How Long Does It Take Asphalt to Dry & Cure? (Explained)

If you are planning for a new asphalt installation or already have one. you must be wondering how long it takes for freshly laid asphalt to dry and become ready for use. 

In this blog, we will explore asphalt drying time & the various factors that impact bitumen drying time.

How Long Does It Take Asphalt to Dry?

Asphalt, a popular paving material used for roads, driveways, and parking lots, is known for its durability, quality, and resilience.

When you’ve just had a fresh asphalt parking lot installed, it’s crucial to allow it some time to dry properly. In general, it takes approximately 50 to 80 hours before it’s safe for both walking and vehicle traffic. This patience ensures a durable and reliable surface for your parking needs.

how long does it take asphalt to dry

How Long Does it Take for Asphalt Take To Cure? 

Asphalt curing is different from drying. When we talk about dried asphalt, we mean it’s become hard enough to use, but cured asphalt is when it’s entirely hardened.

Curing refers to the chemical process where molecules bond together to form the final product. This curing process can span up to 1 year. When freshly asphalt is laid it contains excess oil that gradually oxidizes over time, giving it a gray appearance. Properly maintained, cured asphalt can be long-lasting and durable.

How Does Weather Impact Drying Time?

The weather can affect blacktop drying time and sometimes it can take even longer under certain weather conditions. Here are some factors:

Humidity: When it’s very humid, like on a rainy day, the asphalt takes longer to dry because there’s already a lot of moisture in the air. High humidity slows down the drying process because it makes it harder for the moisture in the asphalt to evaporate into the already moist air.

Temperature: The warmer it is, the quicker the asphalt will dry. On a hot summer day, it dries faster. but when it’s cold, like during winter, the asphalt takes longer to dry. Cold temperatures slow down the drying process. So, if you’re paving your driveway, choosing a warm, sunny day will help your asphalt dry faster.

Sunlight: Sunshine is like a helper for asphalt. When the sun is out, it warms up the asphalt and helps it dry faster. The sun’s heat makes the moisture in the asphalt evaporate, turning it solid and ready for use. 

Wind: A gentle breeze can help speed up drying by blowing away the moist air around the asphalt. When the wind is strong, it can help the asphalt dry even faster by whisking away moisture from the surface.

Surface Composition and Texture: A smooth surface dries faster than a bumpy one. So, the texture of the asphalt can influence drying time.

When Should You Seal Your New Asphalt Parking Lot?

Sealing your asphalt parking lot can extend its lifespan. However, a fresh blacktop needs time to cure before it can be sealed. Typically, you can apply a sealer around 25 days after the asphalt is laid, but this timeline may vary depending on the asphalt’s condition. The asphalt must undergo some oxidation before the seal coat can be effectively applied.

When to seal coat a new driveway. How long before sealcoating new pavement?

Precautions to Take While the Driveway Is Curing

While asphalt can be used when dry, it still requires maintenance as it cures. 

  • Foot or vehicle traffic should be avoided on the newly laid asphalt surface until it has fully cured. Walking or driving on the asphalt too early can leave imprints and damage the surface while it is still soft. 
  • Sharp or heavy objects should also be avoided on asphalt until it is completely cured. 
  • Additionally, it is important to make sure that your parking lot drains well. This means that the asphalt should be sloped so that water can flow away from it, and there should be gutters and catch basins to collect the water.
  • It is important to keep asphalt clean to ensure its proper curing. Regularly sweeping away debris, leaves, and dirt will help to prevent these materials from trapping moisture and inhibiting the curing process.

When is the Best Time to Install Asphalt Pavement?

The best time to install asphalt depends on the weather conditions. But most parking lots are installed in late spring because the weather is usually warm and dry enough for the asphalt to cure properly. However, new technologies are being developed that may make it possible to install asphalt in other weather conditions.

5 Signs of a Fully Cured Asphalt Driveway

It is important to know when your blacktop driveway is cured. Here are 5 signs that will tell you that your driveway is completely cured:

  1. Color change from black to gray
  2. Less sticky
  3. No smudging
  4. Resistant to light pressure
  5. Stronger surface

If you see any of these signs, it means your driveway is ready to be used. However, it is still important to avoid driving heavy vehicles for a few more days to allow it to fully cure.


In conclusion, the time it takes for asphalt to dry depends on various factors such as temperature, traffic load, and weather conditions. So proper planning and consideration of these factors can help ensure your asphalt project is a success. 

Can I Drive on New Asphalt Immediately?

No, it is not recommended to drive on new asphalt immediately. The asphalt needs time to harden and cure properly, and driving on it too soon can damage the surface. It is best to wait at least 24 hours before driving on new asphalt, and longer if possible.

How long does it take for asphalt to harden?

Asphalt undergoes a gradual hardening process, reaching full strength within 6-12 months. However, it can be driven on after 3 days, allowing light traffic.

How long does asphalt need to dry before rain?

To ensure proper drying before exposure to rain, asphalt requires at least 24 hours. However, extending the drying period is advisable for optimal results.

Does asphalt harden fast?

Unlike other materials like concrete, asphalt exhibits a slower hardening process, requiring several months to reach full strength.

Does asphalt dry faster than concrete?

Asphalt’s drying process is slower than concrete. Concrete typically dries within 24-48 hours, while asphalt may take up to several days.

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