If you are having a new parking lot installed, you may be wondering how long does asphalt take to cure. It is important to understand that there is a difference between asphalt cure time, and asphalt dry time. While asphalt takes approximately one year to fully cure, you can typically walk/drive on your new parking lot within 2-3 days.
How Long Does Asphalt Take To Cure?
- As mentioned above, it can take up to a full year for asphalt to cure, but within about 30 days your asphalt is cured to a point where it can be sealed.
- In very simple terms, cured asphalt means it has fully hardened.
- As asphalt cures, it slowly changes from black to grayish. This is because the asphalt is slowly losing its oils due to sun (called oxidation).
- While this process of oxidation may sound like a bad thing, it is actually good. Excess oil in asphalt can lead to “power steering tear” which is the scraping up of portions of your new asphalt surface do to wheel rotation.
How Long Does Asphalt Take To Dry?
- Dry time, different from cure time, is typically 48-72 hours after application.
- This means after this dry time, foot and vehicle traffic is safe without damage.
- However, since it is not 100 percent cured, be extra cautious of hazardous spills and/or extremely heavy traffic load.
Applying Asphalt Sealer To A New Parking Lot –
- Asphalt sealer cannot be applied to your newly installed asphalt parking lot immediately.
- If applied too soon after installation, you can halt the oxidation process. It will lead to retaining too much oil in your asphalt.
- Typically, for a commercial lot, it is recommended to wait at least 30 days before sealcoating your new parking lot.
- If you wait too long to seal your lot, or you decide to avoid sealing all together, this can lead to the asphalt losing too much of its oil, leading to premature cracking and deterioration.
- CLICK HERE to learn more about how long it takes for sealer to dry.
Whether Impacts On Asphalt Dry Time –
- Humidity: Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. Naturally, the more moisture present in the air, the less absorbent the air is, leading to a slower dry time for your asphalt. If the humidity is above 90%, sealer or paint should not be applied due to saturation of the air.
- Temperature: Temperature refers to both ambient and surface temperatures. Ambient refers to the temperature of the air, while surface is the temperature of the application surface itself. The higher the temperature the faster evaporation, and thus dry time. However, if the temperature is too high, this can lead to hyper evaporation that can cause application problems.
- Sunlight: As you can probably imagine, sunlight plays a big role in the quickness of dry time. Sunlight both creates and renews heat. So a day with less sunlight means less renewal of heat, resulting in a slower dry time.
- Wind: If there is no airflow, there can be a high percentage of moisture right on the surface. But, if a breeze is involved, even as slow at 3-5 MPH, these water molecules are blown away. This leads to less saturated air right above the surface, enhancing the evaporation process and quickening dry time.
When it comes to properly understanding the answer to the question, how long does asphalt take to cure, you first need to understand the difference between asphalt cure time, and asphalt dry time. Cure time refers to molecules fusing together and oxidation process, whereas, asphalt dry time refers to when your new asphalt can endure foot and vehicle traffic again without damage. Ensuring that you take the right steps towards protecting your new asphalt after application is huge in determining its lifespan and speed of wear.
If your parking lot is in need of new asphalt, or asphalt repairs, contact EastCoat Pavement Services today for your free asphalt consultation!