How Oils and Fuel Hurt Your Asphalt

Science states that we form our first impressions in as little as one-tenth of a second. In a business sense, creating the best possible first impression certainly impacts the likelihood of sales down the line – your parking lot is the most likely place for that to happen.

Yet, while any business understands the need for fantastic commercial exteriors, surprisingly few give their parking lots the time and TLC necessary to create that same wow factor. Given that everything from heavy use through to fuel leakages can leave your asphalt parking lot looking a little worse-for-wear, this mistake could see you losing sales before you even get to try out your winning handshake.

To make sure that doesn’t happen, parking lot repair and maintenance should always be a priority and, often, that starts with understanding the most significant risks that asphalt faces. These often vary depending on the usage and positioning of your parking lot, but one thing that all business owners can be certain of is the fact that fuel and oil leakages are inevitable. The question is – how exactly do fuel and oil harm your asphalt, and what can you do to get your parking lot looking its best again?

How fuel and oil hurt your asphalt

At this stage, you might be wondering what the big deal is – asphalt’s indestructible, right? And, anyway, isn’t some level of fuel exposure to be expected? Yes, and yes, but excessive exposure over time, or significant spills in one hit, can cause significant damage to the appearance of asphalt.

For proof of this, consider all those potholes that you cuss on your way into work each day. Have you ever asked yourself how they came to be? Admittedly, larger potholes are often a result of water exposure and expansion, but there’s another hidden cause for the erosion of asphalt, and it comes in the form of fuel and oil.

To explain a little further, it’s important to understand the composition of these chemicals. Asphalt itself is created using an aggregate that’s mixed with heavy oil or bitumen, two hydrocarbons that help to hold your asphalt together. This oil base means that, actually, the composition of fuel and asphalt isn’t all that dissimilar, and the two therefore react in unexpected ways. Specifically, spilled fuel seeps into asphalt, destroying its integrity, and potentially eroding as much as three inches in just 48 hours.

What can you do?

  • Take preventative measures
    Prevention is always best in this instance, and professional asphalt sealcoating from a company like B&E Coating Services is the best option here. By offering a base layer of protection, this precautionary step can help to omit erosion from fuel, oil, weather damage, and much more. Ideally, sealcoating should occur as little as 12 months after the installation, and should be topped up every two or three years depending on usage and traffic.
  • Always act fast
    Whether you’ve invested in sealcoating or not, acting fast as soon as you spot fuel or oil on your asphalt is key. To get rid of oil stains, you should ideally invest in a long-handled push broom and a hose. Applying soapy water to the area of the spill can create an emulsion that should lift the oil immediately when you begin scrubbing. You should then be able to remove the worst of the damage with a quick rinse of the hose.
  • Seek professional asphalt repair
    Business can be busy and, sometimes, your parking lot will pay the price of neglect in potholes and erosion. If this is the case, then asphalt repair from our expert team here at B&E Coating Services is essential for upholding professional appearances. Repair and patching, in particular, will ensure those potholes are covered without requiring an entire asphalt refit and involve a simple process that includes –

    • Sawcutting around the perimeter of the pothole
    • Removing the entire section
    • Applying a tack coat
    • Applying hot mixed asphalt

    The repaired section is then leveled with the rest of the parking lot for a natural finish, and sealcoating should be applied around 12 months after this installation for a longer lifespan guaranteed.

B&E Coating Services LLC., have earned a reputation built on workmanship in and around the Michigan Area. With extensive experience in a wide range of asphalt applications including commercial and residential requirements, we are the go-to company for asphalt installation and maintenance. Contact us today at (989) 352-7305 or request a Free Estimate.