There are many available options for maintaining and preserving asphalt in today's paving world. The wealth of available options makes it increasingly easy to get the most life and function possible from your asphalt paving. Yet, it also makes it more difficult for property owners to decide which option is best for protecting their pavement. Our experts on fog seal in Brownwood, TX, are here to help you learn about one of the more effective ways to maintain your pavement: fog seals.
A fog seal consists of a diluted version of asphalt, an asphalt emulsion. This asphalt emulsion comprises two main ingredients: water and asphalt. Combining these materials successfully requires an additional component called either an emulsifying agent or a surfactant. The surfactant allows the water and asphalt to remain together in a suspension. Without this emulsifying agent, the two main ingredients would separate, similar to water and oil. You can add additional ingredients called rejuvenators to the fog seal mixture in many cases. Rejuvenators are used to soften the existing asphalt binder, helping the fog seal bond better with the pavement surface.
A fog seal is a perfect choice for adding another layer of protection to an existing asphalt surface. The seal does not repair paving with more severe issues, like paving that has suffered more than minor aggregate loss. A fog seal is also not a good option for treating structural problems like cracks and potholes. Instead, these types of damages require appropriate repairs like crack sealing. A fog seal is a rejuvenation procedure designed to offset the oxidation process of asphalt pavement over time. The oxidation process causes the binder in the asphalt pavement to grow brittle and weaken. Eventually, the aggregate will begin loosening from the pavement. A fog seal will prevent this problem by adding extra asphalt to the paved surface. Fog seals also assist with filling in minute spaces that develop between particles of aggregate as the asphalt binder wears away from age. A fog seal ensures that the pavement remains smooth and increases its ability to resist potential water damage by reducing the amount of water pooling on the pavement's surface.
Not all fog seals are created equally. They vary mainly according to the dilution ratio or the relationship between the amount of asphalt and water. There are many factors to consider when determining the best emulsion for a given project, including the size of aggregate used in the pavement, general climate conditions, and traffic patterns. A fog coat needs to be diluted enough to easily flow into gaps between aggregate particles to do its job successfully. The water will later evaporate and leave behind asphalt that will assist with binding the aggregate together more robustly. A fog seal that is too thick will remain on top of the aggregate and lead to two potential problems. First, the fog seal will have much more friction exposure, which will quickly wear away and leave the aggregate exposed again. Second, an overly thick fog seal that remains on the surface will decrease the traction of the pavement. This can be particularly dangerous on busy roadways, as cars are more likely to lose control or skid with such a loss of traction.