Although 94 percent of paved roads in the US are covered in asphalt, it has many other uses beyond providing durable and reliable protection for highways and parking lots.1 In fact, many people don’t realize the versatile material offers such a wide variety of surprising and strange potential uses – including some around the home. Here are just a handful of surprising uses for asphalt you may not know about.
Unfortunately, buildings made of brick or cinderblock are makeshift canvases for graffiti vandals. When a graffiti artist does spray paint a wall, their work is difficult to remove, and the process often requires stripping agents or other heavy chemicals which can damage the building materials. An easy way to minimize the effect a graffiti artist can have on your building is to coat the exterior in black, asphalt-based paint. It won’t stop a vandal from tagging the wall, but if they do, you can quickly cover it up with an additional layer of virtually unnoticeable asphalt paint.
Protecting Trees and Wood
Liquid asphalt can serve as a bandage for trees with open wounds due to limb removal, insect infestation or any other kind of damage. Simply seal the wound with a coat of liquid asphalt and it will be less vulnerable to additional damage like bacteria or rot. Even wooden structures, such as patios, decks or wooden fences, can be protected from the elements and the effects of old age with a coat of asphalt sealant.
Interestingly, asphalt can either protect against artistic expression or encourage it. For example, bitumen, the primary binding agent in asphalt cement, is a known paint additive that enriches dark tones and adds texture. Bitumen-style painting was popular in the 19th century, though it’s still used today – Lucas Seaward is a well-known Canadian artist who uses bitumen almost exclusively in his oil paintings.
Reducing Driving Noise
Not only do automobiles drive on asphalt, but they’re also manufactured with asphalt components. Most notably, liquid-applied sound deadeners (LASDs) are applied to various parts of a car’s body to minimize vibrations and noise resonance through sheet metal when driving over rough surfaces. Bitumen-based LASDs can be applied to trunk exteriors, floor pans, dash panels and other areas on cars prone to vibration and high levels of noise. The application method varies from melting asphalt pads to certain areas of the car to spraying on liquid coating.
The Model T
Henry Ford’s Model T, which was famously mass-produced from 1908 to 1927, relied heavily on asphalt-based automotive construction because it was durable and fast drying. Those two features were key in keeping the manufacturing process fast and the final product inexpensive. Ford’s Model Ts came standard in “Japan Black” for many years, a color achieved by using high amounts of liquid asphalt. The automobile industry moved away from bitumen- and asphalt-based paints in the 1920s after nitrocellulose lacquers were developed, but Japan Black coating is still used on some iron and steel products due to its durability and inexpensive cost.
One of asphalt’s key characteristics is its strong resistance to moisture. This comes in handy when building owners need to protect against leaks and drafts. For example, coating your basement in asphalt-based paint can help fight off small leaks and prevent ground moisture from damaging your home. Rubber asphalt is a commonly used adhesive product for sealing drafty windows and doors from the harsh elements.
Do You Need Asphalt Paving Service in the Puget Sound Area?
While asphalt has some interesting uses, both modern and historical, it’s most common use is still providing smooth and durable driveways, roads and walkways. If your home or business has an unsightly pothole, uneven pavement or simply needs a routine once-over, it’s recommended you work with experienced industrial and residential pavers to get the job done right.
Lakeridge Paving Co. has been providing quality commercial and residential paving and asphalt services to the Puget Sound area since 1968. For more information about our paving services, call 888-403-8290 or contact us online to request a quote!