Did you know that public parking lots are affected by the scorching temperatures in Arizona? In fact, the heat of summer can have a severe impact on asphalt and its lifespan. Even though asphalt is an excellent surface for parking lots and other outdoor locations due to its durability and low maintenance requirements, exposure to high temperatures can accelerate the aging process and shorten the lifespan of your asphalt.
If you manage an office building or even a shopping mall with an asphalt parking lot, you probably know about the potential downsides of having this type of surface during the hot summer months. Hot temperatures can cause oxidation, raveling, tracking, and cracking to your asphalt. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to extend the life of your public parking lot during the heat of summer.
Why Does Scorching Heat Have Such a Negative Effect on Asphalt?
Asphalt is a mixture of aggregates, binder, and fillers primarily used to create pavement for roads, parking lots, and other structures. While it’s incredibly durable and easy to use, it’s also very reactive to the environment. It’s sensitive to its surroundings, including the climate. It’s also very porous and can easily be damaged by water and other contaminants trapped in its pores. Asphalt becomes more brittle as it gets warmer. When temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the asphalt can begin to lose its flexibility and become very brittle. This can be highly problematic for a public parking lot, as the asphalt will crack and break much easier.
When asphalt is exposed to UV rays from the sun, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in asphalt oxidation. The asphalt’s binding oils are reduced, which lowers its structural durability and reliability.
Oxidation can happen in as little as one year, depending on the temperature, the amount of water present in the asphalt, and several other factors. When oxidation takes place, the asphalt becomes less flexible. It can also lead to the development of rust-like stains on the parking lot surface. These stains can be difficult to remove and can also be a source of pollution. To protect your public parking lot, you’ll need to make sure that you use a sealer. Sealers are designed to prevent oxygen from entering the asphalt and causing oxidation.
Asphalt is made from small chunks of mineral rock that have been broken down into smaller pieces. It’s also mixed with other substances, such as tar and resins. When it gets hot, the tar and resins will soften and melt, which will cause the asphalt chunks to move closer together. As the asphalt continues warming up, the tar and resins will become gooey and rise to the surface. This process is known as raveling. Raveling is most likely to occur during the summer, as asphalt heated by direct sunlight is more likely to melt and bubble. Raveling is bad because it leads to the asphalt becoming a rougher surface. This can make the public parking lot more dangerous, especially when it rains. The melted tar and resins that rise to the surface also stain and discolor the asphalt, making it look old, dirty, and unattractive.
Tracking occurs when the asphalt becomes extremely dry and brittle, which causes the asphalt to detach from the ground. As the asphalt pulls away from the ground, a dark line can be seen, and it will continue to get wider as more asphalt pulls away. Tracking can also occur when the asphalt is exposed to extreme heat and direct sunlight or if water, oils, and chemicals get trapped in the pores of the asphalt. Tracking can be hazardous for people who park their cars on the asphalt because their tires can get caught in the cracks and cause them to lose control of their vehicle.
How You Can Extend the Life of Your Public Parking Lot During Summer Months
Now that you know how summer heat can negatively impact asphalt, you might be wondering how to extend the lifespan of your asphalt parking lot. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to protect it from the summer heat. If possible, you should try to schedule any repairs or maintenance on your public parking lot during the cooler months when the asphalt is less susceptible to damage. You should also make sure to keep your public parking lot well-maintained. Cracks in the asphalt are likely to become more significant if they’re not repaired promptly. Repairing cracks will help to prevent them from growing and causing more damage. You should also be sure to use sealants on your asphalt. Sealants can prevent oxidation and raveling, which will help extend your parking lot’s lifespan.
If you’re near Tucson and the Summer heat got the best of your parking lot, Saguaro Asphalt can help! We have the experience and expertise to repair any cracks or imperfections the heat may have caused in your parking lot. Contact us at: (520) 428-0505 and let’s see how we can help!