Chemical Treatments Are The Future Of Asphalt And Concrete Maintenance

For many years, engineers have recommended resurfacing every 15-20 years as a form of maintenance even though the life of an overlay is approximately half that of the original pavement. At that time, asphalt was about $10 per ton. Today it costs between $50 and $60 per ton plus the cost of repair, removal and installation. This old approach can be a “budget buster” at today’s prices. Replacement is not a “green” process. It is expensive and more harmful to the environment than in-place maintenance.

Asphalt and concrete deterioration is a chemical as well as a physical process. It is the chemical aspect that people fail to recognize when planning a pavement maintenance program. We looked for a process that would chemically improve and maintain pavements. Our research led us to a chemical rejuvenator for asphalt and a chemical process to restore and protect concrete.

The exposure of asphalt pavement to the elements causes the surface to oxidize which turns the blacktop grey or white. Oxidation chemically alters the asphalt binder or the glue that holds the mix of sand and stone together. This process makes the blacktop brittle and prone to raveling and cracking. Rejuvenator is an in-place chemical treatment that restores the binder’s flexibility, thus significantly extending the pavement life.

Studies by the Asphalt Institute and Texas A&M University report that the right treatment at the right time is three times more cost effective than doing no maintenance. The life of the pavement can be extended 2-3 times its current life if oxidative hardening of the blacktop is stopped or reversed in time. Your asphalt pavement is an asset. It should be carefully managed, not ignored until deterioration requires costly replacement. DOING NOTHING has proven to be the most costly approach!

Concrete problems are caused by a variety of factors. Most problems are a breakdown of the chemical and physical properties that go into making concrete. When mixed with water, it’s the “chemical reaction” with cement that forms the hard solid mass. The concrete restoration and protection process focuses on the chemical aspect and has been proven effective in inhibiting, repairing and in some cases, reversing the many causes associated with concrete surface and structural deterioration.

It is to the credit of asphalt and concrete that the infrastructure of the world is in place. Every structure and pavement around you is likely composed of asphalt and concrete, yet it is barely noticed unless there is something wrong. But like everything else, asphalt and concrete are not indestructible. They deteriorate and require maintenance and repair to prolong their useful life.

The future of our private and public infrastructure, and the demand on finite natural resources will be best served once people understand how these products can help save the environment and save them money. We expect these “green” products and methods to become more in demand in the future as a response to even higher material costs and tighter budgets.

Article written by Rodger Rowles, which appeared in the Friday April 23, 2010 issue of Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal. Click here to download a PDF from