What is Asphalt Rejuvenation and How Can it Save Money?
Asphalt rejuvenation refers to the process of restoring chemical properties that have been in a state of deterioration since the moment fresh asphalt was laid down. Unlike conventional asphalt emulsion sealers that tend to be water-based, asphalt rejuvenating products and processes, such as fuse-bonded overlay, are sourced from coal tar blended with aromatic oils and solvents. An asphalt rejuvenator penetrates the asphalt at a level significantly lower than the surface to chemically revitalize and protect the asphalt binder by replacing the oils and tars that were lost due to oxidation.
This process also seals the pavement from water, air and chemical contaminants, thus retarding oxidation and deterioration while extending the effective service life of the pavement.
So, to summarize, rejuvenating asphalt:
• Replaces oils lost from oxidation
• Revitalizes the asphalt binder
• Restores flexibility
• Seals the pavement from contaminants
• Extends the useful life of asphalt 4-5 years
Let’s cover some other basics before delving into how such a rejuvenation process can save you money.
The Realities of Pavement Deterioration and Preservation
Asphalt, from the moment it leaves the production plant and comes in contact with the air, begins to oxidize, and there just isn’t any way around that. In fact, the Asphalt Institute and Army Corp of Engineers have said that regardless of where in the world pavement resides, this planet's sun always penetrates the one-inch-thick surface of the asphalt pavement before drying it out. As the maltene components of the asphalt binder eradicate, the asphalt cement becomes brittle, leading to the breakdown of the binder and cracking of the pavement surface. What’s more, damage to the sub-base from infiltration of water requires reconstruction, and the effects of fuel tend to also accelerate the deterioration process of the binder.
To say that subsequent repairs are time-consuming, costly and ultimately inevitable is something of a gross understatement.
Into this foray have come pavement preservation approaches to limit asphalt binder deterioration and cut down on costly rehabilitation – approaches in the form of regularly-scheduled preventative maintenance in which the integrity of the surface is preserved and cracking is stopped before it begins.
The Money-Saving Factor
Investing in methods to preserve asphalt while it remains in excellent condition will extend your asphalt pavement's life…at a fraction of the cost of rehabbing methods like milling and overlay, or even reconstruction. Further, it will eliminate unexpected safety hazards and complaints associated with a pavement surface that's deteriorating.
Think of pavement the way you would skin – a women’s skin is resilient, smooth, unblemished. Over time, harmful UV rays and aging, without a routine skin care plan will leave unprotected skin cracking, dry and wrinkled. Pavement rejuvenation products and practices, like properly-applied skin care and sunscreen, will help preserve the resiliency of the pavement and delay the need for costly complete resurfacing.