What Is Oxidation, and Why Should it Matter to You?

If you’re managing an asphalt pavement, you’ve probably heard that the pavement oxidizes as it ages, and you need to protect it from this process.

True enough!

Oxidation is simply the exposure of your pavement (or anything, really) to oxygen. Exposure to oxygen alters a material’s physical characteristics, and different materials react differently. Iron, for example, rusts; exposing wine to air can cause it to lose its freshness and change color.

A similar process takes place with asphalt pavement. As the pavement is exposed to oxygen, it loses its “freshness,” becoming more brittle and fading in color. (One of the greatest and most-obvious benefits of sealcoating is restoring the black, which makes new striping pop and your parking lot more inviting to the public).

As asphalt pavement oxidizes and becomes more brittle, it also cracks more easily. And as cracks appear, water (and more oxygen) now have access to penetrate deeper into the pavement structure and seep beneath the asphalt layer. And that’s the beginning of large-scale, costly pavement repairs.

So, the million dollar question…how can you prevent oxidation?

Well, you can’t.

But you can slow it, which is where sealcoating comes in. Applying a thin protective layer on the asphalt pavement surface keeps oxygen from reaching the pavement structure and fills hairline cracks, which slows oxidation and extends pavement life. Much like paint on the side of a house, applying a protective layer regularly will continue to slow oxidation—and deterioration—and ensures your pavement will last longer.

Give us a call to see how we can help slow the oxidation process and keep your pavement looking brand new!