Did you skip the fall maintenance run for your asphalt parking lot or driveway? Are you considering attempting to DIY your way across the cracked pavement in the hope of savings & keeping your curb appeal sustained?
Unless you are a professional & trained asphalt paving contractor, we’d strongly advise you to wait on asphalt maintenance until spring arrives. Carrying out asphalt repairs such as crack filling, sealing, patching, or filling potholes is easier said than done. Therefore, if you’re a parking lot manager, it’s crucial to understand how cold weather can affect asphalt pavement.
Furthermore, you should be aware of how to enlist the services of a paving contractor at the appropriate maintenance intervals to avoid expensive damages is crucial.
In this blog post, Brothers Paving & Concrete will discuss the ways that cold weather can damage asphalt and what you can do to maintain your parking lot through the winter. We’ll also list some of the most common causes of damage to the asphalt in cold weather. By understanding the risks associated with Virginia’s winter, you can help to minimize the damage to your parking lot and keep it looking its best all year round.
What Does Cold Weather Do to Asphalt Pavement?
Asphalt pavement is made up of gravel, sand, and asphalt binder. This mixture is compacted and then left to cure. The asphalt binder helps bind the gravel and sand together and gives the pavement its characteristic color.
The asphalt binder can become brittle and crack when exposed to cold weather. That is especially true if there are already cracks or weak spots in the pavement. Water can also seep into these cracks and freeze, causing further damage in repetitive freeze-thaw cycles. The lack of an asphalt maintenance schedule further adds to the degree of damage to the pavement.
Related: What Is Damaging Your Asphalt Driveway?
What Happens If You Try to Repair Asphalt in Winter?
First, asphalt requires quite a high temperature for preparation, transport, laydown & compaction. So, if you are looking for a perfect product you can completely forget about attempting repairs in temperatures below 50F. Secondly, there is much less that one can DIY in terms of a pothole or crack repair unless one has dedicated equipment & expertise for repairs. We would never recommend DIY asphalt repairs because we care about the safety of our clients.
That said, if you still need asphalt maintenance & repairs below the 50F mark, your trusted paving contractor will likely suggest a temporary cold patch or cold pour crack fill. The most you can do as a parking lot owner is to keep the lot clear of further debris or stagnant water till spring temperatures make it feasible to carry out HMA repairs.
What Can You Do for Winter Asphalt Maintenance?
There are a few activities that you, as a homeowner or parking lot manager, can do to maintain your asphalt in the winter:
- Keep it clean: Be sure to remove any snow or ice as soon as possible. Letting it sit can cause it to compact and turn into a sheet of ice, which is much harder (and more dangerous) to remove.
- Watch out for cracks: Once the snow and ice have been removed, look for any cracks that may have developed. If you see any, fill them with cold crack filler as soon as possible to arrest further crack formation.
- Keep an eye on the asphalt: Generally, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your parking lot throughout the year. But in winter, when weather conditions can cause additional wear and tear, it’s especially important to stay vigilant.
- Keep the temperature in mind: Look for any signs of damage and repair them as soon as possible, ensuring that you are utilizing weather-appropriate asphalt repair solutions.
Should I Go for an Asphalt Sealcoat in the Winter?
It is not recommended to seal coat asphalt in the winter in the United States. The best months for this process are from May through September.
Sealcoating shouldn’t be applied when temperatures are under 50 degrees Fahrenheit because the water content in the sealcoat could freeze and cause the finished product to separate and peel. Winter is, therefore, not an ideal time for us to offer this service due to generally low temperatures.
For the best sealcoating results, apply the material when the temperature is between 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The ideal temperature would start at 70 degrees in the morning and then increase as the day goes on. However, keep in mind that if you are working in chilly weather (below 55 degrees), you have to be careful of how long it will take for your project to dry – too cold, and it might not work correctly.
The amount of moisture in the air directly affects how quickly sealcoating material dries. Since water must evaporate from the coating into the air, saturated air significantly slows down this process. In contrast, lower humidity levels expedite drying times. The humidity difference is so drastic that a few percentage points could half or double the drying time. For best results, ensure that humidity levels are below 60 percent.
Scheduling Asphalt Maintenance & Repairs for Your Pavement
To avoid costly repairs, you must budget for regular maintenance of your parking lot or pavement. This includes seal coating, crack sealing, and other preventive measures. The ideal asphalt maintenance intervals are during the spring season and before the fall. By taking care of your asphalt now, you can save yourself much money down the road & enhance your ROI too!
Related reading: Sealcoating Etiquettes – What Is Right & What Isn’t?
Book Falls Church’s Best Asphalt Contractors Today!
Spring is not that far off, but if you have a parking lot or a driveway that has to be perfect before the holiday season, you can count on Brothers Paving & Concrete to deliver outstanding results. We’ll give your pavement an excellent pick-me-up to help it last through the winter, and come spring; we’ll put in permanent repairs.