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What Is Asphalt Stripping, & Why Should You Care?

Key Takeaways:

  • Asphalt stripping is a type of pavement failure that can occur due to various factors, including winter weather and improper paving techniques.
  • It can be caused by drainage issues, poor initial construction, and extremes in temperature.
  • It can lead to further damage and costly repairs, so it’s vital to prevent and address stripping on time.
  • You can take steps to repair stripping, such as patching affected areas or resurfacing the entire pavement.
  • If you suspect your pavement may be at risk for stripping, consult a reputable paving contractor or engineer for proper maintenance and repair methods.
  • Paradise Asphalt Maintenance offers paving services to customers in Shawnee, KS, and the surrounding areas.

As a business owner, you know that your parking lot’s condition is critical. A well-maintained parking lot not only looks nicer but can also help improve the safety of your customers and employees. One common way to maintain a parking lot is by watching out for a type of pavement failure called asphalt stripping. But what is stripping, and why should you care? Paradise Asphalt Maintenance will discuss stripping and how it can affect your pavement!

What is Asphalt Stripping?

It is a pavement failure that can occur when the binder or asphalt cement in an asphalt pavement separates from the aggregate particles in the base of the pavement. It leaves the individual particles vulnerable to soil erosion, which can eventually cause them to pull away from the pavement’s surface. If you’re not familiar with this issue, it’s vital that you learn what it is and why you should worry about it.

It is a condition that affects asphalt pavement and results in the loss of the lowest layer of asphalt, also known as the base course. Unlike traveling, which affects the upper layer of asphalt and can be lost for various reasons, stripping affects the subterranean levels of asphalt, and this can also result in cracks & potholes.

Causes of Asphalt Stripping

Stripping typically occurs when the asphalt base course that binds together the aggregate particles in the pavement begins to strip away from corrosive soil conditions.

There are several causes of stripping.

1. Exposure to Water

The most common cause is exposure to waterlogged soils. Stripping typically starts at the base and can lead to complete pavement failure if left unaddressed.

2. Oxidation

It typically occurs when the pavement is exposed to sunlight and oxygen. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays break down the asphalt binder, while the oxygen causes it to oxidize. Over time, this process will weaken the bond between the aggregate particles and eventually cause the pavement to fail. This usually happens in combination with water intrusion.

3. Chemical Spills

Chemical spills can also cause stripping. When chemicals leach into the pavement or the soil, they can break down the asphalt molecules, causing the pavement to become brittle and flake off.

4. Winter Weather

Winter can also cause asphalt stripping. Cold temperatures can cause the pavement to contract, which leads to cracking and, eventually, stripping the lower layers of asphalt.

5. Use of Too Hot Asphalt Mix during the Paving Process

The most common cause is using an asphalt mix that is too hot. A boiling mixture can cause the asphalt binder to bleed out and be susceptible to stripping.

6. Using Improper Aggregate or Binder

Other causes of stripping include improper aggregate gradation or asphalt binder or when the asphalt mix contains too much bitumen. Bitumen is a sticky substance that binds sand and gravel together. If there is too much bitumen in the combination, it can seep to the surface and become sticky. It can cause the asphalt to become stripped when vehicles drive over it. That’s because the base course is already compromised.

Effects of Asphalt Stripping

Stripping can have several adverse effects on the pavement. One of the most severe effects is that it can cause the pavement to become structurally unsound. Stripping can also lead to potholes, cracking, and raveling. Additionally, it can make pavement more susceptible to damage from freeze-thaw cycles and deicing chemicals. Chunks of asphalt start coming off eventually.

What are the Consequences of Asphalt Stripping?

Stripping can have several consequences for both commercial and residential properties. First, it can lead to potholes and other forms of pavement failure. Second, it can create trip hazards for pedestrians and vehicles alike. Third, it can lead to increased maintenance costs as property owners will need to repair or replace their asphalt more frequently. Finally, it can decrease the curb appeal of a property and make it less desirable to potential buyers or renters.

If left unaddressed, it can eventually lead to complete pavement failure. It can result in various problems, including potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces. Additionally, stripped asphalt pavements can be more susceptible to damage from freeze-thaw cycles and vehicle traffic.

What Is Asphalt Stripping, & Why Should You Care?

Prevention of Asphalt Stripping

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent asphalt stripping from occurring.

1. Use Proper Asphalt Mix

The most crucial step is to use an asphalt mix designed for your specific climate and application. Always test the soil acidity or alkalinity before paving. It is also essential to use an aggregate that has been appropriately graded and an asphalt binder that is appropriate for your environment and application.

2. Include Emulsion in the Aggregate

You can also use an asphalt emulsion on your pavement. Emulsions help to bind together the aggregate particles, making them less likely to strip away from each other over time.

3. Use UV-Resistant Additives

You can use UV-resistant additives in the pavement sealer or emulsion. These additives will help to reflect UV rays away from the pavement surface, preventing them from breaking down the asphalt binder over time.

4. Add Adequate Drainage

Additionally, it is crucial to ensure adequate drainage in the pavement so that excess moisture does not build up and cause stripping.

5. Seal Your Pavement

Another way is to use an asphalt sealer on your pavement. Sealers provide a barrier between the asphalt and oxygen, which will help prevent oxidation.

Repairing Stripped Asphalt

If your pavement has already suffered from stripping, there are a few methods to repair it.

Since stripping means the asphalt is compromised from the base up, it will require a complete tear-down & fresh overlay. There is no way around it that involves patching.

Another way is to mill out affected areas and replace them with new paving materials. Finally, if necessary, you can resurface your entire pavement with new paving materials. Also, read our blog on how many times you can overlay your asphalt driveways before your need stripping.

Additionally, you may need to repair any underlying drainage issues, so they do not contribute to further stripping.

If your asphalt surface undergoes stripping, it must be investigated by a paving contractor to identify the root cause, mitigate it, and repair it.

Need a Paving Contractor in Shawnee, KS? No Problem!

If you need a paving contractor in Shawnee, KS, contact the experts at Paradise Asphalt Maintenance. We offer free estimates to give you an idea of the cost and scope of the project before moving forward. With over 14 years of experience, we’re confident that we can provide you with high-quality asphalt paving services that meet your needs and budget. Contact us today to get started!