In the winter months, it seems like the same thing each week: freeze, thaw and repeat. As the temperature fluctuates outside, have you ever wondered what that means for your asphalt pavement? Many external forces, including the weather, can affect asphalt; here are a few things to consider.
ASPHALT IN COLD WEATHER
Very cold, low temperatures can cause asphalt to contract and crack, weakening the asphalt and reducing the life expectancy of the surface. A professionally installed asphalt pavement surface, however, should be designed to meet the unique needs of your geographic location. To combat cold winter months in the Midwest, hot-mix asphalt pavement is often used because it is engineered to withstand the freeze-thaw cycle and is not affected by salt or other deicing agents.
ASPHALT IN WET WEATHER
Most asphalt surfaces are designed to sweep water away from high traffic areas. A new advancement in paving called porous asphalt is actually designed to allow water to run through it, reducing surface water build up and returning water to local water tables. Porous asphalt can infiltrate as much as 70% of annual rainfall, making it a great, environmentally friendly paving option.
ASPHALT IN DRY WEATHER
Asphalt is typically not affected by dry weather, but a dry asphalt surface with a sprinkle of rain can cause some driving hazards. Asphalt and concrete surfaces that are not properly maintained can build up oil and dust over time in dry weather. A drizzle on these surfaces has the potential to create a slippery roadway because droplets of water and surface debris combine to make a thin liquid film on the road. (Terpstra, 1995; Eisenberg, 2003). Regular asphalt maintenance and sealcoating applications can help prevent the build up of surface debris and help your asphalt surface withstand even the driest of days.
ASPHALT IN HOT WEATHER
In the warm summer months, the sun and penetrating UV rays have the potential to cause asphalt fading and increase surface deterioration. Extremely hot days can cause small waves in the asphalt surface and create soft spots. It is very important to consider proper asphalt installation and again, ensure regular sealcoating to make sure your asphalt surface is protected from warm temperatures and solar radiation.
Mother Nature can negatively affect any road surface, including asphalt pavement. But it is important to consider that by taking the time to properly care for and maintain your asphalt surface — with regular inspection, repair and sealcoating — you can prolong the life of your asphalt in even the harshest weather conditions.
Are there any extreme weather condition we missed? What types of weather concern you?