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How Different Seasons Affect An Asphalt Pavement

Key Takeaways –

  • The summer and winter seasons influence your asphalt surface in different manners.
  • Correctly maintained asphalt surfaces can take on the challenge both seasons present.
  • Asphalt pavements installed for hot and arid conditions usually include coarse aggregates.
  • Pavements installed for the winter season are modified with rubber or emulsion to ward off the cold.
  • Despite the type and nature of asphalt, your maintenance schedule throughout the year determines its longevity and how it withstands the elements.
  • Follow a set winter and summer maintenance and repair schedule to enjoy long-lasting results.

Asphalt pavement can take a beating during the summer. With the increased traffic and higher temperatures, it can start to wear down quickly. But what about winter? Is asphalt more challenging in cold weather? Let’s look at the difference between summer and winter asphalt.

How Does the Summer Season Influence the Asphalt Surface?

The asphalt surface can be subject to different issues during the summer months. The heat can cause the asphalt to soften, making it more susceptible to damage from traffic. The increased traffic can also add wear and tear to the asphalt. And finally, the sun can cause fading and other cosmetic damage. These issues intensify damage as cracks widen and potholes form when a brittle asphalt surface faces the heat.

How Does the Summer Season Influence the Asphalt Surface?

How Does the Winter Season Influence the Asphalt Surface?

On the other hand, asphalt can become harder and more brittle in cold weather. This is due to a combination of cooler temperatures and moisture. The moisture can come from rain, melting snow, or even dew. When this moisture gets into the asphalt, it can cause it to expand and contract as the temperature changes.

What is the Freeze-Thaw Cycle?

The freeze-thaw cycle is a significant reason behind asphalt’s behavior during the winter and summer. Asphalt wear and tear and poor maintenance efforts can cause cracks on your pavement; these cracks can deteriorate and evolve into either potholes or alligator cracking during the summer season. Not sealing these cracks sets the pavement up for disaster come winter. Moisture from snow and rain seeps into the leftover cracks and then freezes.

As the water in the cracks freezes, it expands; this expansion exerts a tremendous amount of pressure on the asphalt. The asphalt can only take so much pressure before it starts to buckle and crumble.

This process is known as the freeze-thaw cycle, and it’s one of the most common reasons asphalt pavements fail during the winter months. You should carry out appropriate asphalt repair and crack filling measures before and after the winter season to prevent any damage to your pavement.

The cycle also shows that timely maintenance efforts can help you avoid overblown repair costs. Asphalt repair and maintenance during summer can help restrict damage from freeze-thaw cycles.

What’s the Difference Between Summer and Winter Asphalt Pavement?

The asphalt maintenance and repair techniques you follow during the two seasons can differ based on asphalt composition.

Summer asphalt is a mixture of asphalt binder and fine and coarse aggregates. On the other hand, asphalt installed for predominantly cold areas uses an asphalt binder modified with either rubber or emulsions.

The main difference between the two types of asphalt lies in their rheology or ability to flow. Summer asphalt is designed to be stiffer so it can withstand high temperatures without softening too much.

Winter asphalt mixes are more flexible and don’t crack when exposed to freezing temperatures. While both types of asphalt are black and sticky when first laid down, they behave differently once they’ve cooled off and hardened.

Also, Read – Asphalt Paving Methods All Professional Contractors Know

Summer Asphalt Maintenance Tips

Asphalt maintenance during summer is vital to the health and longevity of your pavement. Here are a few asphalt maintenance tips that will help you keep your asphalt surface in tip-top shape all season long:

  • Wash off dirt, debris, or grime on the asphalt surface. This will help prevent staining and discoloration.
  • Trim any plants or trees growing too close to the asphalt. Overhanging branches can drop leaves and other debris onto the asphalt, leading to staining and premature asphalt deterioration.
  • Fill in any cracks or potholes that have developed over the winter months. Filling cracks early on can help prevent further cracking and damage to the asphalt surface.
  • Sealcoat the asphalt surface to protect it from the sun, moisture, and other elements that can cause asphalt deterioration.

Winter Maintenance Tips

The snow and eventual water formation are your asphalt pavement‘s biggest enemy during winter. Water is the most damaging substance to asphalt as it can penetrate through small cracks and enter the base, causing significant damage.

  • Shovel snow off the asphalt pavement as soon as possible to prevent water from seeping into cracks and damaging the asphalt.
  • Use a de-icer on your asphalt pavement if necessary, but be sure to use a product that is safe for asphalt. Some de-icers can damage asphalt pavements.
  • Suppose you have potholes or cracks in your asphalt; repair or refill them before winters arrive. Filling potholes and repairing cracks early on can help prevent further damage to your asphalt surface.

Why is Summer Considered the Ideal Time for Asphalt Installation?

If you’re desperately waiting to install an asphalt surface, summer is the ideal time to do so. Asphalt installation is mainly discouraged during winter because cold weather can make it less pliable and more likely to crack.

  • Hot weather, on the other hand, makes asphalt more malleable and less likely to crack.
  • Another factor that contributes to successful asphalt installation is rainfall. If a new asphalt surface is installed during a drought, it’s more likely to experience cracking and damage due to a lack of moisture.
  • Installing asphalt in summer also allows for proper compaction and curing, which are essential for a durable asphalt surface.
  • Installing asphalt during winters can be challenging because of the cold weather. The cold winter nights limit the curing process of asphalt. This results in a weaker asphalt surface that crumbles under pressure.

Bay Country Contractors wants to ensure your asphalt surface is in good condition regardless of the season. That’s why we offer premium asphalt maintenance and repair services to keep your pavement looking great all year round in Oxen Hill, MD. We understand that different seasons can take a toll on your asphalt surface, so our team of experts is always prepared to tackle any repair or maintenance needs you may have. Contact us today for a free estimate, and let us help you keep your driveway or parking lot looking its best!