Can recycled asphalt be sealed?
Asphalt is often used for parking lots and pavement because of its durability and affordability. More importantly, is the fact that asphalt is recyclable! In fact, it is one of the most recycled materials in America, beating other typical recyclables like aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
It is common to use recycled asphalt, also called asphalt millings, as an aggregate material for asphalt repair, maintenance, and paving. In some situations, it may even improve your pavement’s quality since the millings are mixed with fillers and fibers for added resistance against cracks and rutting.
Recycled asphalt can be beneficial in many ways, but the question is, whether you can sealcoat it. Regular asphalt must be sealcoated to stay durable against external elements, but what about asphalt milling? Fortunately, the answer is yes!
What is Recycled Asphalt?
As its name suggests, recycled asphalt is a reprocessed paving material consisting of asphalt and aggregates. You might hear of this as reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) since the process involves scraping off and reclaiming old pavement to reuse in combination with regular hot mix asphalt. As a granular base or fill material or as an aggregate for cold mix asphalt.
To give you a perspective on how much asphalt is recycled, think of this: on average, over 94% of asphalt pavements are recycled for construction. In 2020, this number amounted to 97 million tons of reclaimed asphalt, far more than the number of other recycled materials.
The tricky part about using RAP is getting the mix right. In developing hot mix asphalt (HMA), the goal is to include as much RAP content as possible without compromising performance and structural integrity. As such, you need to work with contractors who understand how to use recycled asphalt for parking lot projects.
Benefits of Asphalt Pavement Recycling
Recycled asphalt or asphalt millings come with many benefits. Some of the biggest and most prominent would include:
Asphalt pavement recycling is environmentally-friendly since you are reusing old asphalt and reducing waste and overall emissions. Based on the 2020 survey conducted by NAPA and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the 97 million tons of reclaimed asphalt translated to a reduction of 2.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Additionally, the National Asphalt Pavement Association estimates that recycling asphalt pavements can save over 60 million cubic yards in landfill each year, so you can see how much they help minimize harmful environmental effects.
Asphalt millings are cheaper than new asphalt since you can skip processes like the processing and transportation of the material. It is a cost-effective choice for many paving projects.
The common assumption is that pavements made with recycled materials are not as strong or durable as those built with new materials. The truth is that recycled asphalt pavements are also durable and long-lasting as long as they are mixed. With a proper maintenance plan, you can expect them to hold up as well as regular pavement.
Bonding and Percolation
Recycled asphalt contains tar, which allows it to bond easily once it is wet and compacted. It has good percolation properties, making it suitable for areas with rainy and winter seasons. This characteristic allows water to percolate through the pavement to prevent it from flooding your parking lot.
Sealcoating Recycled Asphalt
The good news is that you can seal coat recycled asphalt, as you would with brand new asphalt. Given how much asphalt is recycled each year, it should come as no surprise if your parking lot or pavement contains some recycled material.
Sealing asphalt millings is more complicated than sealing regular asphalt, so hiring professional contractors for the task would be best. Recycled asphalt can be made with various materials, so the process may not always be as straightforward. Extra steps may be involved depending on the composition of recycled materials used.
Sealcoating is as important for recycled pavement since it keeps your lot looking fresh and protects it from harsh elements like the sun’s UV rays. Again, this is a standard procedure in asphalt maintenance, which can help your pavement last longer.
Hire Professional Contractors to Seal Your Recycled Asphalt
If you are convinced about the benefits of recycled asphalt pavements, our contractors can help you build a recycled asphalt pavement or parking lot.
ACPLM provides a range of asphalt repair, maintenance, and paving services so that you can maximize your investment. For any questions and concerns, you can call us at 888-959-9637 to reach our team. Let us know what you are looking for, and we will be happy to guide you through the process.