Tarmac is a popular driveway material in Ireland. It is also widely used in building roads and car parks. Why is it popular? It is primarily due to its affordability, as tarmac is one of the cheapest paving solutions. Moreover, since it is easy to install, professional driveway pavers charge lower labour fees for this type of driveway.
Despite its cheap cost, tarmac driveways can last many years as they are very durable. They can withstand extreme weather and heavy loads. But tarmac drives are not invincible, and if there is one thing that can significantly damage them, it is petrol, paraffin, diesel and other light oils.
What Happens to Tarmac Driveways Exposed to Oils?
Tarmacadam has tar, a sticky black liquid made from coal or petroleum. Tar is what binds the crushed stone or sand together. Similarly, bitumen, the fluid that binds asphalt, is also made from petroleum.
Since tarmac is a petrol-based product, it dissolves when exposed to oil products. Specifically, the tar disintegrates, resulting in the aggregates not having a binding agent. When the aggregates are unbound, holes easily develop and quickly become bigger.
Suffice to say, an oil spill won’t just leave a nasty stain on your driveway. It can damage your drive significantly, even if the leak involves a minimal amount of oil.
Unbeknownst to many, oil can seep and spread, degrading the tarmac it comes to contact with. It can only take a few days for the oil to ‘break down’ a 75mm-thick tarmac drive.
Spilt Petrol on Tarmac Driveways – What Should You Do?
The thing is that, no matter how careful you are, you may have to deal with problems due to spilt petrol or oil at some point in your driveway’s useful life.
Now, what should you do when spills happen?
Act on it immediately!
If you are there when the spill takes place, get a rag and mop up as much petrol as you can. It is imperative that you get on it quickly to prevent the oil from spreading and causing enormous damage.
After mopping, use a detergent mixed with warm water to break down the petrol. Spot clean the stained area using a brush. Just make sure not to apply too much pressure when brushing so the aggregate won’t loosen. When you are done applying the mixture, rinse off the area with water.
Alternatively, you can get rid of excess petrol using sawdust or a sweeping compound. You may leave the substance sitting for at least 20 minutes or even overnight. Dust the area off afterwards. Take note that you should avoid using a high-pressure hose at this point as doing so can push the petrol deeper into the driveway.
Repairing Petrol-Damaged Tarmac Driveways
In most cases, the spillage is not noticed until damage has been done. One reason is that the oil was coming from drips under the vehicle.
So, what do you do in this situation?
Waste no time in addressing the problem!
Postponing the repair work means more time for the petrol to chemically react with the material components of your driveway. This will weaken the integrity of your drive and will require more time, money, and effort to make it safe and structurally sound once again.
It is also imperative that you call a professional driveway repairs company to fix the damage. This is because repairing a drive damaged by oil can be challenging for the inexperienced. It would be best to let professionals handle this work for you. On top of their know-how and experience, pros have the tools to help them accomplish the job quickly without sacrificing quality.
But how is a petrol-damaged tarmac driveway repaired?
What is done is that the contaminated area is cut out using a power saw. This prevents the petrol from eating its way through the tarmac. It is important to remove all the contaminated material on the top surface and below it.
Once the damaged parts are removed, the hole or emptied area is filled using a commercial tarmac repair product.
The downside of this approach is that the patch is visible, which can be unsightly. However, the patch may blend with the rest of the tarmac driveway and become less noticeable over time.
It pays to remember that time is a crucial factor in addressing this kind of problem. Although professionals can handle challenging repairs, it is still more cost-effective to contact them once you notice early signs of damage.
Do you have a petrol-damaged tarmac driveway? Let us fix the damage! Call us today on (01) 4851582 | 0852139591 or leave a message here for a free quotation.