Asphalt is one of the most durable and cost-friendly paving options available. However, asphalt requires proper and regular maintenance to protect it from extreme weather conditions. These conditions, which range from scorching hot temperatures to extreme cold and heavy rains can make asphalt surface deteriorate. 

Because of this, regular asphalt maintenance is required to reduce the effects caused by extremely hot, wet, and cold climate conditions. In this post, we shall discuss the adverse effects of different weather conditions on asphalt. This will help you to protect your pavement in the future. 

How hot weather affects asphalt paving

Just like any other surface, asphalt paving absorbs heat, which increases the surface temperature. As a result, soft spots start to develop on the surface after prolonged exposure to hot temperature—and this creates the perfect conditions for surface damage. 

Here are the common effects of hot temperature on asphalt paving

Raveling

This effect works in a descending motion, which leads to a mixture of debris, like soil and asphalt aggregate in the damaged part. There are several causes of raveling, like insufficient compaction or separation of binder and aggregate. Now, the repairs required for raveling depends on the degree of damage to the surface. 

Tracking

Although asphalt paved surfaces are designed to withstand extreme temperatures, a newly installed surface is more susceptible to hot temperatures. When being poured, the hot mix is generally hot, and extremely hot temperatures can make the surface soft, to the extent where specks of asphalt stick to tires, shoes, or any thing that moves across the paved surface. According to Florida asphalt paving experts from ABC Paving tracking can also happen when the surface takes longer to make sure because of the existing hot and humid conditions. 

Cracking

This one of the most prevalent forms of asphalt damage, caused by sustained heat exposure. Although cracking is very common in older asphalt surfaces, it also affects newly paved surfaces, which are not well maintained or were poorly installed. Besides, cracking mostly affects asphalt surfaces with regular traffic loads, like roads and parking lots.

Oxidation

Oxidation is caused by UV radiation from the sun and causes a chemical reaction, where heavy oils and light oils combine, thus reducing the number of binding oils on the surface. It makes the entire asphalt structure weaken, thus causing the asphalt surface to become fragile. Now, as the oxidation process progresses, raveling and cracking become more prevalent. 

Paving and Weather: Cold, Hot and Rain Effects Explained

Effects of rain on asphalt paving

While rain seems harmless to asphalt, it can cause serious damages to your asphalt driveway or parking lot. Research has revealed that rain can cause cracking, depressions, and large potholes, among other damages on asphalt surfaces. 

What makes rain a big problem for asphalt paved surfaces?

If an asphalt surface has cracks, it becomes more susceptible to rain, hail, and sleet. During the rainy season, rainwater slows wear away the unprotected asphalt surface, thus compromising the base layer or foundation of the surface. Such damages are more prevalent in areas that receive a lot of rainfall. Besides, the damages can be significant if the surface has poor drainage, which leads to stagnant rainwater. 

With time, stagnant rainwater destroys the bond between the aggregate and binder. Now, once the aggregate and binder start to deteriorate, the surface becomes brittle, thus making it more vulnerable to damage. In case the water moves beneath the sub-base, it can damage the structural integrity of the pavement. 

Effects of cold weather on asphalt paving

Cold and low temperatures are frequent in areas that are common in areas with winter and can affect asphalt paved surfaces. The frequent freezing and thawing cycles experienced during cold seasons make asphalt contract and expand, which can lead to cracks. Eventually, this weakens the surface, thus reducing the lifespan of the paved surface. Besides, the frequent precipitation during the cold winter months, which mostly turns into freezing rain, snow, and hail, has adverse effects on an asphalt paved surface. This shows the importance of regular maintenance on your asphalt paved surface if you want your surface to remain in good condition.  

Tips to protect your asphalt from adverse weather conditions

One thing with weather is that it’s very unpredictable. And, it’s hard to predict how the weather will change from one season to another. Because of this, you need to take care of your asphalt—if you want it to last long. If you fail to do regular repairs and maintenance on your asphalt, it will become much harder and costly to repair it in the future. 

So, to protect your asphalt from adverse weather effects, you should sealcoat it frequently—at least once every three years. Sealcoating asphalt helps to protect it from both hot, wet, and cold weather conditions. Besides, you should repair any cracks and holes on your asphalt immediately they form. This helps to prevent further damage, which is mostly caused by water. Besides, cracks and holes on asphalt are ugly, and can negatively affect the curb appeal of your home or business.

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