Understanding Asphalt Damage: 2 Common Causes

6 December 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

An asphalt driveway is a great investment for virtually any home, thanks to the fact that it can maintain its attractive appearance for years and years. Of course, to get the most out of your asphalt, you will need to keep it safe from destructive elements. If you would like to learn more about potentially damaging substances, read on. This article will discuss two frequent causes of asphalt damage.


Asphalt is perfectly capable of dealing with occasional exposure to things like rainwater and runoff from your garden hose. In fact, water doesn't really pose that great of a threat to asphalt—so long as it is able to drain away in a timely fashion. However, when water is allowed to pool up and remain on the surface, it can be highly destructive.

Over time, such water will have a deleterious effect on the structure of the asphalt binder, causing it to break down. This allows pieces of gravel to begin to work loose from the surface—a highly problematic issue known as raveling. Once such a process begins, it tends to only grow worse with time. That's because raveling leads to the formation of divots and potholes that allow yet more water to collect. Things only tend to grow worse as the winter months roll around. Then this unwanted water buildup starts to freeze, expanding in the process and causing further damage to the surrounding areas.

The best way to protect against water damage is to have your asphalt surface inspected. Uneven pavement may need to be regraded to facilitate water flow. From there, you will want to periodically rejuvenate the asphalt through the application of sealcoat, which acts to restore the natural strength and resilience of asphalt.

Motor Oil

Perhaps the second most common source of asphalt damage when it comes to both parking lots and residential driveways is motor oil. Spilled or leaking motor oil will result in an unattractive discoloration. Worse still, as time goes on, it will cause chemical changes to take place in the asphalt.

Specifically what happens is that the oil will cause the asphalt binder to begin to soften. Should it be allowed to remain in place long enough, raveling will soon ensue. This will require more costly forms of repair. Fortunately, you can avoid this expense by acting quickly and cleaning up any oil stains with a sponge and a bucket of soapy water.

Contact a residential asphalt company for additional advice.