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How do you handle oil stains on asphalt?

How do you handle oil stains on parking lots?Oil-stained asphalt can look older than its age, and stains detract from the pavement’s appearance. However, you might not realize that oil and other chemicals cause asphalt to decay at an accelerated rate and can lead to major cracks and potholes. There is a myth that asphalt treated with sealant is impervious to the damages caused by oil stains, but this is definitely a myth. Oil will eat through sealcoating whether the sealant is above or below the stain.  LDC Paving, the premier Houston asphalt paving contractor, is here to give you some advice on how to handle this.

Asphalt contractors have access to various cleansers and equipment that they can use to attack oil stains. Many of these are too expensive or require too much training for novices to use. However, this does not mean that you cannot handle oil stains on your own, using items that you can easily find at the local hardware or department store.

1. Never use a cleanser that contains solvents. Some products that are advertised as driveway cleaners are actually laden with solvents, so always check the ingredients.
2. The dish soap used to hand-wash dishes can be used on asphalt. Products such as Simple Green are also “asphalt safe.”
3. Add cleanser to a bucket of warm water to make a soapy solution and stir it well.
4. Apply the cleaning solution liberally to the stain.
5. Wait a few minutes, but do not let the solution dry.
6. Scrub the stain with a brush that has stiff bristles. Do not use a wire brush on asphalt.
7. While scrubbing, if you notice that the brush is removing gravel or pieces of asphalt, stop scrubbing. The asphalt has been softened and damaged, and you may need to replace the area. Call an asphalt professional to assess the damages and advise you on what your next step should be.
8. Assuming that the asphalt has not been damaged, scrub the stain until you feel you have removed the stain. You might not be able to completely eliminate every trace of the stain, and it may take more than one round of scrubbing. The important thing is to remove the oil before it can eat into the asphalt.
9. Rinse the scrubbed area well, especially if you plan to apply a sealant.
10. After the area has dried, check it for damages. If it has softened, call a professional to see whether the area can be repaired or will require replacement. Do not proceed with a sealant until this issue has been resolved.

If you need help with your asphalt pavement, LDC Paving is ready to assist you with all your asphalt needs. We are a full-service asphalt paving company serving clients in the Houston area and beyond. We can install, repair and maintain your parking lot, whether you need parking lot striping, asphalt sealcoating or resurfacing. Contact us through our website by submitted the online form, ask for a free quote, or call us at 832-640-7296.

We are the “parking lot maintenance experts” in Houston – call LDC Paving! Learn more about asphalt sealcoating on our service page.


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We are now certified with the City of Houston for asphalt paving, concrete, asphalt & concrete repair, sealcoating, bollard post installation, striping, and crack seal. We are also registered with the City as MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) and a SBE (Small Business Enterprise)