The process of installing asphalt pavement is a straightforward procedure that has a lot of important details going on behind the scenes. Curing is one example of the elements of asphalt installation that aren’t obvious to those unfamiliar with the process. However, curing is an important part of the asphalt installation process because it ensures the asphalt pavement will hold up for years to come.
Details of Asphalt Curing
Once an asphalt pavement has been installed, it is time to let it dry. This is not what is meant by the term “curing,” but it is the first step. Drying is where the liquid solvents evaporate, leaving the asphalt surface free of tackiness or other wetness.
Most asphalt pavements need to dry somewhere between a full two or three days. During this drying time, you cannot walk or drive on your asphalt pavement. Your asphalt paving company should let you know the exact drying time for asphalt for your region.
After the asphalt pavement has dried, it is safe to walk and drive on it. However, the asphalt still has to cure. During the curing process, the materials in the asphalt mixture fuse and oxidize. This makes your asphalt hard and strong, and it allows it to stand up to the elements and wear and tear. In most instances, asphalt fully cures within six to twelve months.
There are some rules of thumb to keep in mind while your asphalt is curing. These include:
- Don’t park in the same place all the time for at least a month. Since the asphalt is still not completely hardened during the curing process, continually parking in the same spot could create a depression in the asphalt that will collect water and cause problems down the line.
- Don’t put too much weight on it. Similarly, since your asphalt has not fully hardened, putting too much weight on it—such as driving a large, heavy vehicle on the uncured asphalt—could cause uneven depressions.
- Don’t allow excess traffic. Avoid having a high volume of traffic on your asphalt pavement as much as possible until the asphalt is fully cured.
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