Asphalt is a widely used construction material around the world for building roads, parking lots, and driveways. When first applied, it is flexible and adhesive, but it eventually hardens and becomes firm over time.
In order for asphalt to be able to withstand the weight and pressure of vehicles and heavy loads, it is crucial to go through the curing process. Learn more as we will explore the process of asphalt curing and answer the question, “how long asphalt take to cure?” in today’s post.
What Is Asphalt
Asphalt is made by combining rocks, sand, and aggregates with asphalt cement, a binding liquid that comes from crude oil. The mixture is heated to a high temperature of around 320°F (160°C) before being spread over the surface. Once it cools down, the asphalt hardens and creates a sturdy and even surface that lasts long.
The Process Of Curing Asphalt
After the application of asphalt, it starts to cure through a series of chemical reactions that ultimately convert the liquid mix into a solid, strong surface. The curing process is determined by factors such as temperature, humidity, and asphalt layer thickness.
The temperature has a significant impact on the curing of asphalt. The ideal temperature range for asphalt to cure effectively is between 70°F (21°C) and 90°F (32°C). When the temperature drops below 70°F (21°C), it will take longer for the asphalt to harden. If the temperature exceeds 90°F (32°C), the curing process may occur too quickly and lead to cracks and flaws in the asphalt.
Humidity can also affect the curing of asphalt. If the air is too dry, it can cause cracking and defects because the asphalt won’t cure properly. On the other hand, if the air is too humid, it can slow down the curing process and make it take longer.
Moreover, the time it takes for asphalt to cure depends on the thickness of the layer. Thicker layers take longer to cool down because they retain more heat; consequently, thinner layers of asphalt cure more quickly than thicker ones.
How Long Does Asphalt Take To Cure
Typically, it takes about 24 to 48 hours for the asphalt to cure. Nevertheless, it can take several weeks for the asphalt to reach its maximum durability and completely harden. If the temperatures are not ideal, curing can take even longer. To ensure that asphalt is properly cured and fully hardened, it’s important to wait for at least 72 hours before driving on it or using any heavy machinery.
Tips For Curing Asphalt
Here are some tips and best practices to follow during the application and curing process of asphalt to ensure proper curing:
- For best results, apply asphalt when the temperature is between 70°F (21°C) and 90°F (32°C), and the weather conditions are favorable. Applying asphalt during extremely hot or cold weather is not recommended.
- After applying asphalt, it is crucial to wait 24-48 hours before using the surface. Though one might be tempted to use it immediately, allowing time for cooling and hardening is essential.
- It is essential to avoid the asphalt during the curing process, especially when there is heavy traffic, in order to avoid cracks and surface defects.
- Using additives can help speed up the curing process, which is useful when time is of the essence.
How A Professional Can Help You Determine The Correct Curing Time For Asphalt
The most reliable way to determine the appropriate curing time for your asphalt project is to seek advice from an experienced contractor. They will take into account various factors such as temperature, humidity, and asphalt thickness. Additionally, they can suggest additives that may hasten the curing process and recommend ways to safeguard the surface from harm due to heavy traffic or other causes.
Contact Trenton Paving in Belleville, ON for your paving needs as they specialize in asphalt paving, sealing, and repairs for residential and commercial applications. Their experienced professionals can provide you with the best advice to ensure that your project is completed properly and within the prescribed time frame.
Contact them today to receive additional information about their paving services.
To summarize, it is important to understand that asphalt needs time to cure and this process can be affected by factors such as temperature, humidity, and thickness. Typically, complete curing of asphalt takes between 24 and hours; however, for thicker, it could take several weeks them to fully harden and maximum durability.
And for proper curing of asphalt, it is important to adhere to best practices during application and curing. It may also be helpful to seek guidance from an experienced professional to determine the appropriate curing time for your asphalt project.