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 ...On Your Asphalt Pavement
Three Stages of Deterioration
Asphalt deteriorates in stages, slowly at first then more rapidly as the elements attack the pavement composition.
Stage I The surface color fades to gray as a result of oxidation. Surface oils begin to evaporate.
Stage II Fine line cracking occurs along with loss of "fines" (minute crushed material); the surface becomes increasingly brittle.
Stage III Deterioration accelerates with extended cracking, increased brittleness, increased viscosity, and reduced flexibility. Foreign matter (oil, water, fuel spills, salt, etc.) penetrates through cracks, further hastening the deterioration from below the surface.
Once Stage III is reached, the only practical solution is a very costly and time-consuming overlay.
The time to arrest the aging process is during Stages I and II.
The graph above illustrates the need for routine maintenance to avoid accelerated surface degeneration after the first six years of use. Every year that surface maintenance is withheld increases the cost of major repairs.
You do not want to overlay. 
Overlay is when the asphalt has deteriorated to such an extent that new asphalt must be placed over the old asphalt.
To prevent having to overlay, you do want to seal coat every 2-3 years by 
a qualified contractor. 
Seal coating is the method of protecting your asphalt pavement by applying a coating to the pavement surface.
This will ensure that your asphalt will last. 
Asphalt concrete contains aggregate (stones), asphalt (often referred to as tar), and a variety of additives designed to make it last longer.