How Does Weather Affect Asphalt?

How Does Weather Affect Asphalt?

Asphalt is a sturdy material used for our roads and parking lots. While the material is known for its durability, some asphalt degradation over time is normal. The effects of weather on asphalt vary depending on the climate, but weather does play a role in asphalt’s decline.

Cold Temperatures

Cold temperatures pose a severe threat to asphalt in the winter months. If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, there are a few issues to look out for, such as cracking and potholes.

You can lay asphalt in cold weather, though it’s not ideal. When the ground temperature is too cold, it causes the asphalt to lose its heat. As the asphalt cools down, it becomes difficult for it to reach sufficient compaction.

Why Do Roads Crack in Winter?

Rain, sleet, snow and hail adversely impact pavement. In the winter, the freezing temperatures and water exposure lead to asphalt shrinkage cracks.

There are two leading causes of cracks in cold weather:

  • Temperature shifts: Extremely low temperatures can cause asphalt to shrink and contract. As the pressure inside the asphalt builds, cracks can develop to relieve some of the internal tension.
  • Freezing water: As water above and below the asphalt’s surface freezes, it expands and creates gaps in the material. Once it melts, the gaps are left behind as small holes, which lead to cracks.

Both of these factors, combined with pressure from vehicles, create cracks over time. Checking for cracks before winter and patching any problem areas can help you prevent more extensive damage.

Hot Temperatures

Though some people associate asphalt damage with cold weather, hot temperatures pose their own challenges for asphalt owners. Warm climates bring hot temperatures and prolonged sunlight. Maintenance measures for warm climates are just as crucial as those for cold and wet areas.

How Do Potholes Form in Warm Temperatures?

The heat and UV rays from the sun can cause fast deterioration and oxidation. Oxidation comes from the sun’s UV rays reacting with the oils in asphalt, which causes them to turn heavier and break down the material. Along with tire pressure, this oxidation creates cracks that can grow into potholes when left unattended.

Scorching days can also cause waves in the asphalt. Paying attention to changes or cracks in the asphalt can help you catch significant problems before they appear.

Wet Climates

Water can dissolve many materials with enough exposure, and asphalt is no exception. Water seeps into the surface and causes issues in both hot and cold climates. If you live in a wet area, you are more likely to experience moisture damage in asphalt.

Your asphalt should be designed for drainage, which can prevent water damage. With proper water flow, you can avoid water exposure over time.

Tips for Protecting and Maintaining Your Asphalt

Taking care of your asphalt over time can save you from costly repairs or resurfacing down the road. Here are our tips that will help keep your asphalt looking like new.

1. Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks

Keeping up with your maintenance checks will help you catch minor issues before they grow. Preventive care is more effective and affordable than emergency repairs.

2. Clean Your Asphalt

Cleaning off dirt, debris and water can help keep your asphalt looking good and prevent damage. Regular cleaning is one of the easiest ways to avoid long-term effects on your asphalt.

3. Sealcoat Your Lot

Sealcoating adds a protective layer on top of the asphalt to protect it from sunlight, water and other harmful materials. Sealcoating is a simple way to protect your lot in advance and reduce the likelihood of cracks and potholes.

4. Install Drainage Systems

If you live in a wet zone, good water drainage can save you time and money on asphalt repairs. Drainage systems prevent water from sitting on top of your pavement and seeping down into the ground. If you notice water sitting on your asphalt for extended periods after a rainstorm, contact a trusted asphalt maintenance company for draining services.

Reach out to Learn More

Whether you live in a warm or cool climate, finding the right asphalt maintenance routine can prevent more extensive problems down the road. The Paving Lady is an experienced asphalt maintenance company. We serve Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties and other areas in South Florida.

We can help you maintain and repair your asphalt lot. If you need asphalt maintenance services for your South Florida property, contact us today to get started with a free quote.

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