The maintenance of asphalt pavements is crucial to the health of cars, their tires, and the ground itself. Preventative maintenance is a great way to ensure a long life for the pavement. As a result, asphalt preventive maintenance has built traction over the years.
Many organizations have started preventive pavement maintenance rather than corrective or emergency maintenance. In the long run, it has proven to be a more cost-effective method of maintaining existing pavements.
In this article, we’ll go over the asphalt preventive maintenance checklist template and the ways it can help with pavement management.
What Exactly is Asphalt Preventive Maintenance?
More than 90% of the parking lots in the United States are made with asphalt. It’s also used in roads, highways, and several other pathway construction projects. However, despite its popularity, asphalt is extremely susceptible to weather changes and deteriorates over time, especially with high traffic volume.
Asphalt preventive maintenance is an alternative to corrective maintenance and emergency maintenance. The latter is a reactive maintenance approach where you start asphalt pavement maintenance after an issue occurs. Asphalt preventive maintenance is a proactive maintenance approach where you take advance actions to ensure pavement preservation and longer service life.
A preventive maintenance program includes a complete maintenance strategy with a mix of predictive maintenance and proactive maintenance activities.
Predictive maintenance means predicting potential issues before they occur. For example, if you know it’s going to rain, you prepare for pavement surface treatments, patching, and painting in advance.
Other PM tasks can include maintaining pavement structure to avoid small cracks, preventive maintenance treatments for microsurfacing, and using bituminous asphalt concrete (or asphalt cement) for better quality.
While typical equipment maintenance is relatively simple, asphalt preventive maintenance requires multiple experts. You will need maintenance experts, asphalt experts, concrete experts, and more, to develop your asphalt preventive maintenance program.
In any case, asphalt preventive maintenance helps keep the pavement condition in excellent condition for a longer time.
The Complete Asphalt Preventive Maintenance Checklist Template
Asphalt maintenance can be complicated and requires a rigorous process to be done right. The asphalt preventive maintenance checklist template below is the most basic checklist you can use. It’s best to tweak it a bit to use it according to your needs.
The point of the checklist is to make sure you don’t miss out on any maintenance procedure. The primary reason for bad pavement conditions and pavement distress is a lack of proper maintenance. Therefore, it’s essential to break down each preventive maintenance aspect into a checklist.
The following things should always be considered when using an asphalt preventive maintenance checklist. You can add or improve upon the template to reduce maintenance costs and develop a better pavement system.
Sweeping the Premises
The first item on the checklist should always be sweeping. You should never let your asphalt pavement be because it’s imperative to keep it clean for various reasons, such as:
- Improve the overall appearance of the pavement.
- Keeping it free of any trash or debris, especially nails, small rocks, and other protruding materials.
- Increase the safety of using it for various vehicles and pedestrians.
- Extend the total lifespan of the pavement while keeping it in good condition.
A lot of things can go wrong due to debris accumulation, especially in the long term. For example, debris can lead to standing water, and that can lead to damage to the asphalt surface. If the water stays for longer periods of time, it can eventually break and penetrate the sub-base. At this point, the pavement foundation begins to soften, creating mini sinkholes that lead to cracks, eventually turning into potholes.
Furthermore, sweeping provides a great opportunity for a visual inspection. General maintenance workers can check for any cracks, potholes, or other issues during their sweeping routines.
If the pavement is near grass patches, make sure you cut out any weeds growing out. Out of control, weed can lead to issues in the long run.
Rutting and Raveling
Another visual inspection you can do is to look for rutting. Rutting is a permanent deformation of the asphalt pavement surface over time. For example, wheel paths engraved in the pavement are a primary sign of rutting.
Raveling is the deterioration of the asphalt pavement due to the loss of asphalt or rocks. Usually, this leads to rock, sand, and debris on the pavement surface and in the gutters. This is the primary sign of pavement erosion and should be dealt with immediately.
Asphalt sealcoating is used to fix the asphalt surface by sealing any voids or small cracks. The liquid product used to seal coat isn’t similar to asphalt binder; the sealer is only used for crack sealing and not filling.
The crack seal procedure protects your asphalt paving from various weather elements. If you do not seal the small cracks in time, water and air may pass through them, leading to asphalt oxidation and hardening. If that happens, it can lead to larger cracks that require crack filling procedures.
