What Is Asphalt Bleeding & How Is It Corrected?

Key Takeaways:

  1. Asphalt bleeding is a phenomenon that occurs when oils in the asphalt mix rise to the surface of the pavement, resulting in a dark, sticky substance.
  2. There are several reasons why asphalt bleeding occurs, including using too much asphalt binder or not compacting the pavement properly.
  3. To prevent bleeding, use an asphalt emulsion sealer, compact the pavement properly, or use a well-drained aggregate.
  4. Suppose your pavement is already showing signs of bleeding. In that case, you can clean off loose debris and apply an emulsion or hardening agent to the affected areas.

Bleed marks can be an eyesore, but they can be especially apparent on blacktop driveways. Thankfully, there are ways to fix them without replacing the entire pavement.

This guide will walk you through the steps for repairing bleed marks on the asphalt. Whether you’re a homeowner or a road contractor, this guide is for you! So, let’s get started.

What Is Asphalt Bleeding?

Asphalt bleeding is a phenomenon that occurs when oils in the asphalt mix rise to the surface of the pavement. These oils are released due to high temperatures; as the pavement heats up, the oils become less dense and are pushed to the surface. Once they reach the surface, the oils oxidize and turn black, resulting in a dark, sticky substance you see on the road.

3 Reasons Why Asphalt Bleeding Occurs

Reason #01: Too Much Binder & Warmth

Bleeding can be caused by using too much asphalt binder in combination or by not correctly compacting the pavement. It is more likely to occur in hot weather because the asphalt is more likely to soften when it’s warm. This can cause the asphalt to seep to the surface and create a glossy or oily appearance.

Avoid doing asphalt work on hot days and compact the pavement properly when it’s cooler to prevent this from happening.

Reason #02: Smoothness

If the pavement is too smooth, it can cause the asphalt to bleed. This is because there isn’t enough texture for the asphalt to grip onto.

It’s essential to use a coarse aggregate in the mix and to compact the pavement properly to prevent this problem.

Reason #03: Moisture

If there is too much moisture in the mix, it can also cause the asphalt to bleed. This is because the water can cause the asphalt to soften and seep to the surface.

Asphalt Bleeding: How to Prevent It?

1. Use Asphalt Emulsion Sealer

One way to prevent asphalt bleeding is to use an asphalt emulsion sealer. This sealer penetrates the pavement’s surface and bonds with the oils in the mix, preventing them from rising to the surface.

2. Compact the Pavement Properly

Compaction is key to preventing all sorts of asphalt problems, including bleeding. Compacting the pavement creates a denser, more rigid surface that is less likely to bleed.

3. Use a Well-Drained Aggregate

Another way to prevent bleeding is to use a well-drained aggregate in your mix. This means that the aggregate you use doesn’t absorb water easily. This makes it less likely that moisture will be drawn up through the pavement and cause bleeding.

4. Use a Pavement Material That Contains Less Oil

If your mix contains oil, it’s more likely to bleed. To prevent this, you can use a mix that has less oil. This will make your pavement less susceptible to bleeding.

How to Fix Bleeding Asphalt Pavement?

If your pavement is already showing signs of bleeding, don’t despair—you can correct it!

The first step is cleaning off any loose surface debris from the pavement.

When you clean the surface, be sure to use a pressure washer rather than a garden hose. A pressure washer will remove more debris and make it easier to clean the pavement.

A coal tar emulsion or an asphalt-based hardening agent should be applied to the affected areas.

This will help seal the asphalt and prevent further bleeding.Once the emulsion or hardening agent has been applied, you should spread a layer of fine aggregate over the area. This will help absorb any excess moisture and prevent it from reaching the pavement’s surface.

The final step is to apply a sealer to the entire pavement.

The last step is to use a sealer on the whole pavement. It will protect the asphalt from further damage and prevent water from seeping into the surface.

It is important to note that asphalt bleeding can be a complex problem. If you are not sure how to proceed, it is always best to consult with a professional contractor. They will be able to assess the situation and recommend the best course of action.

Related: 6 Irresistible Benefits of Asphalt Sealcoating.

When Is the Best Time To Seal An Asphalt Driveway?

Sealing an asphalt driveway is typically done every couple of years, but the frequency can vary depending on the climate and the amount of traffic the pavement sees.

Generally, it is best to seal a driveway before any significant cracks or damage occur. It helps prevent further deterioration and extend the pavement’s lifespan.

If you have an asphalt driveway that is already starting to show signs of bleeding, it is still possible to seal it. However, you may need to do some repair work to create a smooth surface to which the sealant can adhere. Once the repairs have been made, you can proceed with sealing the driveway as usual.


Asphalt bleeding may seem daunting at first, but it’s quite easy to fix! Following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can have it corrected easily. And don’t forget—using an asphalt emulsion sealer can help prevent bleeds from occurring in the first place.

Doctor Asphalt can help improve your parking lot appeal with our services for asphalt paving and fixing asphalt bleeding.

If your pavement requires some repair work, our professional team in Madison, WI, will work quickly to restore your parking lot to its former glory.

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