Country Road Paving in Arlington, Texas
Why Is the Road Base Under Pavement Important?
There’s more to the pavement than just the asphalt or concrete itself. If you want a good, long-lasting, and safe pavement, then it’s important to have a good base.
There are three layers to asphalt pavement. The top layer is the asphalt itself, which vehicles come into contact with. The second layer is called the base course and is usually made up of crushed aggregate. This layer helps with drainage from the top asphalt layer as well as the load distribution. This means that the asphalt on top is less likely to be damaged from water and can bear more weight.
The third and lowest layer is called the sub-base course. This layer is mostly to support the structure of the road, and sometimes is not even included in the construction of a road. It does, however, also help with drainage and helps maintain the structural integrity of the road. Sub-base courses are normally made up of a crushed aggregate of lesser quality material than the base course.
Hot Mix Asphalt Cure Time Is Important
You’re probably familiar with the look of freshly laid asphalt. Asphalt that has been newly installed is black and rich in color. Over time, this color fades, and the pavement becomes gray. This is called oxidization, and it is the process in which your asphalt loses the oils it has when it is first installed. Oxidization is important for the overall curing process, as it allows the asphalt to harden and therefore become less susceptible to damage.
However, you don’t want to allow the oxidization to go on for too long. While having too many oils in the asphalt makes it too soft, losing too much means there’s nothing to hold the asphalt together. That’s why it’s important to allow your asphalt to cure for the right amount of time.
As a general rule, it takes about 6-12 months for your asphalt to fully cure and harden. Don’t worry though, you can still drive and walk on asphalt—you’ll just have to be careful not to park in the same spot over and over again, or your wheels could leave dents in the pavement. Once your 6-12 months are up, you can go ahead and apply a sealcoat to keep your asphalt safe.
Proper Thickness and Compaction Are Needed
Compaction refers to applying repeated stress to a road so that it becomes more compact and reaches the density needed to keep your pavement in tip-top shape. You want proper thickness and compaction in your road because having too little compaction can allow water to seep into the pavement. This moisture will decrease the lifespan of your pavement significantly and can encourage cracks and holes.
You’ll also want proper thickness and compaction in your road to keep it strong. If your road isn’t compact enough, then that will weaken your pavement considerably. Without taking these into account when building a road, your asphalt may not be strong enough to withstand the weight put upon it. It could also mean that water is more likely to seep into the asphalt, which can cause costly and unsafe damages.
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