Usually, organizations use the services of professional repair companies to maintain their concrete pavement. In any case, there are two primary types of sealcoating materials you can use.
- Coal Tar Sealers – are usually affordable but require more product management when applying it.
- Asphalt Emulsion Coatings – are the most commonly used sealers used to avoid chemical and fuel spills on the pavement. They’re usually easier to apply and release less volatile organic compounds in the process.
Furthermore, there are several types of seals used in different cases, such as:
- Chip Seal – is an asphalt pavement surface treatment that uses hot mix asphalt with one or more layers of fine aggregate.
- Fog Seal – is a simple application of a diluted and slow-setting asphalt emulsion on the surface of oxidized pavement surfaces.
- Slurry Seal – is a mix of water, aggregate, asphalt emulsion, and additives.
There are several other types of seals used; however, they’re usually subgrades of the seals listed above. In any case, sealcoating allows you to:
- Prevent pavement oxidation and hardening.
- Get a uniform and equal look on your pavement.
- Protect against sales, chemicals, and moisture.
Sealcoating is a cost-effective way of prolonging the lifespan of your asphalt pavement.
Cracks filling is usually reserved for larger cracks that can let water in and lead to severe damage. As part of your asphalt preventive maintenance program, it’s crucial to take care of cracks as soon as they’re found.
The crack filling procedure usually depends on the sizes of the cracks. Small cracks are sealed using sealcoating, but larger cracks require crack filler.
The different types of cracks you should keep an eye out for include the following.
- Alligator Cracks – are cracks that resemble chicken wire or alligator skin and are caused by repeated traffic loadings.
- Cracks Due to Shrinkage – are caused due to temperature variations that can expand and contract the pavement, leading to stress and cracking. The problem tends to exacerbate with time.
- Reflective Cracks – occur when the pavement overlay was done in unsecured conditions, leading to openings of the joints. It’s different from a flexible pavement as reflective cracks can allow water to get to the aggregate causing premature damage to the pavement.
- Edge Cracks – occur due to poor shoulder support, frost action, or inadequate drainage. Edge cracks always begin as small hairline cracks that can be sealcoated. However, if they’re ignored, they can develop over time, leading to inch-wide cracks in some places.
It’s always advisable to use a sealer after using a crack filler for proper and complete protection of the asphalt pavement.
Potholes can appear in various pavement sections when water permeates through the cracks. Under the surface, a mixture of water, air, and moisture leads to the softening of the soil and creates a depression.
The depression tends to hold water, and over time, the water breaks the asphalt into small particles, sand, stones, and gravel. At one point, the entire area deepens, becoming a pothole.
The life cycle cost for pothole repairs can be reduced through asphalt preventive maintenance. However, it should still be a part of your checklist, in case there are older potholes on the pavement.
Other Checklist Items
While the items listed above are the general asphalt preventive maintenance checklist items, there can be other things in your checklist. The following items can be ticked off through a simple visual inspection.
- Color: Check the color of the asphalt pavement to see if it’s in good condition. The right color should be a dull, light grey color.
- Loose Rocks: Look out for any loose rocks or sand throughout the asphalt pavement. They are a sign of small cracks and asphalt erosion.
- Faded Pavement Markings: Pavement markings help drivers and pedestrians navigate better and ensure there isn’t any unnecessary stress on the pavement. You should check whether the pavement markings are visible in all conditions.
- Tripping Hazards: Check for any tripping hazards for pedestrians, including parking stall stops, concrete curbs, bollards, or gutters, among other things.
All of the items listed above can be a great precursor to your maintenance procedures.
Preparing an Asphalt Preventive Maintenance Checklist
Preparing a preventive maintenance checklist isn’t complicated; you just need to understand each preventive step you need to take. Developing an asphalt preventive maintenance checklist requires you to have complete knowledge of all asphalt maintenance procedures, hazards, and methods.
Your asphalt preventive maintenance plan will always be a cost-effective alternative to corrective or emergency maintenance and will ensure the longevity of your asphalt pavements.
Make sure you develop your asphalt preventive maintenance checklist according to your needs; for example, whether you need to maintain a parking lot, roads, or highways.