Mother Nature has a way of wreaking havoc on paved surfaces. The freeze thaw process is very damaging to Chicago’s roadways and parking lots. We’re sure you’ve noticed an abundance of cracks, patches, and potholes that we haven’t had a chance to address yet. We’re getting there! Unlike our lone friend in the photo above, we have full crews of expert asphalt workers across the city making things happen. Let’s talk about how weather affects asphalt and the processes required to repair damaged asphalt.

Sunshine and Heat: Exposure to sunlight causes accelerated oxidation and breaks down the material that holds the pavement together. The only real fix for this issue, other than covering the asphalt to protect it from the sun’s rays, is to properly maintain it with sealants.

Rain and Standing Water: Water seeps into asphalt through tiny cracks in the surface. It slowly erodes the asphalt from top to bottom. And then freezing weather hits, and the water expands, making the existing cracks larger and introducing even more cracks. Eventually you begin to see alligator cracking and then potholes. That’s just the natural progression unless proper steps are taken to prolong the life of the asphalt.

Other Damages Asphalt Must Endure

Tree Roots: Trees are very persistent. Their roots continually seek out water in order to provide nutrients to the growing tree. Unfortunately, this means they are going to grow toward the pavement’s surface, which results in major damage to the asphalt. Cutting away the asphalt so that the roots may be removed is a delicate process because we don’t want to compromise the health of the trees.

Motor Oil: Motor oil is very bad for asphalt. Crude oil causes asphalt to break down more quickly. This really becomes an issue during the summer months because heat speeds up the process.

Heavy Vehicles: Big trucks and heavy delivery vans are much heavier than your average family car. Heavy vehicles that are just passing through don’t do a lot of damage to asphalt, but Chicago’s stop-and-go traffic patterns are very hard on the trucks as well as on the roads themselves. The more a truck sits in one spot, the more damage is done.

Daily Travel: Cars and normal family vehicles don’t really do a lot of damage to asphalt, but the frequency at which they travel the roadways and parking lots does take its toll. Carpools have helped delay the inevitable, but damage still happens over time.

Rapco Asphalt Maintenance is located in Franklin Park, IL. We service the greater Chicago area, and strive to complete all of our projects in a timely manner. We do understand that driving on damaged roads is annoying, because we drive our regular vehicles just like you do. We just wanted to let you know today that the latest snow and sub-freezing weather has taken its toll on our roads and parking lots, and we’re working diligently to repair it.