Things You May Not Know About Water, Concrete, and Asphalt

Concrete is often mistakenly considered to be a very impermeable substance. It is also often interchangeably thought of as being the same as asphalt. While both are used in construction, especially in projects that involve roadways and parking areas, they are not the same material. Asphalt is typically a tar-based mixture that is coated over layers of other materials to build surfaces. Concrete is mixed then molded, and can be inlaid with reinforcement or other internal structures. Once it is set, it becomes solid and is more durable than asphalt.

Both Have a Common Enemy

For all living things, water is essential, but for non-living materials, water can be “lethal”. The following are the ways in which water can be damaging to concrete and asphalt.

Absorption/Degradation/Freezing: Despite the fact that asphalt and concrete have the appearance of being non-porous solid and rocky materials, unless precautions have been taken to seal the surface, they can absorb water. While this in of itself may not sound horrible, it can play havoc on the layers beneath the asphalt and lead to cracks and potholes. During colder weather, pockets of water that have seeped beneath the layers of asphalt can freeze and create buckling and cracking in the surface. In concrete, it can cause sections to crack open when the moisture trapped inside freezes during cold weather. Cracks can be severe enough to require major repairs, even in newly laid areas. When it comes to prevention, asphalt and concrete sealing, in addition to proper drainage channels, are vital to maintaining driveways, roadways, and parking lots.

Erosion: Water can carve mountains and shape landscapes, so when it comes to things like asphalt and concrete, there is little question of what it can do over time. While it is no quick process, rainy weather and saturated grounds, can expedite the erosion process. As the water moves through, under, and over the asphalt or concrete, it carries away little pieces with it. This subtle process will weaken the material, leading to structural collapses and gaps. Asphalt is more susceptible to water erosion than concrete, and will deteriorate more quickly if it is not sealed properly and regularly. Sealing concrete can help stave off erosion on the exterior, but more often it is done to help prevent the erosion of the internal metal reinforcements, which can lead to loss of structural integrity if allowed to rust through.

If you have asphalt or concrete sealing needs, or are curious about pricing, contact AAA Striping & Sealing. They provide full asphalt and concrete care services in the St. Louis area.

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