6 Asphalt Parking Lot Terms You Need to Know


If you have an asphalt parking lot, you need to educate yourself on some of the terms used when discussing asphalt damage and repair so that you are prepared to maintain your parking lot. You can protect your investment better after checking out these asphalt parking lot terms you need to know.

1. Sealcoat

Sealcoating is a process of applying a new top layer of asphalt. A professional should perform this about once every two to four years, and it helps protect the asphalt from damage. Sealcoating also covers and fills cracks and potholes.

If your parking lot isn't too damaged, but you've spotted a few small cracks or potholes, an asphalt overlay may be a better job. During an overlay, a thin layer of asphalt is added to cover the cracks. However, the cracks will begin to show again after a few years.

2. Oxidation

Oxidation is the biggest threat to your asphalt because it is a natural process that affects every material. Oxidation occurs because of exposure to oxygen, which alters the material. For example, oxidized metal rusts.

Oxidized asphalt fades to a light gray and becomes brittle as it loses its flexibility. Cracks, chips and potholes are more likely to appear. You can't stop oxidation, but you can slow it with periodic sealcoating.

3. Aggregates

Asphalt is made of asphalt cement and aggregates. The aggregates are small bits of stone, gravel and crushed rock, and the asphalt cement holds them together. When exposed to things like water or oil, however, the asphalt cement begins to breakdown.

Oil, in particular, causes this breakdown to occur. If oil drips from cars and isn't cleaned, it destroys the asphalt, until the aggregates become loose and create an indent or pothole. In severe cases, the oil can soften an entire area of asphalt.

4. Base Failure

Your parking lot is made of different layers, including the base. The base supports the parking lot and is made of dense aggregates that support the parking lot. Too much weight from heavy traffic and damage from ground water can actually case the base to fail.

Base failure can lead to depressions in the parking lot as the asphalt starts to sink. You can easily spot these when it rains because they fill with water.

5. Cracking

There are multiple types of cracks that can appear on your parking lot. Alligator cracking creates a lot of small cracks closely together that look like alligator skin. They may occur because of base failure. Joint cracking happens when an overlay expands to cause cracking. Cracking along the edge of the parking lot is often caused by water damage.

Block cracking is similar to alligator cracking, but the cracks are farther apart. This is usually caused as the asphalt expands and contracts in the heat/cold. Transverse cracking is a single long crack caused by a settling base. Last, linear cracking is also a type of single long crack, but it is usually caused by pavement fatigue. If you’re not sure why your asphalt has cracks, call a professional.

6. Traffic Volume

Before you install your parking lot, you need to know about how many vehicles will be using the parking lot consistently. You should also determine the average weight of the vehicles. By understanding the traffic volume, you can better create a parking lot that is durable.

If you underestimate, and heavy trucks start using your parking lot, the risk of damage increases significantly.

You may feel overwhelmed with parking lot care, especially if you don't know the right terminology. If you would like to learn more about asphalt, or if you need to request a quote for a repair or sealcoat, contact us at Star Paving Company today.