Weather isn’t always kind to asphalt pavement.
Although asphalt is fairly durable overall, it is not immune to the effects of Mother Nature. The truth is that fluctuating temperatures and precipitation can be problematic for the long-term health of your pavement, and neglecting these issues will only cause your pavement to break down prematurely.
With that said, one of the best remedies is awareness. The more you know about the issues that may threaten your pavement, the more equipped you’ll be to take swift action when they arise.
Here are five weather-related factors to keep in mind as you manage and maintain your asphalt pavement!
Low temperatures cause asphalt to contract. Because of this, the asphalt will weaken and lose some of its initial stability over time.
Of course, a professional asphalt paving contractor — like Danny’s Asphalt Paving — will be able to engineer a hot-mix asphalt product that is best suited for your property and typical weather conditions.
While low temperatures cause asphalt pavement to contract, high temperatures have the opposite effect — causing your pavement to expand. This seasonal cycle of contracting and expanding causes pavement to weaken, buckle, crack, and eventually break apart.
What’s more, the harsh ultraviolet rays of a sunny West Texas day can accelerate the oxidation process. As a result, asphalt starts to become brittle and fragile.
Rain is one of the biggest culprits of pavement damage. A well-paved asphalt surface will include proper drainage so that water simply runs off after rainfall. A poorly paved surface, on the other hand, will cause water to pool in certain areas where drainage is lacking.
When water — particularly standing water — seeps into the cracks of your pavement, it can disrupt the foundation, cause instability, and limit the lifespan of your asphalt.
While snow is somewhat of a novelty here in West Texas, a rare appearance can cause damage to your asphalt pavement. While snow itself is relatively harmless, it becomes a problem once it melts and seeps into the cracks of your pavement.
The greatest threat to your pavement, however, comes by way of shovels, snow plows, and de-icing products. Bladed tools scrape at your asphalt’s protective coating, while the harmful chemicals in a commercial-grade de-icing product will eat away at the pavement.
If you must use a de-icing product, opt for a more natural ice melt — such as sodium chloride, calcium chloride, or magnesium chloride.
5. Thawing and Refreezing
When snow and ice thaw during a warmer day, there is always the risk of refreezing once temperatures drop again. As the water refreezes below the surface of your pavement, it causes asphalt to expand and crack — much like it does when temperatures fluctuate year-round.
When this occurs, you’ll be able to spot small cracks in your pavement — cracks that will eventually turn into larger cracks, and eventually, potholes if you neglect them.
Do you need help maintaining, repairing, and protecting your West Texas asphalt pavement? Get in touch with the experts at Danny’s Asphalt Paving today to receive a free estimate for your next job!