The oxidation process can, over time, destroy your parking lot paving. It's not a process you can completely stop, but it's one you can slow down. By slowing down the process, you add years to the longevity of your parking lot paving.
What Is Oxidation?
Oxidation occurs when a substance loses an electron to the oxygen around it. It occurs all the time and to just about everything. It's the reason iron rusts and food spoils. For your parking lot asphalt, oxidation will make it brittle. From there it will start to crack and break up.
Even though oxidation is always happening to your parking lot, you can severely slow it down. Some things even accelerate the process, and mitigating those factors will help you battle process even more.
What Accelerates Parking Lot Oxidation?
Three main things can accelerate the oxidation process on your parking lot.
Weight from constant traffic, especially large trucks, can cause your asphalt to weaken over time. That weakening accelerates the oxidation process.
If possible, you should set aside a designated spot for commercial vehicles. This can keep them from stressing all the asphalt so much. Otherwise, the weakening will turn into breaking, and the oxidation process will increase even more.
Asphalt absorbs sunlight. This causes the bonds between molecules to weaken. Once again, that weakening invites further oxidation. There's not much you can do about sunlight, other than to shade the area as best you can.
Damage of any sort increases the oxidation process.
- Plants and tree roots
- Fluctuating weather (especially freeze-thaw cycles)
Really, anything that causes damage increases oxidation. Damage can also come from oil and gas stains left behind by vehicles.
Sealcoating Is Your Best Defense Against Oxidation
Sealcoating your parking lot gives it a lot of protection from the elements that cause and contribute to oxidation. Sealcoating
- protects asphalt from absorbing too much sunlight,
- weatherproofs asphalt to keep weather damage to a minimum,
- and prevents chemical substances from working its way into the asphalt.
Outside of battling oxidation, sealcoating makes asphalt look more appealing in general. Over time, maintaining your parking lot will cost you more without semi-regularly having it sealcoated. Keeping it preserved with sealcoating also protects your overall investment.
Sealcoating should occur as soon as possible. However, it's never too late to have your older asphalt repaired and then sealcoated by professionals. This process can extend the life of your asphalt whether new or old. Contact a company like R Williams Paving LLC to learn more.