Debunking Common Myths About Asphalt Pavement

Debunking Common Myths About Asphalt Pavement

Debunking Common Myths About Asphalt Pavement


From the blacktop of our roads to the smooth surfaces of our driveways, asphalt has long been a stalwart of our modern infrastructure. Nonetheless, myths and misconceptions about asphalt pavement persist, sometimes leading to poor maintenance and incorrect decision-making. In this comprehensive post, we're going to set the record straight on some common asphalt-related beliefs.


Asphalt Myth #1: All "Blacktop" Is the Same

One of the most entrenched misconceptions is that any black-colored pavement is synonymous with asphalt. In reality, "blacktop" is a colloquial term often used to refer to asphalt, but it can also indicate concrete that's been mixed with bitumen to create a similar dark-colored surface. To clear up any confusion, it's crucial to differentiate between the two when discussing paving options.

The Difference in Durability

While blacktop made from bitumen and concrete may look similar, their performance varies significantly. Asphalt, made with a petroleum-based substance called bitumen, offers more flexibility, making it better at resisting cracking and deformation from temperature fluctuations. This gives it a clear advantage in areas with harsh winters compared to standard concrete.

Maintaining Your Blacktop

The maintenance for these two mixtures also differs. Asphalt requires regular sealcoating to protect it from moisture and abrasion, while concrete may need more frequent resealing but less overall maintenance. Knowing the specific material of your pavement can help you create a more effective maintenance plan.

Asphalt Myth #2: Sealcoating Is Just for Looks

Many homeowners and property managers believe that sealcoating is purely an aesthetic enhancement, thanks to its ability to provide a sleek, dark finish to driveways and parking lots. However, this is just half the story, and sealcoating's real value can often be missed.

The True Purpose of Sealcoating

Sealcoating is primarily a protective measure. It guards against the damaging effects of water, oil, and UV rays, which can degrade the asphalt over time. By maintaining a sealcoating schedule, you can significantly extend the life of your asphalt pavement, which makes it a smart investment rather than a simple cosmetic fix.

When to Sealcoat

The regularity of sealcoating depends on various factors, such as climate, traffic load, and the current condition of the pavement. Industry professionals recommend sealcoating every two to three years for residential driveways and every one to two years for commercial lots. Proper timing is key, and it's best to sealcoat when the weather is warm and dry to ensure a proper cure.

Asphalt Myth #3: Asphalt Is Impermeable

Another common misconception is that asphalt is 100% impervious, meaning it cannot absorb water or any other liquids. In truth, while it's more resistant to penetration than many other materials, it does have some level of permeability.

The Water Issue

Water is the primary enemy of asphalt, and even a small crack or pore can lead to significant damage over time. When water gets beneath the asphalt, it can erode the foundation, soften the subgrade, and create frost heaves during cold weather. This is why it's vital to repair any cracks or potholes promptly.

Subsurface Drainage

Proper subsurface drainage is an essential component of a well-maintained pavement system. This includes regular cleaning of gutters, installation of catch basins, and ensuring that the pavement's slope encourages water run-off instead of pooling. By managing water effectively, you can preserve the integrity of the asphalt for much longer.

Asphalt Myth #4: New Asphalt Is Maintenance-Free

There's a widespread belief that once a new asphalt pavement is down, it's virtually maintenance-free for its first few years. However, this couldn't be further from the truth, and neglecting early-care maintenance can significantly shorten the pavement's lifespan.

The Importance of Curing

After new asphalt is laid, it goes through a period of curing, during which it hardens and sets. This process is essential, and any disruption, including from water penetration or heavy traffic, can lead to premature aging. During the first year, it's crucial to protect the asphalt and minimize excessive stress on the surface.

Establishing Good Habits

Early-care maintenance includes regular inspection for distress, avoiding harsh chemicals on the surface, and not allowing heavy equipment to sit in one place for too long. Good habits early on can help maintain the quality and appearance of your new asphalt pavement for years to come.



Debunking these myths about asphalt pavement is one step toward informed decision-making and effective maintenance plans. By understanding the specific attributes of asphalt, its care, and the susceptibility of its surrounding environment, you can ensure that your pavement remains as reliable and durable as it should be. Remember, knowing the facts is the first step in getting the most out of your investment in asphalt infrastructure.

For high-quality sealcoating in Park Falls, WI, The Seal Guys is your go-to source for a professional and knowledgeable service. Contact us today for a free estimate and keep your asphalt paving in top condition.

Save Money. Extend the life of your pavement.


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927 S 5th Ave, Park Falls, Wisconsin 54552

(715) 518-8802

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