Why Does Asphalt Deteriorate?

Asphalt Defects

While asphalt is one of the most durable materials used in construction, it can also deteriorate over time from errors and improper maintenance.

As one of the most durable materials used in construction, asphalt adds dependability and strength to all paving and building projects. Aside from those factors, the result is also a sleek, professional look that will make people marvel. However, like any other material, over time asphalt will start to show signs of its age and exposure. Even asphalt that is well maintained will begin to deteriorate after some time, depending on its environment and how it’s used. Here are some reasons why asphalt deteriorates.  


Asphalt tends to deteriorate as a result of cracking, distortion, and disintegration. As asphalt tends to shrink and expand, this process creates cracks. Distortion creates areas of grade depressions, channels, or ruts. Finally, disintegration is often created from traffic and is especially present in parking lots and driveways. Distortion leads to potholes and raveling and is exacerbated by gas and oil spills, which cause the asphalt to soften and break down faster.

Environmental Exposure

Both water and sunlight will eventually cause asphalt to deteriorate. Because asphalt is porous and can be penetrated, if water isn’t redirected away from it, the asphalt will break down and eventual collapse. As the water gets through to the base of the asphalt, it will wash it out and cause it to break down and crack. Sunlight, on the other hand, leads to oxidation, which will break down and dry out the asphalt, causing cracks. These cracks will then give water more space and access to the base of the asphalt.  

Construction Errors

Sometimes, deterioration is caused from the very beginning; if there were errors when the asphalt was originally poured and installed. If contractors feel rushed or just weren’t properly trained, these errors will cause the asphalt to break down faster than it normally would. Some of the errors during installation include asphalt that is the wrong temperature, poor drainage, and improper compaction. Without these errors and with proper maintenance over the years, asphalt will last for up to 25 years.  

Asphalt Maintenance You Can Trust from PTG Enterprises

If you want to protect your asphalt and ensure it has a long lifespan, choose PTG Enterprises for your sealcoating and asphalt maintenance needs. We offer commercial concrete, masonry, asphalt installation, repair, and paving throughout Baltimore, Harford, Anne Arundel, Howard, and P.G. Counties. If you are interested in hearing how we can help you, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 636-8777. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedInGoogle+, and Flickr.

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