Asphalt pavement is a widely used material for constructing roads, parking lots, and other surfaces due to its durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of maintenance. However, despite its widespread use, there are still many misconceptions about asphalt. In this blog post, we will debunk the most common myths about asphalt pavement, shedding light on the truth behind this versatile and reliable material.
Myth 1: Asphalt is bad for the environment
One of the most common myths about asphalt pavement is that it is harmful to the environment. The truth is that asphalt is an environmentally-friendly material. Asphalt pavements are 100% recyclable, and they can be reused multiple times. In fact, the asphalt industry recycles more than 100 million tons of asphalt every year, making it one of the most recycled materials in the United States.
Moreover, asphalt pavements have a lower carbon footprint than other paving materials like concrete. They require less energy to produce and emit fewer greenhouse gasses during the production process. Perpetual asphalt pavements, which can last for decades without requiring reconstruction, also contribute to reduced emissions and energy consumption.
Myth 2: Asphalt pavements are only suitable for low-traffic areas
Some people believe that asphalt pavements are only appropriate for low-traffic areas, but this is far from the truth. Asphalt pavement is suitable for various applications, from residential driveways and parking lots to high-traffic highways and airport runways.
Asphalt’s versatility and adaptability make it an ideal choice for many different situations. By adjusting the mix design and thickness of the pavement, asphalt can be customized to meet the specific requirements of any project, including those with heavy traffic loads.
Myth 3: Asphalt pavements are high-maintenance
Another misconception about asphalt pavements is that they require a lot of maintenance. While it is true that all pavements need some maintenance to ensure their longevity, asphalt pavements are relatively low-maintenance compared to other options.
Routine maintenance for asphalt pavements generally involves periodic inspections, crack sealing, and sealcoating. These simple and cost-effective maintenance measures can significantly extend the life of an asphalt pavement and keep it in excellent condition.
Additionally, when repairs or resurfacing are needed, asphalt pavements can be easily and quickly restored with minimal disruption to traffic. This is in contrast to concrete repairs, which often require more extensive work and longer curing times.
Myth 4: All asphalt is the same
Many people believe that all asphalt is the same, but this is not true. There are various types of asphalt mixtures available, each with different properties and performance characteristics. The specific asphalt mixture used for a project will depend on factors such as climate, traffic loads, and intended use.
For example, porous asphalt is designed to allow water to drain through the pavement, reducing runoff and improving stormwater management. Stone matrix asphalt, on the other hand, is a highly durable mixture designed for high-traffic areas and heavy loads.
By understanding the unique requirements of a project, engineers can select the appropriate asphalt mixture to ensure the best performance and longevity.
Myth 5: Asphalt pavements are more susceptible to potholes
A common myth is that asphalt pavements are more prone to developing potholes compared to other paving materials. However, potholes can form in any type of pavement due to factors such as water infiltration, freeze-thaw cycles, and heavy traffic loads. Potholes are not exclusive to asphalt pavements.
With proper design, construction, and maintenance, asphalt pavements can effectively resist pothole formation. Ensuring that the pavement has adequate drainage and promptly sealing cracks can help prevent water infiltration and minimize the risk of potholes. Additionally, when potholes do form in asphalt pavements, they can be repaired quickly and easily.
Myth 6: Sealcoating is not necessary for asphalt pavement
Sealcoating is often seen as an optional step in maintaining asphalt pavement, but this is a misconception. Sealcoating is an essential part of routine asphalt maintenance, as it helps protect the pavement from the damaging effects of water infiltration, oxidation, and ultraviolet radiation.
By applying a protective layer to the surface of the pavement, sealcoating can significantly extend the life of asphalt pavement and maintain its appearance. It is generally recommended to apply sealcoating every three to five years, depending on factors such as climate, traffic, and the condition of the pavement.
Myth 7: Asphalt pavement is more expensive than other paving materials
Many people assume that asphalt pavement is more expensive than other paving materials, such as concrete. However, when considering the entire life cycle of the pavement, including installation, maintenance, and rehabilitation costs, asphalt pavement is often more cost-effective than alternative options.
Asphalt pavements are typically faster and less expensive to install compared to concrete pavements. Additionally, the maintenance and repair costs associated with asphalt are often lower, as they can be performed quickly and with minimal disruption to traffic. Furthermore, the ability to recycle and reuse asphalt materials reduces the overall cost and environmental impact of the pavement.
Asphalt pavement is a versatile, durable, and cost-effective paving material that is suitable for a wide range of applications. By debunking these common myths, we hope to provide a better understanding of the true benefits and capabilities of asphalt pavement. With proper design, construction, and maintenance, asphalt pavement can provide a long-lasting and reliable surface that meets the needs of both people and the environment.