Untreated oil stains will deteriorate your asphalt pavement. Your pavement is made up of sand and aggregates which are held together by a binder called asphalt pavement. Oil will dissolve the binder, causing raveling to occur. In cases where the oil stain has been untreated for a while, the top of your asphalt pavement may become soft.
It's always best to treat oil stains as soon as possible. The longer the stain is left on top your pavement, the more it will become saturated into the asphalt, causing the pavement to deteriorate quickly.
Below are two do-it-yourself ways to remove fresh oil stain. Remember to thoroughly clear the area of any debris (leaves, grass cuttings, loose dirt, etc.)and rinse off the stained area with a garden hose before trying one of the methods below.
1) Cat litter
Mop up as much excess oil as possible and then lay down a layer of cat litter. Stomp/pat down to make sure the cat litter gets into the pavement and absorbs the oil. Leave overnight. The next day, just sweep it up and hose down the surface with water.
Wipe up excess oil and pour a couple of cans of Coke on the stain. Leave overnight and wash off the area the next morning.
Keep in mind that both of the above tasks are best meant to deal with fresh oil stains. If your oil stains have been left untreated for a while, consider the next two options:
3) Oil Stain Remover
The Ultra-Oil Stain Remover is an easy-to-use product that removes stains caused by oil, grease, hydraulic fluid, and other oil-based materials. After scraping off build up and cleaning the area, apply the oil stain remover to the stained area. Let the product dry to powder form (usually about 5-8 hours) and then sweep up the area.
4) Replace damaged asphalt
In areas where the oil is so saturated into the pavement, the best course of action may be to replace the damaged area. This involves heating the area to soften it and then scraping off the saturated layer of asphalt and replacing with new asphalt.
Bonus: seal coating
Sometimes the best course of action is to prevent something from happening in the first place. You can prevent oil stains by seal coating your asphalt. A sealcoat is a sealer for your asphalt that protects it from oil stains, oxidation, UV radiation, and water penetration.
The purpose of a sealcoat is to maintain the current condition of your asphalt pavement. If you're pavement is in good condition, then a sealcoat will keep it in good condition.
If you have oil stains on your pavement that are not too saturated, then you could remove the stains and then sealcoat your asphalt to prevent further damage.
You have options as to how you treat oil stains. The important part is that you take action as soon as possible. The longer you allow oil stains to become saturated into your pavement, the more your pavement will deteriorate, and the more costly it is to correct.
Having an estimator take a look at your asphalt will help you determine your best course of action. GP Maintenance Solutions offers free site visits for Hawaii properties that need help maintaining their asphalt pavement.
Travis is the Marketing Coordinator for GP Roadway Solutions and its divisions GP Maintenance Solutions, Peterson Sign Company, and Unistrut Hawaii. Connect with Travis on LinkedIn.