15 years from now?
We all know what brand new blacktop looks like but like anything else, asphalt changes over time. Inevitably, your asphalt will start to break down—perhaps so subtly that you don’t notice it in real time!
What should you expect your asphalt to look like from one year to the next? Keep reading to learn the process that all asphalt undergoes and how to protect your investment for many years to come!
Years 0–4: Brand New/Minimal Maintenance
During this time, your asphalt is fairly new, so it does not require any extra work. However, Empire Paving advises you to monitor for cracks or heaving of asphalt due to the freezing/thawing effect, especially during cold winter times.
Years 5–7: Routine/Preventative Maintenance
By year 5, the oxidation process is well underway. This may cause your asphalt’s once-black colour to begin fading into a dark shade of gray. Meanwhile, sand and gravel may begin to come loose, and the edges of your pavement may start to weaken.
During this time, you will need to carefully coordinate with your local paving company so that they know to provide you with routine maintenance and minor repairs including a layer of sealcoat. Keep an eye out for small cracks that may need to be filled.
Years 8–15: Minor/Major Repairs
By year 8, asphalt maintenance will become more frequent, and you may need to schedule repairs for cracks, sunken areas, and potholes. Your pavement may even take on a lighter, scaly appearance as the oxidation process is in full effect and your pavement becomes noticeably weak and brittle. In general, after 10+ years it might require a large area removal and replacement, or even reconstruction of the entire lot.
To maximize the life of your pavement, be sure to contact your paving company promptly once you spot damage. Neglecting pavement damage will only cause your asphalt to break down even faster—resulting in more costly repairs.
Years 15–25: Major Repairs/Reconstruction
As your asphalt rapidly approaches the end of its life cycle, it’s time for you to start thinking about the cost of repairs versus the cost to remove and replace your asphalt pavement altogether.
Depending on how well you cared for your pavement and invested in maintenance early on in your pavement’s life, your asphalt may require full reconstruction as early as year 15 or as late as year 25.
As long as your pavement is still stable and presentable, you may continue making routine repairs. Keep in mind, however, that there will come a point when patching and overlays will only act as a band-aid for the more serious issues that exist at the foundation.