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Frequently Asked Questions

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Asphalt

What exactly is asphalt?

Asphalt pavement is usually 95% aggregate, which could be stone, sand, or gravel, and 5% asphalt cement as a binder. The binder is a product of oil refining and acts to glue the aggregates together. The aggregate and asphalt are heated, combined with the recycled material and mixed together.

What are the main benefits of asphalt?

  • It costs less to construct and maintain asphalt than alternative pavements.
  • Asphalt construction projects can be completed more quickly than alternative pavements.
  • Asphalt pavements are the smoothest pavements.
  • Asphalt pavements generate less noise than alternative pavements.
  • The contrast of the black pavement and white lines make it easier for motorists to understand driving and parking regulations - making asphalt a safer pavement.
  • Properly designed, constructed and maintained asphalt pavements last significantly longer than alternative pavements.
  • Asphalt is recyclable.

Asphalt & Paving

Should construction crews pave in the rain?

Occasional light sprinkles should not be cause to shut down operations. However, a steady downpour, either light or heavy, should result in cessation of paving activities.

Keep in mind that the surface on which we are paving may influence our decision. Paving on a firm, stable, well-draining crushed aggregate base might be given more leeway than a thin asphalt overlay. Raining or not, new pavement must be placed on a firm, unyielding base. Critical ideas to keep in mind when dealing with rain:

  • Rain will cool the asphalt mix and could make obtaining proper compaction more difficult
  • The asphalt lifts must be able to properly bond together and moisture can be a hindrance to that bond
  • Puddles overlaid with HMA turn to steam, which may cause stripping (separation of the asphalt binder from the aggregate) – never pave over puddles whether it is raining or not.

Do I need to replace all of the deteriorated pavement?

Typically not; pavements are only designed for a 15 year life cycle and random fatigue cracking and slight deterioration are to be expected. Simply adding a new 2" surface (Perma-Flex paving overlay) over the existing paving will seal the cracks and deteriorated areas and solve the problem.

Can you pave over concrete?

Yes, it is possible to pave over concrete; however, reflective cracking may occur as a result.

Asphalt Repairs

What causes asphalt to fail?

Assuming that the initial asphalt pavement was designed and constructed properly, the primary cause of failure is the penetration of water into the asphalt base. Asphalt failure often begins with the oxidation of an untreated pavement surface which causes the asphalt to become dry and brittle. The top layer of fine particles erodes, exposing the larger aggregate and leading to small cracks on the surface. These cracks will grow if left untreated, allowing water to penetrate to the base of the pavement. When water enters the base of the pavement, the base material shifts and settles leading to further cracking and a depression in the surface. As water pools in the depressed area, the asphalt further deteriorates and becomes unstable. When the pavement reaches this stage, removal and replacement of the old asphalt is often the only remedy.

Can you seal cracks in asphalt?

Yes you can & YES you should! Filling Asphalt Cracks in your asphalt driveway or parking lot surface will be a very important part of extending the life of your asphalt surface. One of the most common and easy to use products available is Rubberized Asphalt Crack Filler. The second reason you should fill the cracks in your asphalt is because vegetation will begin growing in them. As the roots on vegetation get bigger, the plant root can actually push the pavement up and create even more damage. This breaks the pavement surface and other problems begin occurring. Even worse, if water does penetrate the crack and seeps under the asphalt surface, this will almost always creates a soft spot which in turn can create a Pot Hole and if you live where the temperatures create ground freezing, then this moisture under the asphalt surface will freeze and push the pavement up. You might have seen this on other driveways or parking lots to know what we are talking about and now you know why it has happened. All of these conditions can usually be avoided by practicing good maintenance and keeping these cracks filled as they occur.

What can I do to prevent pavement failures?

Periodic and preventative maintenance is the key; budget money for crack filling on a yearly basis. Typically a few hundred dollars a year in crack filling will save you thousands in patching when resurfacing is required. If deteriorated pavement is caused by poor sub-base conditions, periodic patching may be required to keep those areas from spreading.

When is a tack coat necessary?

Almost always! On rare occasions when a pavement is being constructed which is not being used by traveling public and each succeeding lift is placed in rapid succession, a tack coat may not be necessary. However, a good cheap insurance policy is to always use tack coats.

What causes potholes to form?

Possible causes of potholes include asphalt that was too thin, base failure under heavy loads or poor drainage that weakens the sub grade and base. Poor quality (segregation in the asphalt, poor compaction, or asphalt that was burnt or did not have enough oil mixed into it) may be a contributing factor.

What are the different kinds of patch repairs?

There are two main types of asphalt patch repairs procedures that will provide a suitable fix to most asphalt related issues – full-depth patching (peel and pave) and surface patching. Full-depth patching involves the removal of the entire layer of pavement surface down to or including the sub base, depending on the condition of the stone base. New sub base is then installed, a tack coat is applied, and new asphalt pavement is back filled into the patch area. Surface patching is a more temporary fix and should only be considered for a surface that is in relatively good condition. This process does not involve the excavation of the existing surface or sub base. The asphalt is simply layered over the existing surface and feathered to match the in-place grade. In some cases, a rebate is milled into the surface, which eliminates the need to feather-edge the patch.

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