How to Tell High-Quality vs. Low-Quality Asphalt Paving
Choosing asphalt as a paving material offers many benefits. Asphalt provides excellent skid resistance, enhancing safety on roadways. It minimizes noise and produces a smooth, uniform surface. Asphalt is also 100% recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly paving solution.
The Life Expectancy of Asphalt Paving
Another advantage of choosing asphalt over other paving materials is its durability and longevity. Asphalt surfaces feature a bridging action that provides flexibility. The material can withstand the rigors of frequent heavy traffic, overloads and damage from soils and other substances. A well-maintained asphalt surface can last 18 to 20 years before it requires replacement.
Signs to Look for in Low-Quality Asphalt Paving
Asphalt paving is a precise process — the failure to execute the appropriate steps or the use of inferior materials can produce unsatisfactory results. The telltale signs of a bad asphalt job include:
- Surface imperfections: Using low-quality asphalt material can lead to the development of surface defects like cracking and spalling. Spalling occurs when broken-off flakes of asphalt appear on the driveway.
- Voids: Insufficient asphalt compaction can create empty spaces, resulting in poor density. Gaps can lead to inadequate drainage of water or melting snow.
- Shrinkage: If an asphalt driveway appears to be shrinking or rutting, it often means that the installer did not cure the surface correctly. Curing is essential for hardening and strengthening the asphalt.
- Improper slope: A finished asphalt surface should be level. If the driveway looks uneven, it typically means the installer did not grade the sloped areas to reshape them. Over time, excessive water accumulation can impact the surface’s integrity.
Depending on the severity, these issues may require repair work or complete asphalt resurfacing or replacement.
How to Tell a Good Asphalt Paving Job
Examples of the features that indicate good-quality asphalt paving include:
- No loose materials: If you don’t see areas of soft, wet dirt on the finished surface, the installer most likely built a solid subgrade and a strong aggregate base.
- Sufficient water drainage: The sight of water running off and draining into the surrounding earth after rainfall is a sign of an acceptable slope.
- Adequate thickness: An asphalt driveway should be at least 4 inches thick, and a parking lot should be 4 to 5 inches.
- Smooth transition spots: The borders between newly installed asphalt and existing paved surfaces should be even and bump-free.
What External Factors Can Affect Your Paving?
While a properly executed asphalt paving job should last many years, outside forces can impact the surface’s quality and longevity. Prolonged exposure to excessively hot or cold temperatures can cause issues such as cracking or pothole formation. Additionally, the rain from South Florida’s tropical climate can dissolve asphalt over time.
Contact The Paving Lady for Your Asphalt Needs in South Florida
The Paving Lady can help you understand what a new asphalt driveway should look like. We can also provide helpful tips to maintain your driveway and maximize its life span. Call us at 561-567-7182 or contact us online to learn more.