While tough surfaces, concrete and asphalt can start to deteriorate over time, especially if they’re located in areas that commonly have severe weather or are heavily used. Below you’ll discover some helpful ways you can sustain these surfaces for years to come.
What Ruins Concrete and Asphalt?
The degradation of concrete and asphalt can happen for various reasons. This includes aggregate expansion, chemicals, bacterial corrosion, and oil spills.
6 Tips for Maintaining Concrete and Asphalt Surfaces
Repair Cracks Immediately
Cracks in concrete and asphalt form for different reasons. This could be due to a badly constructed joint or the material itself shrinking. To keep these surfaces in pristine condition it’s crucial to repair cracks immediately.
These are some of the most common ways you can repair and patch cracks.
This is one of the simplest options to use to repair cracks. After putting a liquid asphaltic patch repairer into the crack, roll over it with a heavy-duty vehicle, like a tractor or bulldozer. This will smooth out the fluid and seal the crack. You should use this method if the crack needs to be fixed instantly, such as during poor weather conditions.
A spray injection repair is popular for fixing large cracks in concrete and asphalt. To do it, you must first spray water over the crevice to remove any debris and weeds. Then, pour aggregate into it at a high-pressure so it sticks.
If the cracks are starting to spread, full-depth patching is ideal. After digging into the fissure and surrounding area with an excavator, pour a tack coat into the ground and then asphalt over it. Once this mixture has settled, apply a backfill over it to ensure it sets in place.
Wash the Surfaces
Another way to maintain concrete and asphalt is to regularly wash them off. These surfaces will constantly come into contact with fluids that can cause them to curl or crumble.
There are a variety of concrete and asphalt cleaners available to use. These cleaners will not only remove unsightly stains from them but act as a slight sealant to give them more protection from moisture and environmental damage.
It’s important to not clean them with a power washer as the high pressure of the water could weaken them. Instead, put the cleaner on the surface and use a contractor’s broom to spread it around.
Add a Seal
Sealing concrete and asphalt has been shown to not only extend their durability, but can protect them from oil spills and rust spots. Most seals will also contain UV-resistant materials that work to stop oxidation and discoloration due to intense sunlight.
Before applying a seal, make sure to wash the surface off. This will stop any stains from appearing through the new seal after you apply it. For best results, you’ll want to do at least two coats. Once you spread the first coat, wait until it’s completely dry to do the second one. Otherwise, you risk dirt and debris being mixed into it.
Concrete surfaces should be sealed at least once every four years while asphalt should be sealed once every three years.
Types of Concrete Seals
Once applied, silicone sealers will react with the ingredients in concrete and eventually bond together with them to create a strong shield. Silicone sealers are also extremely breathable which prevents moisture from lingering around.
An acrylic seal puts a thin yet powerful film over the concrete to keep water and chemicals from destroying it. This type only takes about an hour to dry.
This seal is ideal for heavy traffic areas thanks to its impressive durability. It’s very thick when applied and can prevent stains.
Epoxies will give concrete a glossy finish and are water-resistant. However, they can yellow over time.
Types of Asphalt Seals
A coal tar seal is one of the most popular asphalt sealers thanks to its smooth finish and water resistance.
This is good for places that are heavily used and need to be patched up quickly. Fast-drying seals hardened in just a few minutes, but because of this unique feature tend to be much more expensive.
Acrylic seals are made in various colors and have UV-resistant properties. They’re also very eco-friendly because they don’t contain petroleum, an ingredient commonly found in sealers.
An emulsion sealer is made of polymers that help to restore durability to asphalt while also protecting it from water damage.
Clean Out Drainage Systems
If debris, like leaves and rocks, starts to collect in a nearby drainage system, they can wear down the concrete or asphalt, especially if the drain is blocked. Because of concrete’s light color, sometimes leaves and grass can cause blemishes on it that can be very difficult to remove. It’s important to monitor and consistently clean out drainage systems to prevent this.
Remove Popped-Up Roots
Roads or sidewalks that are lined by plants (especially large trees) tend to have problems with roots. As these plants grow, their root system also spreads. If concrete or asphalt surfaces are situated near them, the roots will slowly start to degrade their durability which can cause them to crumble and buckle. Eventually, the roots will take advantage of this and start to grow through the cracks.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you either want to remove the plants situated near these areas or install root barriers below the surface before sealing it. By doing so, you’ll not only stop root damage but keep pedestrians and vehicles safe.
Eliminate Standing Water
Any dips or holes in concrete or asphalt surfaces will collect water. Standing water isn’t only dangerous for vehicles to drive through, but can significantly ruin the resilience of these surfaces because it will soften the ground beneath them and cause them to crumble. If you find standing water or discover holes that could collect it, quickly remove or fix it before there’s expensive damage.